“We confess our fear of trying new things, hard things, and scary things. We also recognize how we sometimes despise the idea of staying where we are. May we be open to discovering home right here instead of wishing for something different. May we release our tight-hold on what could be and be willing to sit on a bench in our front yard in the midst of what is. Be our courage and wisdom as we discern when to stay, when to move, and what it means to bring you with us” – Emily P. Freeman (Simply Tuesday)
**I have to confess that I pre-ordered the book, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World, and then never got around to reading it once it finally arrived. Boy, was I missing out. I have already been moved to tears by the poignancy and truth behind some of the things Emily has written and I’m only a third of the way through it!**
This particular quote is actually a prayer that comes at the end of a chapter called “Gates and Cul-de Sacs: Uncovering the home we bring with us.” I don’t know if you need to read that chapter to get the full impact of this prayer or not, but I do know how much I could relate to this prayer when I read it (and furiously highlighted the entire thing in my own Kindle version).
The prayer’s last line was especially telling because I have learned that life never gives us a formula. Sometimes we are supposed to stay but other times we need to move. However, as Emily also stated, God is always there with us through it all. Acts 17:27-28 says it this way: “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.‘” This is good news to all of us as we try to navigate the ever-changing patterns of our lives!
I also liked the idea of reinventing your concept of what home truly is all about. In John 14:23 it states: “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them.‘” This seems to indicate to me that home is not found in a place or in a particular family unit but in the person of Jesus. How freeing this knowledge can be for those of us who cling to the “home” found in physical spaces or in our loved ones so tightly – all the while searching for that something that will make us finally feel like we truly belong.
But, as the title of this post suggests, what stuck out to me the most from this prayer was the idea of coming to grips with that space between the “what could be” and the “what is” in our lives. So often we can get stuck in the “what if” of our life and wonder what it could have been like had we made different choices or followed a different path. But to have the courage and confidence to simply sit in the “what is” of our life instead? That is revolutionary – at least in my world.
It is then that we can finally begin to recognize and accept God’s goodness there as well (even if we may have to look outside the box where we seem to have put this particular concept of God). Kristin Strong says it this way in her book, Girl Meets Change: “When we spend all our energy wishing things were different, we have no strength to revel in the glory of the blessings right in front of us.”
As the last line of the prayer from Simply Tuesday states, we need to have strength and discernment about whether or not to stay in our “what is.” However, I have seen the importance of first coming to grips with where we are at in our lives before making this determination. Why do I believe this is so significant? It’s because I think it is not until we stop and face the reality of where we truly are – and not just face it but actually come to terms with it as well – that we can finally be ready to accept the next step God has for our lives.
And whether that next step is to stay or to go: “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8)