When I first pried open my laptop this evening I was sitting in a messy pile of sheets in a room that I have spent far too much time in recently. Hours of physical time and emotional time have ticked by. I've curled up in that crumpled - albeit comfortable - little spot and just sat. A lot of things can be done in that spot. I can curl up and read truth, I can communicate with loved ones, I can cry into my flimsy Ikea pillows, I can dream up adventures, I can sit with Jesus - lots of things. Good things, mostly. Here's the thing about that spot, though. I wasn't going anywhere.
So, I got up and came to the living room. Literally. I'm sitting in my living room.
It's crazy to me that such simple choices can alter the way that we feel or think or create. Sometimes its reversed and we need emotion to drive us to a choice, but other times - like tonight - we need to make the choice that brings us the healthiest place to process the emotion. That place has changed a lot for me in the past several months. Some of the time the setting for our processing is out of our control. I've had nights when figuring out how I felt had to be done in a basement on a sleeping pad with a pint of ice cream and a jar of Nutella. I've spent many a traffic jam talking aloud with myself trying to sort it all out. It often becomes clear in those moments that the Lord has something specific in that place that I need to find there.
And then there are moments when hearing from the Lord means that you need to get up.
I was chatting with a lifelong friend this morning who is also navigating life and adulting and vocational ministry. We spoke of the weight of responsibility that we feel because we don't want to miss the Lord's directing or ignore any parts of ourselves. We don't want to become stagnant or jump around too quickly. We don't want to be codependent or rely on ourselves. That balancing act can become paralyzing, can't it? As we dug a little deeper we uncovered more about our behavior in those moments. When we feel overwhelmed we freeze in survival mode and maintain. We stop dreaming, stop asking for vision, and stop listening. This cycle can keep us in a place where we are inactive and inefficient in the Kingdom. Wouldn't it be just like the enemy to take something good and necessary - like self-reflection and quiet space - and abuse it?
We don't have to sit and let it become a place of inefficiency. So what do we do?
Set aside time and create a system for processing - and then change your setting. Shake out the sheets. Brew yourself of a mug of tea and go sit in the living room instead. There is life out there.