under pressure

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure since this whole sabbatical-ish thing happened. I say happened because I feel blissfully powerless against it all.

There is this pressure to figure things out. This pressure to rush through life, through this time. This pressure to say yes. This pressure to say no. This pressure to blog and be super spiritual. This pressure to heal. To say and feel the hard things. This pressure to have it all together.

I do not have it all together. I’m continuing to unravel-- a spool of thread rolling, rolling, and unrolling.

This pressure, it is not calling or drawing of the Spirit, this is me-- plowing through life, head down, eyes fixed ahead and not around. This is Alyssa-- a tightly wound spool of thread.

I set a reminder on my phone that says Blog post, please, as if being polite could dredge up motivation or desire or inspiration to write. That little red bubble, haunting me, taunting me, pressuring me: write, feel, share, fix. Today I swiped left and deleted it. I don’t want to rush. I don’t want to force it, I don’t want to look back and say What a waste!

I’m one month in, though it’s hard to believe. Where have the last thirty days run off to? Surely they were not here. September is ending, the days are shorter, cooler. The leaves are turning. New England is beautiful in the fall. The pressure of winter is pushing in and the pressure of wanting answers is leaving my heart restless.

I have to often remind myself of the way that God has met me and revealed Himself to me in this time. It seems like daily I have to stop myself and laugh at how beautifully this whole sabbatical-ish came together, how totally other-worldly this whole thing is.

I think that God has deepened my love for my family, for my church, for my friends, for ministry to the women in my life. And He has drawn me to Himself. I am in the Word and it often feels fresh and novel. It feels like beginning a great journey, like coiling this wandering, unwinding spool of thread.

Reading in Ephesians 5 this morning, I stumbled upon this all too familiar passage.

“...for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” (verses 8-10)

I guess that I have always just read this wrong. I always read, “you were in darkness” and “now you are in the light.” Just one small word but a whole world of difference. This in implies that we are powerless, that these forces are outside ourselves and that we are, in some way or another, victim to them.

But we were not merely in darkness, we were darkness. Before Christ, I was darkness and enemy and death. In Christ, I am not just in the light, I am light. The Holy Spirit is innnnnnnnnnnn me, shining out of me, rearranging soul-furniture, drawing me ever closer to the Source of Light.

Christ has not just changed our position, He has changed US-- at our core, our very substance and being. No longer darkness, now light. Emanating from within us not from around us. The Spirit shows us light but also makes us light. We are not dependent upon the lights “out there” to guide our path or give us purpose or substance.

Jesus is our light and our purpose and our path.

May I not lose that truth-- not during this sabbatical-ish, not during this lifetime. May my eyes be fixed, may my heart be centered on Jesus, the true life-breathing, purpose-giving, path-leading Light.