A Year In Review
- Where were you one year ago from today? And how did you see yourself in a year? A year ago today, I was married just over a year and living in Santa Barbara less than a year. My husband and I were still looking for a church community and I had been unsuccessfully applying for jobs in the area to supplement the part-time work I was already doing from home. I was still recovering from an intense season of burnout and had just undergone a series of medical tests to rule out any medical contribution to my extreme and prolonged fatigue. I would have described myself as tired and isolated but also happy as a newlywed. At that point, I couldn’t summon the energy to project into the future very far and could not imagine what would come a year from then. I knew I would still be married, and I hoped we wold be moving to a different area of the country–preferably one with a lower cost of living and a different community/church environment. The energy I did have I put into building my blog platform and shaping my voice at Holistic Body Theology Blog. I alternated between feeling invested and successful at blogging and feeling drained and like I was wasting my time. Sometimes I felt ready to close it down altogether because I wasn’t getting the return I wanted for all the energy I invested in writing.
- Where are you today? What has actually changed from where you saw yourself? Today I am in a very different place. My energy level is at about 80-90%, and I have learned by trial and error how to carefully balance life’s demands so that my energy can sustain me throughout the day. I am still married and loving every minute. We passed the two-year mark and are officially boring married people now and no longer newlyweds. I’m still living in the same tiny studio apartment after a couple of almost-moves out of the area, and it does not look like we will be moving anytime soon. This means I will very likely continue to be without a real community of God that I can invest in as my husband and I have as yet been unsuccessful in finding a good fit. What I certainly could not imagine a year ago was that I would go through a training program to become a spiritual director. That was a whirlwind experience but also very rich and stretching. Now I’m in a place of discerning what effect (if any) this training will have on my blog and online presence and whether I will open up a spiritual direction practice or just use what I’ve learned int he positions I already hold.
- Where do you see God’s blessings? I see that God was giving me the time and opportunity I needed to really rest and recover in a way that I would never have allowed myself if I had stayed single or stayed living in Pasadena where I had more work opportunities. I think I would have probably ended up being hospitalized because I would have literally worked myself to that desperate state. Even though I was discouraged at not having more work or more of a community to be involved in, I see those circumstances now as preparing me to come to the place of pursuing spiritual direction. If i had been busier and more satisfied in my current setting, I would not have begun asking the deep questions and sensing the restlessness that led to going to Arizona for training. I also think if I had given up on my blog sooner, I would have missed out on some connections I’ve made through it that I hadn’t expected. Those connections encouraged me to keep writing and keep stretching myself. I learned that it doesn’t take much to motivate me to try again or not to give up, but I do need confirmation and encouragement from my community to keep giving my all.
- What advice or inspirational words can you give to someone in your same position? There are so many directions I could take this question.
- I would say, listen to your body, to your desires, and to your community.
- If you need to rest, then rest. If you need to push onward, keep going.
- If you need to take a different path, have courage! You know more than you think you do.
- You are more capable than you think you are. There is more in you ready to be realized. Be gentle with yourself.
- Walk the path where your fear is. Keep walking until you move through the fear into the life that has been waiting for you.
- Trust others.
- Invite silence that creates space for God to speak. Be listening.