Monday, December 15, 2008

Restlessness (Warning: Long Post)

I’ve had this unsettled feeling in my heart now for several months. Like I want to move to Seattle, or maybe just Dallas’ Bishop Arts District; or go to grad school (more on that later); or start discipling middle school girls; or dye my hair fuchsia. Or buy a 9 mm and take concealed-carry classes (Oh wait, I’m already doing that. No seriously, I am.). Or maybe come home one day with my body all painted in henna paint à la Indian weddings.

So I think about all of these things but I still have this RESTLESS spirit, so much so that when I think about it my heart literally hurts. Like an aching for someone or something that I can’t identify. Like I'm grieving for something, really. It's not a depression, just a sense of loss over something I don't even understand. Talk about a state of confusion.

So I’ve prayed. Praying without knowing what you're asking for is hard, and even harder when you think you’re not hearing anything back. I have felt like the woman in Song of Solomon who searches for her lover but can’t find him.

I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. (SoS 5:6)
And it occurred to me… I’m not serving. I feel most alive in Christ when I’m serving him, and my top spiritual gifts are service and pastor/ shepherding. Maybe my lack of service is what’s causing this weird friction in my spirit. But what to do with this knowledge?
I sought godly counsel from an awesome, life-loving, astoundingly wise friend, who by the grace of God is also family. We’ll call her “Martha.” So Martha, irreverent as she may be, sat down with me over yummy, thin crust, European-style pizza yesterday in Southlake, and we cussed (a little :-), laughed about smoking on the sly, talked about motherhood (her) and future motherhood (me), and generally just had a mini heart-to-heart. Then I came out with it. “Martha,” I said. “What’s going on with me?” I gave her the back story, and she was blunt, as I hoped she would be (I’m paraphrasing):

“Hello? Did you ever think that this restlessness could be the way God is speaking to you, that he's trying to tell you to act on those sneaking suspicions?”

O-M-Goodness. No. Really, no. How could I not have realized that I wasn't just feeling crazy for the sake of crazy... He may be making me feel that way because I'm still not acting on his promptings. I didn’t consider that the Lord was trying to get my attention or affirm the longings of my heart by this aching feeling. But that makes SO much sense. ::: slaps forehead ::: Doh.

She had a lot more truth to speak to me, and I’m not giving her enough credit for her invaluable counseling abilities and insight, but I left feeling really validated – not only validated, but justified – over some of the nutty ideas that have been swirling. My heart and my head are still having a cage match with each other, and I have a lot of thinking to do, but today I really do feel a little bit better. I need to be in the Word for a while, and let some things marinate, but I think I can tell you more later.

I’m deeply grateful for Martha.

And for Brad, who encouraged me to apply for grad school, which I’ll be starting Jan. 22! It’s a professional program (code language for “I’m not quitting my job to go to school, don’t worry”), and I expect to go two nights a week. It’s funny how God works… in the middle of this season of spiritual frustration, I had to register for classes. I’m in a Master of Liberal Studies program, which will allow me to focus on art, French and writing (or as I call them, The Holy Trinity of Katie). But for this first semester, I wanted to have the same schedule as Brad so that we can carpool and spend an extra hour together a day during a time when we otherwise might not see each other a lot.

Well, I had to take a couple of required courses for my first semester, and the only other class that fit with the schedule wasn’t anything that fell into the aforementioned Trinity; it was a theology class.

Theology? Okay. I love Jesus, but theology is really Brad’s thing. I like Beth Moore and Max Lucado and John Piper… but theology?! But I clicked “register” and I’m in. And I have to wonder if God isn’t planning on teaching me something really significant through this course, which is called “The Spiritual Vision of Jesus.”

Think service might be a part of that vision?


Stephanie said...

Friend, I just LOVE you!!!

How blessed you are to have a friend like "Martha." What wise words she offered! Our little corporate working-girl hearts are shriveling up when they can't fulfill their true desires!

As for the Holy Trinity of Katie, I am ELATED for you! How much better could it get, my friend! I am a teency, tincy bit jealous about your studying French, I must admit. Perhaps you can inspire me to renew my passion for that language. ;)

How wonderful that you and Brad get to share a commute together! Perfect! And that theology class sounds amazing. Keep me posted on it!

Love you love you love you! Can't wait to see your kindred face in a few weeks!

hugs and giggles,

Erin said...

Wow...that's some deep stuff! I got really excited about your musings of moving to Seattle!!
Congrats on going back to grad school, exciting and scary. Can't wait to hear more about your new adventures.