I think it is easiest to look at a situation we are in, identify what we want to see in our life, come up with a couple of options for how it will play out / what that chapter could look like, and then figure the future will hold one or the other.
This makes sense.
We have seen a lot of lives take on new chapters. In other people’s lives. In our own lives. In movies. We pretty much know the ways typical story lines end. People with cancer get chemo and either get skinny and lose hair and survive or they don’t. People in bad marriages either get counseling and experience change or they get divorced. Rebellious teenagers get a come to Jesus wake up call or grow out of it. People waiting for a baby either have fertility treatment and end up twins or adopt (or maybe even adopt and then get pregnant.) These are examples of big things that happen in life for which we predict the next chapters.
Then there are small ones: people longing to live without clutter either never organize that closet and take that on as a part of their identity or spend a Saturday and finally purge. People wanting to change their body either lose weight and tone up with some kind of cross fit hi-jinx or maybe find the right pair of yoga pants and jeans and smile and accept their body.
The bottom line: I think we should want our chapters to change. We should want growth. Even if we are in a good place, we should be excited for possibility – newness – connection. It is important to know that next chapter is out there. Especially so if you are in a current season you would like to see change.
I love the idea of being really honest about what that next version of your self looks like in order to be aware of ways to get there.
It’s empowering, really.
But then what happens when you’ve drummed up that vision and then you’re stuck in the middle of September: you’re super tired, you haven’t woken up early like you have planned, the paper you subscribed to has been stacking up, you paid your car payment twice, your face doesn’t look right and you throw away the brussels sprouts you were really really excited to broil when you ran into them on a beautifully calm evening at a farmer’s market? You feel wasteful, unintentional, and a little bit confused.
What happens when you are on a very odd tangent of what you want your life to look like?
When you know the outcome you want but seriously have a hard time aligning with it?
What do you even pray for? Why do you pray? How do you pray? You’re close. You can sense change but it isn’t there yet so HOW DO YOU GET THE PAGE TO TURN?
In preparation for a presentation to my yoga peers towards my certification (I graduate in NOVEMBER), I pulled out a bag I keep close to me: in it are all of the prayers from the past three women’s retreats I have attended. I have made it a part of my experience to pull them down at the end of the retreat and pray over them, pack them up, and visit with them (in reverence) every once in awhile.
The weight we carry in our lives never ceases to amaze me. The healing we crave, the baby we want to meet, the iteration of ourselves we want to operate from, the clarity – the peace – the love, the relationship, the satisfaction, the confidence. These are real things.
The human experience is legit heavy.
But – I think I stumbled into a lightness. Seriously – I think I had a breakthrough coming into October.
If there is one thing I know in my 35 years, it is that there is *always* something revealed to us. There is. I am going to avoid a whole tangent on suffering right now. Because I want to focus you in on considering the difference here between these two statements:
“Staying determined on what you want from God for your next chapter”
“Being faithful to God’s faithfulness”
Truly, they should *feel* different from each other when you read them. Read them again. On the next inhalation, read them again.
These are wildly different statements though they are both rooted in the same perspective: you are one place, yet you see something different for your life.
The other night, I sat with a string of mala beads and just rolled through them. My meditation: “I am faithful to God’s faithfulness”.
Meaning? I will serve, I will pray, I will share with others, I will love, I will work hard, I will honor my parents, I will do my dishes, I will be accountable, I will eat well, I will give, I will get rest, I will read scripture, I will study spiritual text, I will listen, I will learn *all while knowing* that next version of my life (whatever it may be) will occur.
Growth does happen.
God does reveal.
Like the morning sun, God is faithful. (Hosea 6:3)
This switch in thinking makes our relationship with God less like the one we have with a restaurant server at a restaurant with no menu and more like the one we have with the waves on an ocean shore where you can sit, allow what comes, play, dig, relax, refresh, walk, move, pick up, and let the elements change you.
I know it’s abstract. But I feel, when I look at the prayers of these women – when I look at my journal from September – that I can’t help but see some low hanging peace fruit available to us if we commit to being faithful to God’s faithfulness without ordering up our future.
And for those of you thinking as you read this that it is total horse shit because you are in the middle of a rough hand dealt or because you had a rough hand dealt and it has not changed. I just challenge you to say in your prayers tonight, “God, I am faithful to your faithfulness.” And let it rest. Take out all the other variables.
Focus on the rising sun.
May we have ears to hear and eyes to see. XO, erin