I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever grow up. I aspire to one day sit quietly in a rocking chair on the porch of my cabin in the mountains– only uttering words when they are meaningful and filled with wisdom. Most days I feel as though I will be the skydiving grandma, jumping from airplanes and muttering brassy commentaries that embarrass my loved ones. Perhaps it is a sort of midlife crisis prompting my most recent thoughts. I am at a virtual fork in the road where my next steps might lead to a quiet last chapter or one of nonstop adventure.
I am going to put myself out here again to confess– I’ve been troubled with the pattern I process emotions and the depth of my thoughts. I’ve been this way most of my life. I’m saying this so those reading know that I know my waters run deep. I appreciate my visit with a friend last night who will honestly answer a question when I ask her to give me feedback. I have a few friends like this who I know I can entrust my heart to. I am blessed to have had time with each of them in recent weeks.
Still waters run deep. I did a little research on this statement last night and then pondered it in prayer a little longer. Picture this… a small stream of water that continually runs, like a spring thaw. Eventually the crevasse from the flow of water cuts deeper into the ground underneath. Even on pavement, a constant flow of water will eventually erode a path and the longer it flows, the deeper the groove will become.
Thoughts are like this.
Even for a person with a rock-solid mind, constantly thinking about a situation will eventually erode a path in your mind. If the path cuts too deep, many of your thoughts seem to fall into this deep groove… including thoughts that aren’t related to the original thought. Consider a person who has a mind wired with depression issues whether induced by environment, dysfunction, or genetics– I won’t venture too far into this topic except to mention we all have experiences in life that affect how we process what comes at us each day. Even if you think you are dealing with a strong person, you never know what challenges they are facing or what they have faced in life. Try to be compassion in all situations. If you want grace, extend grace. To be healthy, be ready for a dose of reality now and then.
Where am I going with this? Well I certainly am not headed where I thought I’d be when I started writing. The basis for my post is the graphic I spotted the other day (below). I slid the image to my desktop to think about and use when I felt called to do so. Today is that day.
Recall I am at a virtual fork in the road. I have been tossing around thoughts for several weeks. I have been hearing various messages of encouragement regarding stepping out and facing fear. Trust me, when this happens to me, God sends the messages like a tidal wave through every avenue I use for meditation. He has to be obvious with me; I’m a slow learner.
Even though I am not a fearful person by nature, I am feeling a wave of insecurity that I have not felt for years. I am concerned and I am trying not to let this concern escalate to worry. Worrying is like paying a toll today for something you might encounter tomorrow. I try not to worry.
I have gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches.
Flying by the seat of my pants.
Walking by faith.
I have learned to do this, but I cannot do this for others. My life touches a lot of other lives. That is a big, hairy deal for someone who is an introvert by nature.
My dear and honest friend has told me that my thoughts reach a level not too many encounter. She found a way to gently tell me my thoughts occasionally run too deep. I have some serious ruts in my mind. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and it also gives you a lot of wrinkles and ruts in your mind. Here is something that might be enlightening to people, especially extroverts…
Wallflowers like me love to observe the nature of people. We like to people watch in settings of strangers as well as people we know and love. While we are sitting quietly, we may not be thinking about how much we long to escape the clamor and noise– we might be listening to small, incidental clues to connect us with people. We may have taken in so much detail that we need to step out and take a walk from a social setting or have breaks in our calendars to simply just be alone. I ponder and pray in moments like these while my extroverted friends are dancing on the tables.
[I jest… kinda.]
Here is where I will bring these two thoughts together– on the exterior, a quiet person may not exhibit compassion and may even seem self-absorbed (some folks might call us ‘bitchy’). Don’t discount shy or quiet people. This person may become one of your fiercely loyal friends. They may have so much insight and compassion for you, they know you better than you know yourself. They will be praying for you through something at the same time you interpret their silence as forgetting about you. A friend like this may even think about you for years after parting ways– they may even think about you on a daily basis. This is the complexity of our humanity– what makes us different than most species on the planet.
Where was I?
Fear. Risk. Emotions. Thoughts. Prayers. Stepping out…. taking chances.
As much as I want to simply deal with my own thoughts and where I am headed, I have recently absorbed emotions for loved ones close to me. I have become a person that can fly by the seat of my pants and walk by faith; my loved ones aren’t at that place in life. It is far too simple to say, “just let them figure it out.” Fact is, I wish I had someone in my life to pull me out of my thoughts before the crevasse wore a rut so deep I kept falling in. The trick is knowing when to let go and when to keep hanging on. Risk.
I am closing this post and realize I haven’t successfully connected my thoughts for you.
Herein lies my conflict… why am I associating the two?
Because I am cautious about forming new relationships yet wondering if the new people are all a part of the next step.
If who I am now is a result of past pain, am I willing to endure more hurt to get where I am going?
Will I be skydiving and riding roller coasters? Or sitting on my porch in a rocking chair?
I think we all get to an age when we wish we could simply coast.
For some, our minds keep churning out new thoughts. New dreams. New adventures.
I bet I’m in for quite a few more roller coaster rides.
On the surface, I might seem to have a cookie cutter life in the suburbs. In reality, I know the calling on my life. I am seeing how today is going to morph into tomorrow and how tomorrow is going to evolve into next year. I am not afraid of the things God has shown to me. I am fully surrendered to Him. The trick is–
How to interact with the humanity around me?
How is God using the people in my life to propel me where I need to be?
Can I endure certain forms of rejection so He can transplant me?
Is He also making moves in my immediate family?
Are they listening to Him? Are they ignoring His call?
Do I hang on or let go?