Do you ever experience a theme in your life? A message that repeats itself time and time again over a relatively short period of time?
If I were to pick a theme lately that is occurring in my life, it would be LEAN IN. This theme seems to be popping up in what I am reading. It’s coming out of the mouths of speakers that I am listening to. It’s floating through the lyrics of the music played on my commute.
The kind of lean I am referring to is a whole body, everything you’ve got kind of lean. I’m not talking about a slight shift in weight to one side like standing against a wall. I’m talking about putting the full force of every ounce into it. The kind of lean that relies upon, and trusts, that who ever or whatever you are inclined against is going to hold you.
There are not many people in this world that I trust enough to lean upon with everything I’ve got. My husband, Eric, is one of them. I lean on him in every way imaginable – physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, mentally, and occasionally just goofing around to be silly.
Have there been times this leaning has ended badly for me? Yes, I could probably think of examples in every area where I ended down and bruised, needing some recovery time from the fall.
Equally there have been times where I have been the one leaned against, only to drop the person who trusted me, especially with Eric. We do not have a perfect track record of supporting each other, but we have learned and grown and recovered together over the years.
So why this theme, right now?
That is an excellent question. I am trying to figure that out. From what I have heard in my quiet times, God is attempting to speak to my heart. Right now He’s working much like an amazing teacher would. I am getting the introduction, the meat of the lesson, opportunities to use it over & over again for practice, and a little review time.
I also feel as though there is a big test coming up, like a semester final approaching. That has me a bit uneasy. But I am reassured that if I pay attention now, if I work the lessons, it will help me on the test.
Leaning is an exercise in trust. How much I trust determines how far I am willing to lean, how much weight I can put into the effort. Trust a little, lean a little. Trust a lot, lean a lot. There is always a part of me that is very uncomfortable with this. I have fallen too many times that I am hesitant to go all in.
As terrified as I am about this, I feel like God is calling me to lean into Him with all I’ve got, with every ounce of my weight. That’s a lot of ounces, more than I’d like to admit to. He wants them all, every last one.
I say I trust the Lord, but this is more than words when it comes to leaning, we are talking about taking action. Awkwardly, I am not exactly sure how to go about leaning on God with every ounce I have. In a lot of ways, I thought I already was, but if that I was the case I do not think this would be a continuously looping message. So I as step through the journey of this theme, I have been asking Him to reveal areas where I am still holding back.
I wonder how silly I look to God as I work through this. Do I look as uncomfortable leaning in as someone who does not like physical touch being hugged repeatedly for long periods of time? I guess if there is anyone to look silly with, it’s God.
Leaning in has meant that I have been going to bed with less of my to do list done than I would like. I have left things undone. As a strong follow through personality, loose ends can be like nails on a chalkboard to my soul, but I am trying to lean NOT upon my own understanding, and some ends are just dangling loose right now.
It has also been a time of stillness and a time of silence. In the midst of this theme I have spent more time sitting quietly – no music, no talk radio, no lectures or TV shows blaring. Being still, being quiet. A lean is not always a dramatic push with all your might, a groaning aloud kind of experience, sometimes it is a quiet close your eyes and surrender sort of thing.
It has also been a time where within my reflective prayers, I am realizing that I have been putting more weight than I should on certain accomplishments, responsibilities and achievements. It’s like God called a huge time out to show me how unreliable and hollow something I was taking as sturdy was. I am thankful for those opportunities as well.
Do I have this all figured out? Absolutely not! I’m such a work in progress. Who knows a few years from now I may look back at this theme and laugh at my own absurd nature which I used to assign purpose it all. Growth is rather clumsy at times, isn’t it. Like an infant trying to maneuver those early steps.
What about you? Is there anything that you are feeling clumsy with right now? Is there a theme that is occurring in your own life? Is the awkwardness of it all preventing you from toddling along? Can you sum it up in a few words on a post-it note and keep it on your desk, like I did with LEAN IN?
Perhaps it turns out to be not much, but perhaps it is the beginning of a beautiful revelation that will leave a legacy of lasting positive change upon your life. Either way, it is probably a good idea to give it a bit of attention.
I can not imagine what You think when You look upon me. How clumsy and awkward I must be attempting to walk the purpose and path that You have for my life. I get so distracted. I am drawn aside by little projects and tasks. I pick up things that look similar to what I feel called to, only to find that it really wasn’t what I was looking for.
I do not know the ultimate lesson and plan that You have for this theme in my life. But I do know that You are faithful and trustworthy. I know that, even while I may not understand, that You have perfect understanding and a plan not to harm me (or drop me) but to work good for Your glory. I know that You are well aware that I want to lean in with every ounce, but that I still hold reservations, especially at the thought of leaving loose ends open on my desk tonight.
Lord, help us all to live out our beliefs through our actions, and help us see You as one who is always cheering us on and supporting us. You do not belittle our awkwardness but delight in our tiniest accomplishments. May that support and encouragement help us to press on.
In the Holy name of Jesus, amen.