Sometimes it takes a little while to settle into the stillness. I think, “I’m fine! I don’t need time to be silent. I have so much to do!!!” In these moments (more common than not) the doer in me is finding fulfillment in the doing. But this false sense of purpose robs me of my soul’s needs.
I spent the last year in long, cold winter of the soul.
Then, recently our doings suddenly seemed fruitful. For so long it felt like we were trudging along through the wilderness of language learning, business starting, sowing seeds and learning. And then one day a seed just…sprouted up! Out of nowhere! We didn’t see it coming and there it was exploding in color and potential!
And all of the sudden I’m high on productivity, and “working” is how I’m feeding my soul. Yet again.
For two years we have researched and explored how we should invest in our community through business. My husband knew his passions and skillset, but labored to see how it could work profitably in this context. We were invited to take over a flat as office space above a café he’d been consulting with. We agreed though I honestly didn’t see much potential. Tyler believed in the concept—a space for creative expression, education and community events, and right above a café. In my cynical mind our “center” was sitting up on a hill outside a tiny (by indian standards) tourist town, and people were never going to come!
Within a month or two we had a ping-pong table and a drum set, and we had space (always a commodity in Asia). We started spreading the word about parties, tournaments, and I started a Saturday morning Storytime for kids (and moms). And here we are, having spent nearly all of the last thirty days hosting events, making friends, and saying “yes” to new opportunities! My husband’s first lecture on music, his first performance of the first song on his album, his first drum lesson, our first ping pong tournament, my first attendance in Sunday night game nights (which became a weekly necessary activity of course).
Truly, there’s not much better than the inherent joy in growing your garden when its blooming. But I’m realizing that if I fill my days solely with the activity of reaping, with no time to stop and re-center, I miss the quiet cries of my soul.
It had been four weeks this time, since I had really taken time to quiet my everything and listen. I had felt so self-sustained in my busyness. Yet now I stop for five minutes and suddenly feel… empty.
We took one night away nearby sans kiddos, and I sat for this hour and got present. I hear the crickets and the temple music humming on the hillside. I feel the winter chill creeping in through my toes. I snuggle into my sweater and take deep breaths and I come into awareness of … my need. I sense my soul’s need to reconnect with God. I sense He has wisdom and love to give me and I suddenly feel desperately alone without Him.
And then I feel embarrassed.
Embarrassed that I had jumped at the first sight of productivity. That I had jumped and run off into the fields of activity and forgotten where the seeds and the earth and water and everything else really comes from.
I’m thirty-five years old and just learning that I don’t just need to lean heavy on Jesus in the winters of the soul. I need Him if I am to walk out into spring and summer too. I need Him to grow this garden and let me keep “helping”.
Helping with my little watering can, watching, watching flowers grow. Sitting with my Maker and finding a spot in the sun so that I don’t miss anything He has for me this Spring.