How can I prepare for reentry?
We’d gone just an hour outside of the city to a hotel with the view of the skyline. Looking out the window we could almost make out our building, almost. I wasn’t looking too hard because to me, it didn’t matter. We were far enough away to see how big the city really is, how many skyscrapers and how much smog. The day before I’d physically felt stress leave my body as we rolled onto the express way and away from the metro area.
I forget how much subconscious stress I carry just from living in close quarters with 20 million people.
We soaked in each moment of our getaway – no emails to answer, no urgent decisions to make – just books to read, food to eat, and long, hot baths to draw.
The day before we made the journey back on the long, elevated highway back into the city, I was determined to create a plan for reentry. I had come to this break limping, gasping for fresh air and a new perspective. How can I build more space into my daily routine, I wondered, so this doesn’t happen again.
I made lists.
I love lists.
I made categories for my responsibilities and numerous bullet points under each heading. I took the thoughts and concepts swirling around in my head and gave them letters and words and put those on paper where they could stay and where I could see them. I made a weekly schedule, plugging in the responsibilities to numeric points on each day.
And I didn’t feel any better.
I still didn’t feel prepared to enter back into the city, swirling with pollution and people and priorities.
I’d made lists before. I’d tried plotting out my monthly schedules in a planner and keeping a weekly routine. It even worked for a couple of months.
But in a place where plans are made just as quickly as others are cancelled, where traffic can make you two hours late (or keep you from an event altogether), and where energy gets sucked by the heat alone, I can’t live in such a programmed manner.
I felt sad by this. Hopeless, even. How can I keep myself from coming to the point of exhaustion again? How can I guard myself from over committing?
I wrote my prayer in my journal, after my realization that making lists wouldn’t make it better. I asked God to help me see this from His eyes, to stay open and willing, and for Him to teach me how to keep margin.
These past few weeks have been heavy with unknowns, decisions, and an incredible amount of questions. We’ve been seeking advice and asking for wisdom and are learning and being stretched in the process. I haven’t gotten great sleep. My heart tightens when I wake up in the morning. I’d rather watch a show or scroll through Facebook with my free time because it feels like a break for my mind and heart.This morning I read the second chapter of the book of Proverbs.
“My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commands with you,
making your hear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding,
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek for it like silver
and search for it like hidden treasures…”
“Yes, yes!” I thought as I read, “Tell me what happens! I’m seeking! I’m asking! I’m calling out! What does it look like when it comes?”
“…then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.” (2:1-5)
Fear of the Lord. Understanding the fear of the Lord, that’s what comes first. This made me realize – when I seek wisdom and all out for insight, it’s not my questions that are answered immediately – God’s presence, His very self is the answer. He provides Himself and through Him, we find His knowledge.
When we wait for the things our hearts long for, we wait on God.
He promises to provide His Presence.
I didn’t come back into the city with a game plan, and honestly, it made me a little uncomfortable. But I did come back with an overwhelming sense of what I need, of who I need. I can’t rely on lists and schedules. But I can rely on God Himself.