Ask With Expectation

Kim W Freeman   |   March 27, 2019 

When I begin to sense that the hustle of life is weighing me down, I immediately do one of two things. I either start to daydream about finally traveling to Ireland, or I pick up a paintbrush and lock myself in a room for a few hours in front of a blank canvas. Lamenting to my husband would be a reliable third option, although much less exciting and life-giving to either of us.

I instinctively try to find some sort of mental escape that would provide me with the necessary mental respite I need to recalibrate on a much deeper level.

It’s not only my mind and body that need respite when the burdens of ordinary life begin to weigh heavily. No, although those areas likely need the care as well, it is my soul that begins to signal to me things are amiss and it’s time to take inventory of life. Ironically, it tends to be my soul, that inner place quietly tucked away that carries the essence of who I am, that senses the imbalance first. Although I have historically not been very good at listening to what it is telling me until I’m about at the end of my rope.

Soul-tired, for me, goes far beyond my physical being feeling tired or off kilter. It is a fatigue with the world and with the pulls that have been tugging too much for too long. It’s when I fail to consider my own needs in the hurry to meet the needs of others and I’ve forgotten that I’m a human being with needs and desires as well.

Somehow it feels selfish to see my own needs as I see the needs of my family. And often times these are much less clear to me, but a restless spirit clues me in that I need to pause, and take inventory, because if I don’t, who will?

Weariness creeps in, too, when I have become content to only seek Jesus regarding immediate, urgent needs… my husband’s travel, my child’s sprained arm, the needs of friends living on the other side of the world. All of these things are important needs in the moment but are not the only needs where I want Jesus to show up and move.

Over the years, Lent has become an invaluable time for pausing and reflecting on the status of my spiritual self. What better time to seek boldly the answers to questions that only Christ himself can answer? To ask how differently my life might look if I trusted Jesus so completely that I asked him for exactly what I wanted him to do for me? He is always free to say no or redirect my path, but what if I am never brave enough to even ask in the first place?

If I'm honest I've had many questions swirling around in my head for a while, but haven't made space to process them. Fear plays a role in this, I know, because I wonder if I'm asking the right questions and if I'll like the response. Maybe you can relate.

Still, I have pushed forward because what I want right now is a clearer vision and direction for my life that allows me to use my giftedness for the kingdom--without any restrictions on what that could look like. And in the asking I am waiting in faith that Christ will provide an answer, even if it's simply to wait. This question feels right and the reason for so much inner restlessness and fatigue. So I ask, wait, and listen.

In an effort to clear out the noise so I can wait well and listen intentionally in this season, I have cut out most social media. It's difficult for me to hear well when my brain is cluttered with information, even the sort that is helpful. I’ve had to acknowledge that too much screen scrolling contributes to my soul fatigue at times, so it made sense to cut it out right now.

While I’ve cut out some things, I’ve also found I need to add some as well. I’m taking inventory of what is life-giving to me: time with friends, work that has purpose, intentional one-on-one time with my kids, walks with my husband, and creating art. Scattering some of these activities into my week breathes life into the ordinariness, which for me is essential. I’m also taking morning time to sit quietly after most of my tribe leaves for school. Life is full, so if I’m not intentional about my own soul care the days can tick by without much thought as to how well I’m doing until I’m not doing well at all.

This week, or when you have a free moment, I challenge you to take inventory of your soul. Questions to ask might be, what is giving you life right now and what isn’t? We all have obligations and responsibilities that are not necessarily life-giving but are non-negotiable. Making dinner is definitely one for me.

But maybe there are things we’ve said yes to that aren’t ours to carry. And also the opposite could be true. Perhaps there are things we can be about that restore our souls but we have neglected because they feel indulgent. Sabbath keeping, stretches of solitude, rest, come to mind.

Maybe you are a bit like me right now and you need to stop ignoring that tug inside letting you know something is off on a deeper level. Start there with whatever clues your soul gives you. Then ask Jesus to do a work on your behalf within your own heart. Now you have only to wait with expectation and faith that he will certainly do it.

 

Photo by Katherine McCormack on Unsplash

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Kim W Freeman is the wearer of many hats: a wife to Jon, mother of five, founder of IndiAanya, artist and writer. She has a heart to see women grow in their faith and do life together in authentic community. Her perfect day would include cinnamon cappuccino, scones, rainy weather and an inspiring conversation. She haphazardly blogs over at her own place about life, art and spiritual formation at kwfreeman.com. She and her crew live in Charlotte, NC.

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