Stretching into myself

I had a long afternoon coffee & chat with our pastor yesterday afternoon. He gave me feedback on my two sermons this summer, we chatted over ideas and plans and dipped in and out of some theology.

As we were wrapping up, he asked me how he could pray for me. And as I thought about an answer, my mind came back to a few thoughts that have been playing over and over the last few weeks.

You see, it’s not that life is easy right now. There’s some pretty big uncertainties and disappointments and hold-my-breath-hope-this-will-work-out kind of situations. And with all of those come doubt and insecurity and sadness.

But mostly in this little season right here? I feel the weight of promise. Of potential.

The leaves started to turn the past fortnight. I’m picking the last few red tomatoes from our balcony this week and cooking them up into roast tomato sauce for some night weeks ahead where I’ll need a quick-and-easy meal. I picked up my first conker from the ground four days ago. It was shiny and bright then. Now it’s lost it’s shine from being so frequently played with in my pocket but I love carrying this little seed with me.

Everything in nature seems to be dying. And yet there’s so much life coming forth. Seeds being dropped now that next spring will explode upwards into green shoots and leaves. Plants give up the final fruit of the season that will continue to nourish and satisfy long after the stems that held their heavy weight have shrivelled and been thrown into the compost.

I feel the promise in me too. I notice seeds falling and watch them eagerly for the signs of growth that I’m so sure can come. I see the fruit of the past (not always patient) years of learning and working start to ripen and the joy I get from seeing that same fruit feeding and satisfying people around me is like no other feeling.

I had my final session with my work coach this past week. (I got her for an outstandingly good price in a charity auction – she was worth about ten times what I donated). She told me it was good to see me so calm yet excited. A different picture than the one she first met earlier this year – confused and trying to please all the wrong voices.

I’m learning what it’s like to be comfortable in my own skin, to own my gifts and skills, to say no to the offers that are not right for me just now.

There are projects this autumn – with Serve the City, with church, with my own writing – that excite me and scare me in a good way. I’m stretching out of my comfort zone again but it’s a stretch into the real me, and so it feels good even while it feels hard.

I guess it mostly feels brave. That one little word that has come to define much more than the one year it was intended for. Brave is leading me on the path to joy. And the path is joy.

It’s not easy. It really isn’t. I’ve read these kind of posts from other people and it can sound like a happy-ever-after when it’s really not. There’s still uncertainty and doubt and insecurity, who like to invite themselves in and sit at the table alongside confidence and affirmation and hope.

But I think the wanted and invited guests are finding their voices, and more days than not, their laughter drowns out the mutterings of the interlopers.


Photo source: Julie Davis on Pinterest