Learning How To Be An Overcomer When You Feel Overtaken

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I’ve entered a new waiting period this week. Waiting to get over the flu so I can get on with life in London.

As I lie in bed staring at the cracks in the ceiling and pray for people, I realize how the past nine months of waiting to get here have given me an inner peace about God’s timing. In the same way you can’t rush physical healing, waiting seasons require letting go of controlling outcomes into the hands of Jesus.

When waiting is God’s answer to your prayers about the future, uncertainty can be a taxing vulnerability in a world that functions on concrete answers. Silence during seasons of transition can threaten to swallow purpose and calling if we allow it.

Our ability to successfully survive a lengthy waiting period depends on mental perspective more than anything. While circumstances are not a true indicator of worth, sometimes we need help in quieting swirling thoughts to find peace in the process.

“Prayer is always foundational to wisdom,” writes Eugene Peterson. After that, there are a few practical things that have helped me.

Join me at Christianity Today’s, Gifted for Leadership, where I’m sharing some of the tactics I use to survive uncertainty . I would love to hear what has helped you become an overcomer when you feel overtaken. Join me here.

Negotiating With Transition

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Chili. I decide to make chili for dinner earlier in the week when I was grocery shopping but I didn’t plan on waking up with the flu. Chili is an old standby for us like pizza on Friday or grilling on a warm weekend. It seemed like a straight forward decision about using up hamburger but I’m numb to my reality. I’m living in England now and chili, it turns out, is more complicated than it used to be.

When that little packet of seasoning can’t be found on the shelves at Tesco, I decide to make my own concoction. Until I realize the measuring spoons I thought I packed from my kitchen last week were not in any of the six suitcases we brought with us.

H is a little less sick than I am so he bravely retrieves a scale from the kitchen cabinet, attempting to measure chili powder, cumin, garlic, and a host of other spices the British way, by weighing them.  I’m on the computer with a flu hangover googling conversion charts and calling out amounts.

Onion powder, it turns out, isn’t common in London grocery stores so we make do without it.

In the end, he eyeballs the amounts. And then I remember we don’t have a can opener for the kidney beans. What I assumed to be a simple dinner turns into a heavy sigh.

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Our new washing machine is located in the bathroom closet; the dryer is in the kitchen next to the sink. Two sets of stairs are between them. We don’t own a laundry basket yet. One small load of clothes requires two hours to finish a complete cycle. I took those side-by-side front loaders in my old house for granted. This is a fact.

My daughter is on spring break, staying with a family instead of her parents for the first time ever. She Voxes to tell me she’s been sitting in our empty house daily, waiting for the reality to hit her, but it hasn’t yet. I tell her it hasn’t hit me either.

On Thursday, in the middle of a meeting with church planters in East London we receive the official email that our house is no longer ours and now belongs to strangers.

The same day Murielle Voxes to say she stopped by our storage space on her way out of town for a weekend with her bestie. That space holds the only things left of us there for her. Now she can no longer sit in the empty house holding dust of her teenage years.

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When she was two, we sat down to eat dinner together one evening and an overwhelming feeling gripped me. Someone was missing at the table.

The empty chair at the table haunted me every day thereafter. God was telling me we were going to have another baby. Harrison came shortly thereafter.

This past week, as we sit in brown plastic chairs around a borrowed table, daffodils fade from a vase in the center and the empty place setting haunts me. Nothing is familiar.

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Last night, as I lay in bed with fever praying for my children, Murielle has a tire blow out on the highway, on her way back to college. She Voxes H but his phone is on mute. When he wakes up and listens, she is frantic; alone on the side of the road for three hours.

When change sweeps you up in a whirlwind, you will go through the motions, making rational decisions until your feelings and the truth finally catch up with the consequences. A release from transition and into the thing God has for you costs you something, don’t fool yourself with idealism.

God’s grace in timing doesn’t mean everything is or will be perfect, just different like cooking chili in London and Voxing with your daughter instead of dialing her number .

Sometimes measuring the costs of your yes to Jesus isn’t as straight forward as initially expected. And then again, surrender and risk for the Kingdom, it’s never a cake walk, is it?

 

 

Spilling Sabbath Secrets

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On Tuesday morning, we meet new friends while holding plates of eggs, sausage, beans and tomatoes (toe-mah-toes) on our laps; sitting in an arc of practical chairs aligned with permanent furniture in the rectory. A wide circle of church staff make room for three Americans joining them for breakfast.

When stomachs are full and coffee cups refilled, each of us share short paragraphs about ourselves.

I utter the words Sabbath Society and curiosity piques. A husband and wife walk across the room during a break and she tells me part of her story.

She serves the church but she’s also a doctor. Not long ago, God nudged her to take a Wednesday Sabbath each week. And bravely change career paths to create art.

God asks us to do some irrational stuff when we take the time to listen.

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Standing in the middle of the circle surrounded by several conversations, I nod and smile as she tells me how a Sabbath rhythm has transformed her life.

Like children who hold a secret yet divulge to an empathetic listener in moment of weakness, we both spill about the way a day of rest becomes protected treasure once we lean into it. And something we never want to live without.

It turns out they live in the flat beneath us in the same house. Isn’t God amazing? The way He brings kindred hearts together makes a hard heart swoon in surrender.

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Later that evening, we accept an invitation to walk down the steps for a glass of red and sip conversation. H and I sit on their white couch under the warm glow of lights strung around lamp shades and shelves of books, candles flickering throughout. A Siamese cat zigzags between her crossed legs and his knees bent over an antique pew bench.

“Are you going to the women’s group tomorrow morning,” I ask her.

“No, tomorrow is Sabbath,” she reminds me.

And suddenly, I am envious.

Sacrificing valuable time in exchange for abiding in His presence — once you say yes to the gift of Sabbath, there is no looking back. Those once known as busy when asked, “How are you?” will tell you that in a heartbeat.

Is it hard for you to say no to worthy opportuniies? How can you take baby steps toward finding a rhythm of rest in your week? Have you ever thought about taking Sabbath on an unconventional day of the week?

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Want to make rest a routine, not just something you fill in between the cracks of your busyness? Join the Sabbath Society. Follow Sabbath-keepers in community with the hashtag #sabbathsociety on Twitter and Instagram and our Pinterest board, Surrendering to Sabbath.