Isaiah 61:3 (NLT) To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Its really hard to be an optimist in times like these- when the whole world is on HOLD while a deadly virus is slowly losing its grip on humanity. But what if the humanity that exists in you has the opportunity in this time to eradicate the diseases that have lingered in your life for too long. I’m not talking about medical diseases…but diseases of the heart- distortions in the way you think, believe and act.
As I searched for words for the message I wanted to convey in this blog (a blog I wrote last year when I was going through my own transition) I wanted a description that would hold the weight of its magnitude.
To the degree that this pandemic is spreading around the globe right now, is the opportunity for an extreme makeover to happen in your heart. Its PANDEMIC. Its for all and its universal. Only within the space of such a drastic upheaval of all that we have known before, can we reestablish something new.
Dictionary.com describes “Rites of passage” as ceremonies that mark important transitional periods that “usually involve ritual activities and teachings designed to strip individuals of their original roles and prepare them for new roles.“
Lets face it. The world has just been stripped of a lot of our “freedoms” that we naturally take for granted.
The freedom to breathe,
to eat out,
to learn in a classroom,
to leave our kids in care,
to go to work,
to marry and to grieve in the presence of loved ones.
What its going to do in the process, whether you like it or not, is strip you of elements of your life that you have attached to your identity, and potentially result in an exasperation of your addictions.
Addictions are often our default when our identity is not secure. Addictions come about to regulate our emotions when we can’t manage them, giving us temporary comfort from unhealthy triggers. So what I want to do this week, is to talk about identity and help you to navigate any unexpected “stripping” of old roles (roles you have played in society, in your family or your workplace) so that you can create pathways for the new “roles” you’re about to take on.
In Australia, traditional custodians of the land, have had a Rite of Passage we know as the “Walkabout”. This is where a young boy (traditionally from the age of 10-16) goes on a walk by himself into the wilderness for a period of up to six months. Here he establishes his manhood and familiarises himself with an independent lifestyle in which he becomes spiritually and emotionally aware.
Even though there might not be a ceremony or a long journey a part from your family, this six month (or however long it may be) journey of self-isolation, could be your chance to journey into “adulthood” and emotional maturity. The feelings that arise in you as you become more introspective instead of socially involved, could just build the bridge for the internal Rite of Passage you never had- stripping you of all of your external support systems so that your inner world is strong.
When you’re struggling to just BE you, and the best version of YOU, my prayer is that this blog will allow you sit comfortably in your own skin and learn to dig deep into the crevices of your soul that still thirst for healing and wholeness.
Part 1 is coming tomorrow: Stay Home and Be at Home with You.
“I feel like I’m being weaned!” were the words that spilt out of my mouth like water from a waterfall.
Almost like that time I cried myself to sleep and went into my daughters room in the middle of the night to find her in a leg cramp that had her reeling in pain. I pressed her foot upward toward her shin while she fought against the pain and defaulted to a point position. While I was trying to encourage her that I knew what I was doing the words “JUST> TRUST> ME!” spilt out of my mouth- as if the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart through my own mouth in a night of confusion and despair.
Here I was again, speaking words that were more a message to get my attention from an Supernatural place. I started entertaining the thought that there was something more significant going on than just an initiating of a business in the birthplace of my re-entry back into the Western hospitality industry.
Feeling like I was being weaned, came about because my first job for my new business was situated in the very kitchen I had started serving two years earlier as a volunteer- the 7th of March 2017. It was a volunteer position that would eventually lead the way to the job that I had left to start my business. That date was significant yet it was not by choice but by “chance” (that someone happened to be having a bridal shower that day) that I ended up there two years later, self-employed with no guarantee of future income. Just a step out on a nudge that this was the right direction to go.
Weaning meant that I was still able to sit in the familiar, while trying to navigate the new. I was surrounded by people who made this transition safe and spaces that would accomodate my desire to know something by experience. It was all there for me, yet it was still a step away from where I was.
Have you ever felt like you were being weaned? Or like a season of transition was taking far longer than you anticipated?
I looked back over all my major life experiences and realised that there were plenty of examples where transitional periods took two years. From the time I met my children’s father to the time we were married was exactly two years. The time I stepped into a Baptist Church to the time I got up and walked at the invitation to know Jesus as my Saviour was two years. Same period of time filled the gap between the time I stepped into a Pentecostal church and attended their Baptism of the Spirit night. More recently, it was two years from the time we arrived in Sydney to stay with my mum that she decided she would move away to New Zealand- a lot more prematurely than I had expected but somehow in sync with this new revelation.
I asked the Lord what the significance was and He reminded me that two years was the period of time a Hebrew mother would nurse her infant before they were weaned. Once the child had been attached to the breast for that period, the weaning would introduce them to real food so that by the time they were three or four, they could stand on their own. This was a celebrated occasion as the child would pass the most crucial phase of their formation.
Breastfeeding mothers can all attest to the fact that weaning is not an easy process. Unless your baby is introduced to a bottle from an early stage of their development, pulling them away from the skin of their mother and replacing that with a plastic device, a cup or spoon, requires persistence and a strong resolve! There’s something about the familiarity of a mother’s breast that fastens that baby to the soothing source of nourishment and comfort. Who would want to leave that kind of provision?!
Many mothers give up – delaying the process for years- exposing their breasts to the world as their toddler starts demanding milk on tap at any given time of day and at any location. They give up the temporary pain of hearing their child cry for the long term agony of having a child dependant on their body.
But weaning is necessary for the growth and development of any child. It’s also an important discipline for the mother as she establishes a life long pattern of letting the boundary lines between her and her baby grow further and further apart. Children develop into adults and adults need to understand the value of responsibility and honour.
In life, we go through certain stages within the seasons of our existence, where infancy comes back into play. Infancy defined as the early stage of growth or development of something. Whether it is starting a new job, going to a new country, getting into a new relationship, or starting a new business. Each new thing that comes into your life, will often feel overwhelming and create within you a sense of anxiety as you feel the pulling away of the way it used to be. The effects of change and transition can have you feeling edgy, (not knowing what the future holds) anxious and feeling disengaged. But all of these feelings are a natural consequence of weaning.
The Psalmist in this passage seemed to have mastered this transitional phase- perhaps his state of contentment in the present and the small tasks of daily life had something to do with it…
My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:1-2
Contentment is a state of mind that often leaves us singing the Psalm of David, The Lord is my Shepherd, I LACK NOTHING. Clinging to a form of outward supply, can overwhelm our hearts to a point where we lack the awareness of our Inner supply. But once we have been weaned off the external suppliers, we can solemnly say, we lack nothing. There is a breaking away from our dependance on knowing, on concerning ourselves with things that are too big for our human minds to comprehend, and an aligning of souls with the One who knows our inmost being.
I have been going through this journey over the last year of being weaned off outward suppliers…suppliers of emotional and psychological support, financial income, spiritual scaffolding, but in the process have learnt to have this inner calm and a quietened spirit. I have learnt to be content with what I have, and that wasn’t always easy and it definitely wasn’t natural. It was a spiritual awakening that took incremental steps to evoke within me this sense of completeness.
It came to a point where I had to get down on my face in my bedroom and confess my discontentment and understand my place in Him. That in Him, all that I have within me is enough.
I am enough.
So I can be content.
He holds me now.
And with that, I can grow at another level.
Be warned, you will be weaned, but you’re going to be okay. The fact that you are leaving the old, means that you are stronger now. You are in another zone, achieving new heights of being and creating new levels on which your life can exist upon. Remember- What you have within you, is all you ever need. xx