Observation Deck

I took off a week from writing last week. I didn’t write a single word; not creatively, at least. I didn’t even write letters to my favorite pen pals. I sensed I needed to become an observer of my life for a while, and create some space for my heart to rest. For weeks leading up to this experiment, I struggled with a nagging, near-constant boredom, a plague of restlessness, and paradoxically, persistent exhaustion.

Something had to change.

Since I couldn’t quit my job and move to the Bahamas, I trimmed back my life to just the barest of essentials for seven days: I stopped writing; I slept for an extra hour nearly every day; I focused more on real, authentic prayer that (tried to) deepen my relationship with Jesus; I read a book; I spent more time with my Nashville aunt and uncle; I spent more time outside.

After a week of standing on the observation deck of my life, here are some things I learned:

I am ready for more. I’ve come through—finally—the tough transition out of missions, and the transition into a new job and community, and I am ready for more on all fronts.

I am tremendously afraid of failure. Still. I’m also afraid of Failure’s close friend, The Unknown. Failure and The Unknown are good buddies, because if I don’t know something, have never been there, have never tried it, I don’t know how to master it (or so I think), and so the chances that I could fail are greater than not.

My desire for more and my fears are incompatible. One will have to die so the other can live. Fear is a mighty big contender but I’m praying he loses this one: I’m done settling for boredom and comfort because I’m scared.

I need to shake things up more often. A routine is vital to success, but not one that sucks the adventure out of life. Daily adventure is vital to success, too.

Where my body goes, my mind will follow. If I stay still too long, my creativity dries up. Along with daily adventure, I need to move. This will be easier as summer approaches, but I need to go for walks, do some yoga, go to some more barre classes—anything to get my body, and those creative juices, moving.

I love people. I am about as introverted as they come, but that doesn’t mean I am a hermit. Those deep, soul-level conversations are what get me pumped. Besides, people are the reason I do what I do….no one who really writes does it simply for themselves. They do it so people might read their words and be impacted for the better.

Sometimes hitting the reset button is exactly what’s needed to remind yourself why you do what you do, and how you can keep growing.

What might you discover from your own observation deck? Share your discoveries below.

2 comments

  1. Caitlin says:

    I was so struck by the line about boredom/restlessness and exhaustion. I can relate to both of those in this season. Praying for focus and direction, or perhaps I should at the very least hope for orientation!

    • Carrie says:

      Isn’t it interesting how the Lord uses our circumstances to show us when we’re not properly focused on what we need to focus on? Something that’s helped me tremendously in the last couple weeks is St. Francis de Sales’ call to devotion in Introduction to the Devout Life….he basically says how silly it is for a husband and father to act without worry for the the future, like a Capucian would, or how silly it would be for a queen or some “worldly” person to focus only on contemplative prayer like a sister/nun would–essentially, the way we live out our devotion is unique to our current calling in life. Once I put this into perspective, and realized, “I’m not a missionary any more…therefore God isn’t calling me to live the devotion of a missionary any more,” things made SO MUCH MORE SENSE, and that restless/exhausted conundrum has gotten better. This late night comment is a little rambly, so I’m going to end it here…hopefully it makes sense. =]

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