As the seasons change to the longer, slower days of summer, I am hearing from many friends who are relieved by the transition to summer feeling beleaguered by a spring rife with challenge, whether with their children’s school relationships, litigious professional conflict, marital strife, or simply feeling stuck trying to keep all facets of life neatly in their compartmentalized and controlled boxes. I understand this strife. I am approaching a summer of transition as well.
First, as Living Hope continues to evolve, the plan as I began charting this course has dynamically changed and evolved as this creative life form demands to move in directions that are new to my marketing and execution experience. I am being Called to reach outside of my comforts of control and understanding. I am being asked to do rather than think in ways that stretch the limits of my comfort as I experience fear of failure and rejection as well as the fear of succeeding and the implications of how that might change my life and the little routine I have become comfortable in over the last few years.
Second, my husband and I are preparing for a fourth member of our family, blessing but also changing the rhythm that we’ve fallen into as a family. I am wanting to be intentional with how best to prepare our young son for the adjustments of a new baby in the house to make sure his transition into sibling hood is a positive adjustment rather than a disruption to his little world. And, let’s face it… I’m trying to wrap my head around the demands of another little person in my life while maintaining emotional intimacy in my marriage, continue to nurture my son, keep on top of my responsibilities to my work with Living Hope, retain and foster friendships, stay centered in a consistent mindfulness practice, and keep a shred of sanity for myself after pouring myself out to all of the other demands on my attention. I am feeling my husband’s tension rising at the thought of this additional responsibility as the demands of his work are increasing at the rate of the demands at home. Our individual stress levels are colliding and changing our narrative on what are exciting times in our marriage into anxiety over schedules, house renovations, and those strung-out sleepless nights with a newborn.
Every time my mind wants to go to devising a system of organization and compartmentalization around these spinning plates, I am overwhelmed at where to start. I know that I am trying to control the uncontrollable, and what I realize I am really craving is a sense of peace and contentment. Living Hope will become what it is intended to be if I get out of its way, and just as we did with our son, my husband and I will stumble through those early days of parenthood with this new baby but this time with a greater sense of confidence.
I’m hearing a recurring theme of this being a Summer of Transition and Transformation with a great deal of intention and introspection being applied to the quality of these long hours of daylight. A friend recently spoke to me about an onslaught of adversity that ran the gamut from the personal to the professional and said that she felt as if she was in the midst of Spiritual Warfare, the Christian concept of being caught in a battle between God and the devil for your soul (for those unfamiliar, read the Book of Job). She expressed that everything felt out of control. She is putting a lot of thought toward finding peace with what’s becoming unmanageable in her life and to make intentional change over the course of the summer in an effort to weather this time of struggle.
I too have felt the exhaustion of what feels like being tortured on a medieval rack being painfully pulled in both directions – an image from childhood of my brother’s Stretch Armstrong doll comes to mind here. But, what I found in the midst of what felt like victimization by Spiritual Warfare was actually the gift of Spiritual Evolution and Enlightenment. I know how Job’s story ended; he died old and full of years, just as I hope my story will end.
What if instead of feeling victimized by our struggles we were empowered by how they are meant to evolve or grow us?
Instead of our attachment to the routine and schedule that gives us a false sense of control, what if we took the curve balls with a deep breath to fill our lungs with fortitude and move forward confidently? I have come to view those periods of intense discomfort and strife as the Divine compelling me to think, act, and feel differently – to walk through the challenges before me into a healthier, more content place.
The very nature Living Hope negates the concept of Spiritual Warfare. I wonder if the discomfort we feel as masters at control and management is God actually compelling us toward Spiritual Evolution. What Living Hope is meant to stir within you is to Begin the Practice…To Surrender the need to control, manage and put strategy around all aspects of your life and then following through the remaining 7 Practices, to arrive at Joy empowered and emboldened and closer to your true nature and Spirit.
Here is what I believe this Summer of Transition and Transformation is asking many of us to do, and be warned, it is going to come with discomfort: It is asking us to take our brilliant minds out of their strategic boxes. We aren’t being asked to manage strategy for the struggles before us; we are being asked to respond to it in real time with how this Universal Energy is asking us to grow and evolve. Join me in the warmth and lingering daylight of summer in intentional transformation as we share words and wisdom to encourage and inspire you to Begin the Practice. This is Living Hope.
You are loved,