In the past few weeks since I wrote my last MooLily blog, I have done a lot of processing. (You guys remember my blog, the one about the lack of joy in my crazy life?)
The processing has been hard!
Honestly, I was kind of afraid to tell people that I needed to back off. I may have a little bit of a complex that, "if I don’t do something, who will?" It is laughable.
After some significant processing, my husband and I decided to take a sabbatical this summer.
Part of the challenge was in figuring out the logistics of how to do this. There are some things in our lives that we can’t eliminate, as much as I’d like to.
We both have to work. So we can’t rest from work. But we can organize our work lives a little bit better to allow us to have more family time. Likewise, I am involved in several ministry things that I will step away from for a time.
While praying through the idea of a sabbatical, I heard a very clear word from the Lord. I heard Him say, “Burn the Field.” Though I grew up in Kansas, I have always lived in the city; my knowledge of farming is very minimal. I do remember driving to K-State, in the fall, being up at a high point of the road and seeing the orange cast in the sky, smelling the smokey smell as the fields were being burned after harvest.
The first time I saw a field on fire I was alarmed, until I realized it was intentional and there were people manning it. After the Lord spoke to me, I was curious what "burning the field" truly means, so I looked it up. The article I found said, “Farmers burn their fields to encourage growth by removing competition from weeds.” Burning a field isn’t necessary, but often a farmer will opt to do a “prescribed burn” to clear away everything after a season of harvest.
I think, if I could describe the last season in my life, I would call it a season of harvest. I have worked so hard. I have spent endless hours processing, digging, figuring out why I function the way I do. Looking for the root of my over-functioning habits. The root of my complete inability to trust others to get things done - the "right way."
And after a lot of digging (aka counseling), I am tired.
But, as a result of all of this work, I have reaped an incredible understanding of myself. I have become more self-aware, put safeties in place to help prevent over-functioning, and experienced healing in several relationships in my life. In all of my growth, I have walked away with a lot of harvest. However, I still find myself in need of healing, refining. That is why I find this “Burn the Field” idea interesting. So much refining comes through fire.
I think a “prescribed burn” is exactly what is needed.
I love the idea of rest. Naturally, I am not good at rest. We take time as a family to slow down on Sunday, but even that can get crowded, busy. On Sunday, when I look at the list of what I have accomplished that week, and then make the list of what I need to take care of in the next week, it makes me dizzy. If I saw one of my friends operating like this I would immediately call them out on it. I would let them know it is too much to live like that.
I guess I don’t have that same standard for my own life.
Last week my counselor asked me if my husband and I have ever had taken a Season of Rest. I explained that we had and what it had looked like, and he kindly suggested that maybe we hadn’t. Which, honestly, after I had explained out-loud what that season had actually been like, and listened to what I was saying as I was saying it, his assessment sounded correct.
After processing that, my husband and I reached out to our pastor to ask some questions about how we could practically do a “working sabbatical.” He encouraged us to dream about what we would want to do that would feel restorative. He encouraged us to still have a plan and rhythm to our lives, but have it be different than our current schedule. He even asked us what we would have to get rid of to allow us to make more space and time. Then he said the dreaded words, “Facebook? Netflix?”
Excuse me- can someone come pick me up off of the floor?
While I am over here making a list of all of the things that take up so much time I maybe have forgotten the small things that take up the most time. If my husband and I eliminated Netflix - or even just had a single night where we made that our only activity - what would that do for our relationship?
(We would be forced to exchange words that didn’t involved a three-year-old interjecting. We would be forced to find some common hobbies. We would be forced to have a real relationship that didn’t revolved around our three tiny humans - and Netflix.)
In paring down the activities I do, I was mostly nervous about backing off of MooLily. We are a three woman show at this point. So what would it look like for me to take three months off? Would that leave too much on the others? But my request for a sabbatical was met with kindness and support, along with similar feelings, so we have made plans to make it work so we all can rest while still keeping MooLily up and running.
I want to be a woman whose life and children bring her much joy.
And I know that I HAVE to Burn the Field so that I can step back and reflect, let the weeds fall away and encourage new growth. As I drove across Missouri this weekend there were many fields to view. Some had amazing purple flowers covering them; they were truly beautiful to look at. I am guessing that the crops hadn’t been planted in the fields yet and that those purple flowers are the flowers of weeds. I know now that these fields were not burned last fall. I know now that when the farmer goes to plant his seed, his crop will have competition from the weeds.
The weeds in my life might be pretty, but they are stifling the crop that the Lord has to offer. And, with it, they are stifling the Joy that is possible.
It's time to Burn the Field.