Penprints on a Tuesday? What heresy is this
okay, it’s not actually heresy, but whateva? Well, hopefully you’ll understand by the end of this post why this is landing in your inbox on a Tuesday.
I didn’t spend Easter at home. Instead, I hopped on a southbound train to visit some beloved people of mine: my brother, Luke, at college; my good friend, Allie (also at college); my grandparents; and my cousins.
I was excited for it in my head–I miss them all, Luke especially–but I was tired, not physically but emotionally and spiritually. It wasn’t one big thing that wore me down, just many smaller things falling on me, steadily eroding.
And I was filling up nearly every day in my quiet time with God, but it was never quite enough to carry me through, like I couldn’t get completely full, like it was never enough to compensate for how much emotional and spiritual energy I was spending. So I ran aground, came up dry, emptied, tired, and disheartened.
But then my train arrived.
Allie picked me up at the train station, looking like the perfect picture of all my summer memories of her and driving a car called “Karen”. She opened her home to me and let me stay with her while I was in town; I hadn’t seen her in months.
The first chunk of time was spent with Allie, catching up with her and learning about her life over crepes (I didn’t even know what crepes were until she showed me).
The Story of How I Learned About Crepes:
Allie: “Want to get bubble tea and crepes?”
Me internally: “What’s a crepe?”
Me externally: “Sure!”
Allie: “What kind of crepes do you like?”
Me: “Oh, you know, um….”
Allie: *laughing* “Do you know what a crepe is?”
Me: “Ugh, no.”
Allie: *laughing more* “Rosalie! Okay, they’re…..”
Conclusion: crepes are scrumptious.
We sang Rend Collective in the car. We ate watermelon cookies and laughed when my teeth turned red. We tried on bunches of sunglasses. We talked about God and what we’re learning and how we’re actually doing. We took Polaroids and sang while she strummed her guitar.
And it was good.
Then I was with Luke. I finally met all of his roommates and saw him lead his small group. I saw the place where he works (Luke At Work is such a cute Luke) and saw the airport where he learns. I laid on the floor of his room while he read me reviews of the laptop he found to replace my dead one. For almost an hour. Because he made it his personal mission to find me the best laptop. We rode his motorcycle and went hiking and stared at the sky and talked about church and love and life and hard things and blessings and happy things. He took me to a Casting Crowns concert, and we worshiped together to some of my favorite music.
There were so many other good things about this trip.
I spent a night with my grandparents and heard my Grandpa play his trumpet on Resurrection Sunday. I saw my cousins and we shared music and took a walk and laughed so much and cried a little too.
But it was good.
I went into this trip with nothing to give, but I came out of it full. It was rest, the rest that I so needed. It was a blessing to me, and the Holy Spirit did great work in me. He reminded me of my own weakness, my hopeless dependence on Him, my inability to do any good on my own, and He taught me the value of a pause.
Sooner or later, we all run out.
We all end up like a charred, crumbling match, essentially useless because we’ve burned up, we’ve spent ourselves.
And that’s why we need to take time away. We need to step back for a few days and relearn how to be still in God, we need to be away from those who drain and surround ourselves with those who fill.
Guys, using yourself up is not noble.
Never retreating is not godly or any shade of right–it’s arrogant and detrimental to your ministry. And you don’t necessarily need to go on a weekend trip to regroup every time you’re tired, but you do need to be intentional about taking rests and serious about seeking the filling of the Holy Spirit.
But we are not filled for our good alone.
We are filled to pour into others. And when we run low, we seek rest. And when we rest, we seek filling again. And when we’re full, we empty ourselves in others. And then we rest, and the cycle goes around and around.
Resting. Filling. Emptying.
These have just been all the jumbled thoughts that have been running through my head while I rode trains home today.
Tell me what you’re thinking.
P.S. – go listen to Train Station by The Gray Havens because the imagery takes my breath away and makes my soul happy.