Welcoming God in Our Unknown Self
“Mom, can I have a snack?”
“Mom, my show stopped. Can you fix it”
“Mom, can you wipe me?”
“Mom, I had a bad dream. Can I sleep in your bed?”
“Mom, brother kicked me!”
“MOM! MOM! MOM!”
It surrounds me, and at times I admit that I have allowed it to define me. I am the meal maker, the toy master, the bum genie, the Jedi referee, and the zombie mom who doesn’t sleep because there’s a little foot wedged in between her ribs in her own quest for rest! Why isn’t there a remote control for when our kids are fighting over who gets to pick the night show? Where is the “cone of silence” when one just needs to isolate themselves completely to untangle their own thoughts?
Today marks day one of working from home and homeschooling my 1st grader due to COVID-19 regulations and California’s Shelter In Place Order. Like many of you, my normal rhythm has been disrupted; I even became a teacher overnight! I am taking deeper breaths as I am navigating through the changes in my workflow and tend to the twenty-something interruptions that accompany the reality of working from home with kids. After a full, and rather eventful day with my little ones yesterday, I pulled a late night-er to put away laundry. I shared with my husband, Nate, that I was emotionally torn between wanting to cry or wanting to throw something. I did neither. Perhaps the idea of choosing between the two options was much too overwhelming OR maybe I had exhausted my allotted energy for the day. Truly, deep down, I’m fairly certain that I didn’t want to compromise my “productivity”.
When I finally hit the pillow, I found myself reflecting on a conversation my husband and I had a couple months ago. Nate and I take long drives often with our children for the sole sake of having some uninterrupted and intentional conversation time. We plan little trips to Chick-fi-A and random thrift shops so that we can load up our family and just be together. If we’re strategic, our kids will fall asleep about 15 – 20 minutes into our drive. That’s when the hubs and I have our best conversations. No interruption. I suppose this is our own version of the “cone of silence”. On this particular drive I was reading a book (one that was recommended by my MVC Journey Cohort) while Nate drove. The author wrote about the reality that there are parts of ourselves that we are fully aware of, while there are also qualities that reflect who we are that are true, yet we lack self- awareness of them. The invitation was to explore what we do not know about ourselves in order to know more about who we are as God’s unique beloved child.
I turned to my husband and courageously asked him “What is true about me that I am unaware of?”
My breath sunk as I awaited his response. I began to speak for him in my head. Maybe he would tell me that I snore or that I have a patch of hair on my back. Maybe he’d think of something witty or make a joke out of the whole thing. Worried and slightly regretful of my vulnerability, I waited… and finally he spoke.
“You are competent and capable” he said clearly and thoughtfully.
“WHAT?” I asked in shock.
“You’re far more competent than you give yourself credit for and you have no idea what you are truly capable of.” He added.
Now, what he said was “competent and capable” and what I heard was “I see you”. In that moment I felt known. (1 Corinthians 8:3) I had experienced the Father’s love through seeking truth about who I am in my own unknown places. So why am I reflecting on this particular conversation now? I suppose I am drawn to the places where I am feeling ill equipped at this moment in time. I’m not a homemaker, I’m not a 1st grade teacher, and I am certainly not “tech savvy”; In fact, I have avoided most forms of technology most of my life! That is what “I am not”. However, because of who I am in Christ, I AM “competent and capable”, especially in this season of adjustments and unknowns.
I am not sure where each of you are at today. (You’re most likely at home due to the statewide order to “shelter in place” in response to COVID-19.) Wherever each of us are in this journey, I do wonder what the Holy Spirit will reveal to us about ourselves during such a time as this IF we just ask. “Father, what is true about me? Father, what is true about us?” I also wonder if someone else out there needs to be affirmed that they too are “competent and capable” in these unfamiliar places within our current circumstances?
I remember going home that night after our family outing and spending time with the Father. I asked more questions about this newly revealed piece of me that I committed to get to know. I sat with curiosity about what He wanted me to do with this information. I expressed gratitude for greater awareness of self and I allowed God to speak into my identity as His own unique daughter; one with many more unexplored, yet fully loved, layers. I experienced the gentleness of the Father’s love in my undiscovered self. Jeremiah 31:3 says “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”. There was no denying that I had been drawn to His love through His kindness.
I believe that God uses others to speak truth into our lives. That night, he used my husband to remind me that I am seen, known, and loved. Each of us, at our core, have an innate desire to be seen and known; to be loved and welcomed; to be defined by something greater than the multiple tasks that demand our time, energy, and attention in the day to day. I encourage you, my dear friends, step away from the noise. Be with the Father. Ask. Listen. Examine. Express gratitude. Live out of who you truly are; Beloved children of God. As we grow into this rhythm we discover that the noise is merely just noise and that our capacity to love ourselves and others has expanded because the Father first loved us, not just pieces of us. ALL of us. (1 John 4:19)