Being busy, staying busy, focusing on my kids’ needs, or all the things around me is how I often avoid dealing with whatever it is I don’t want to face or think about. When my son was diagnosed with autism, life was already busy, but it got even busier. Suddenly I was busy with evaluations, doctors’ appointments, speech therapy, OT therapy, ABA therapy, IEP’s … I often thought about how I was almost in survival mode, just keep moving. I almost felt like I had a free ticket to not think about anything else, went into tunnel vision with blinders up.
For me, part of this was avoiding talking to God. I didn’t want to talk to Him. I wasn’t sure what else He could want from me at that time in my life. It was a relationship I didn’t have time for. It is actually funny for me to say this because on the other hand, I was in constant prayer. Prayer for my son, prayer for my family, I was completely dependent on God because I was completely spent. But, I didn’t want to receive anything back from Him. I didn’t have the emotional energy to do it. I knew God was still standing there knocking at my door, standing by my side, or those foot prints in the sand… But, I didn’t want to look up and make eye contact. Head down, keep moving.
I realized and was aware of what I was doing. Along the way, over these last six to seven years, I’ve had periods and moments when I intentionally paused, I’ve looked up, and re-embraced the relationship. But, more often, I thought that it was easier for me to just stay busy, even with church activities, than to face God and let Him love me. I think part of it is also avoiding my pain. God wants to come in and heal us, to heal the pain. But, facing the pain can be painful. I know that if I pause and listen to God, He is going to stir my heart. He is going to break down that wall, but sometimes I feel like I’m not ready to give up that wall and my defenses. I just don’t even want to go there. I’m definitely avoiding it as much as possible, so I just keep moving.
I still struggle with this. And those who know me know that I’m really good and keeping busy. But, knowing your tendencies is the first step to not getting stuck in them. Also, God has been showing me, in a language that I can understand, how He wants to move with me. The thing about “just keep moving” is that sometimes we do have to. In the case of my son, sometimes I do need to focus on him and his needs. But, what if I let God move with me, or better yet, what if I let God guide me and clear a path forward? I often think of when Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:30). He isn’t trying to make things harder for us in this world. Jesus didn’t come to put rules and burdens upon us, but He actually took that burden with Him to the cross. So, why do we hold onto it like it is ours to overcome?
Another thing people may know about me is that I love to run. And, not just run, but race. There are lots of good life lessons and analogies that can come from racing. But one we often hear is to run your own race. Running your own race can be good, as to not compare to others, but sometimes I find that I also like the control I have in it. I run my race. I set the strategy, I set the pace. But, in this race of life, maybe that isn’t what God intends for us. I recently ran a marathon, and when running a marathon, the first half is all about just staying relaxed and getting the early miles in. So, I found myself in crowds of runners and I just fell in behind the largest man around me and tried to relax and just take advantage of him doing the work in front of me.
So, where am I going with this? About a month ago, I was standing in worship during church. I was actually present, I wasn’t keeping busy to avoid that conversation with God. As I stood there, He gave me an image of just falling in behind him. Let him lead, let Him set the pace, let Him do the work. I didn’t have to be out there just moving and clearing a path forward all on my own. I realized that when I fall in behind Him, He can take me down a course that I may not have seen, and is ultimately a much better route than the one I had planned. I just had to follow and trust his race plan. And, the other thing (side point, but very important too), I’m not the only person in this race. I’m on a team! The Church is a team, my Family is my team. How was I not seeing this? So funny what God shows us when we look up and have the courage to face Him. Yes, sometimes it stirs up stuff, and sometimes it is painful, and sometimes God will even ask us to do stuff we don’t want to do. But, this race is not mine alone, and I’m not leading it alone. Praise God for that!
Obviously this is something I’m still working through. I’m still figuring it out. But, I’m sure there are others out there, like me, who hide in their busy day to day. Others who don’t like to pause and listen, or let go of controlling the race. Sometimes life is hard, and we do press forward and just keep moving for survival. But, God is there to lighten our burden, to break the wind in front of us. Yes, I keep moving, keep running this race, but I can fall in behind my Savior and trust in His race plan.
Sally Perea ~