I have had the blessing of spending the last seventeen days away from the workplace. Not only are breaks of this sort good for the mind, but they are true blessings for the soul. I almost never grow complacent with my “vacant” time and this break was no exception. It was filled with a lot of what I’ve needed, thanks to the Good, Good God we serve.
My experience today, in culmination with attending two church services at different locations, was a microcosm of the entire “break” experience. See, Sundays serve as a “break” for me. It’s on this glorious day (which has long been my favorite day of the week for reasons including but not limited to GYM, BRUNCH, and FOOTBALL) that I get to experience life on a different level. When I hear the message from people who have been dedicated to reading God’s word, following Christ, and delivering sermons that are designed to penetrate the soul, for those moments, I am at my highest self. The mundane thoughts that normally fill the rest of my week dissipate. I’m reminded of what truly matters, and I am above the trifles of the rest of the world.
Need an example? Well, let’s just talk about relationships. That’s a topic that can appeal to everyone.
My normal mode of thinking is to fall into the traps that every girl faces. Dicksand. My brain sings the same humdrum tune of : what did he mean by that? is he going to call? is he that into me? am I playing my cards right? am I being too demanding or not demanding enough? should I text or see how the situation plays out? do I reach for his hand? how do I get him to give me a compliment? is it too soon to tell him what I need?
I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure if you were to add the amount of seconds of precious time I’ve spent analyzing relationships that were less than material, I’ve definitely burned years off my life.
For the first time (better late than never) the power of the Holy Spirit inside the House of the Lord elevated my living. A new thought entered my mind. None of that relationship crap matters in the grand scheme of things. Relationships are not games. There are no rules, no science, no logic. There’s nothing to “play” correctly. Relationships are simply an opportunity to share Christ.
I don’t know if I can describe it dutifully, but I walked out of that church feeling like a million bucks. I felt so above the trap door of human relationships. I felt so freed and dignified. I trusted God’s plan. I trusted that everything would work out. And dying alone isn’t such a bad thing. I wasn’t afraid. God is always with us.
And I knew exactly what to do. This has happened before. In four years of going to church, I am making progress. The old me would have made decisions based on my own faulty logic. I got this, I would say. This time around, I had a hunch that an answer would come to me in the House of the Lord during a time when I’m most alive, when my soul is active, when I’m stripped down to the core of who and what I am, which is nothing without the presence of God through Christ.
I was right.
During and after church, I experience my least selfish moments. I just want to give and share. And even when it comes to relationships, I realize that it’s not about ME and what I can get, even if all I’m looking for is companionship. Relationships, of any sort, are really just opportunities to share. Share what? Whatever goodness we have to offer, which comes from the original source of good (God).
Now I do realize that I don’t always feel this way. Sundays is when I spiritually peak and then each day, (especially if I don’t reconnect with God through the Bible, Prayer, or moments of Self-reflection)I get less and less elevated. I get more and more sucked into the trifles I once snubbed. I forget about the love I have and the love I experienced from the one true God. I forget all the ways I’m blessed.
Humans are so fickle that way. We literally forget everything so quickly. I am blown away over how blessed I am. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually blessed. I have so many good people in my life. Financially I am secure. I can do things with my body because I am physically healthy and strong. The second I searched for a church home, I found one because God delivered quickly and flawlessly.
And for the first time ever I realized that God’s plan for my life WAS actually better. So often I tell people: “never in a million years would I have guessed I’d end up a teacher in Florida whose highlight of the week is going to church alone at 29 years old.” I often say it with an air of regret, with a feeling of underachievement, with a stamp of “I could have done so much more.” But for the first time today it finally dawned on me that my plans were STUPID. I wanted to become a singer. I wanted to become a big shot writer. I wanted to become a doctor. I wanted to work for a multinational corporation and see the world.
Well, let me just give my plans a little bit of credit. I mean, they all had noble truths and intentions. But, ultimately, my plans were to help people. To share. To leave this world a slightly better place. To put a minor ripple in an ocean. To make the absolute most of my life.
God has led me to do exactly that. See, he knew I had to get right with him before I could do anything else. None of my achievements would have mattered if I wasn’t right with him first. See, he knew that the only achievements that matter are the ones that come when you allow him to use you.
So in addition to relationships and plans, I thought about the NOW.
Life is a hypocritical experience, similar to walking a tightrope. The more you concentrate on not falling, the more wobbly you become.
The more you concentrate on living in the ‘NOW,’ the less likely you are to live at all. You’re forcing it. Likewise, the more focused you are on the ‘FUTURE,’ the less likely your future will unfold into your vision because you’ve neglected the very thing that determines it (the NOW).
See, Life is this magically hypocritical experience where you somehow have to live in the perfect balance between the future and the now. You have to be present in the moment all while knowing that your ultimate outcome is going to be an eternity with God. Somehow, you have to carry around the freedom and the weight of that spiritual truth while not letting it paralyze you in the moment. You can’t fear. The more you fear the more realistic your fears become. You have to just keep pedaling along that tight rope. If you try to savor the moment, pause, or snap a photo for safekeeping, you lose it. If you focus too much on what happens at the end of the rope, you lose it too. The only time you are ‘LIVING’ is when the future and now collide…. when, somehow, the very moment you’re experiencing is a direct reflection of eternal paradise- when something causes you to forget that you’re pedaling and also forget that there’s a place to pedal toward.
Then, you’re truly free.
So maybe those moments are other mini “breaks.” On earth, we’re not going to get them all the time. But, when you meet a stranger, and something draws you toward them, maybe it could happen then. When you listen to music, share music with someone, and you both really feel it, maybe it can happen then too. When you do something spontaneous with someone and it turns out to be a great time, you might get it.
Just don’t forget to break.