How to survive the run-on sentence seasons of life

I’ve felt it running after me for a while now:

The lure of more, more, more; of adding just one extra thing; of filling in every square on the the calendar with this event or that meeting; of staying up too late and waking up too early; of cramming things in during the day’s leftovers; of fighting for a seat at the table; of dissatisfaction and ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ thinking; of disillusionment; of cynicism; of comparison, and all her devils; of trying to prove myself, defend myself, excuse myself.

Exhausted yet? Me, too.

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I went to a conference earlier this fall, in which one of the main speakers there proposed that life sometimes can feel like one, long, run-on sentence; no pauses, no commas. Around and around we go, our days too full, burning the candles at both ends, because we’re mothers, and wives, and women, and that’s just what we do. …Isn’t it?

This speaker posed the question: what it might look like if we decided to stop the sentence? Interject some punctuation; a breath, maybe, or even a stopping, and then starting again. The catch, of course, is that life never makes it easy; there’s always something pulling at us, always “just one more thing” that urges us to keep going. And it got me wondering if maybe, just maybe, the act of slowing down, of getting off the ride and catching our breaths and sitting in the right-here and the right-now; if maybe this, this might be holy. A spiritual discipline. Something necessary not only for our bodies, but our souls as well.

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I’m reading a lot of the gospels lately. I think it’s because I’m looking for Jesus again, and I know he can be found here. There’s church, and religion, and people telling me what I should believe everywhere I turn, but that’s not what I’m after these days. I want Jesus. Brown-skinned, miracle-working, flipping-over-tables, healing-with-spit-and-mud Jesus, put-your-fingers-in-my-wounded-side Jesus. Born-in-a-stable, cooking-breakfast-on-the-beach-for-his-friends, the-way-and-truth-and-life Jesus. Nathanael scoffed and asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” And he was told: come and see.

I’ve been chasing the good in this season, running after the promise of come and see. I’m tired. In many ways, it’s been a hard, gritty year. Life has been a run-on sentence, and I’ve needed to be intentional in creating moments of pause. And it can be so, so easy to fill those moments with the wrong things, or the things that leave us empty; or maybe even things that are good– harmless, even. But sometimes in life, we need to sacrifice what’s good for what’s best, and though it’s a hard lesson, I am learning how. On top of that, it can require an awful lot of neglect of your actual, in-the-flesh life in order to keep up with your social media one, and these days, there’s simply just not enough of me to go around.

Come and see. It has been my refrain over the past few months. I need a soul-detox. A heart re-alignment. I have needed to feel like I could come home. And maybe we all have a little bit of that feeling in us, don’t we? It’s a harsh, cold world out here, and it can wear you out, wear you down. Come and see. Put a comma here in your right-now life, and come home.

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So that’s what I’ve been working on. I’ve been writing my book, and playing peekaboo with my son, and waiting for my not-yet daughter. I’ve been reconnecting with my husband, and chasing the moon, and closing my eyes tight to capture memories of beauty before it could disappear. I’ve been investing in relationships that grow me and nourish me and give me life. I’ve been singing hymns, and praying in the Spirit, and dreaming about feeding my hungry neighbors. I’ve been caring for children, and advocating for women around the world, and giving thanks, and finding sisterhood, and digging my very own well of joy. Come and see. I am looking, and I am yet finding.

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What about you? How are you chasing the good in this season? What are you doing to help you pause?

2 Comments
  • Beth Watkins
    November 9, 2017

    I’ve found myself in the gospels recently too for the same reasons, I need to find Jesus. Three cheers to slowing down as a holy practice, and beautiful words about it here.

    • Elena Delhagen
      November 9, 2017

      “A holy practice.” Man, that’s good. May you find the One you’re seeking in your pursuit. xo

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