Honouring, Grieving & Letting Go

“Four Season Tree” from Getty Images

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Can we get a cup of coffee sometime?” My heart sank when I saw this question come from yet another person who would like to talk to me about the work I do. I took a deep breath and started replying the email. I explained that I would have loved to have a casual meet up and conversation, but unfortunately I have no such capacity in this new season of my life. There’s that word again that has been so key for me since June 2020 – SEASON. Everything has been different since I embarked on this new season of entrepreneurship in my work of spiritual and human formation. I have had much to rejoice in, but also so much to grieve.

My last major change in season was in mid-2014 when I left my full-time job in a Catholic parish. Back then I was burned out, physically unwell, emotionally depleted and joy-less. I knew I needed some distance, space and time to process why I had ended up in that state. I knew I needed a season to heal. As it turned out, God wanted to do some deep restoration work in me.

…when requests came from individuals I hardly know to meet for a talk over coffee, I was usually delighted to do so. I saw these as opportunities for engagement, learning and sharing as we delved into spiritual conversations.

The following 6 years brought me into a season of healing and free-lancing. The priority was healing and integration, but I took on projects and requests to give talks, retreats and workshops when they came. And when requests came from individuals I hardly know to meet for a talk over coffee, I was usually delighted to do so. I saw these as opportunities for engagement, learning and sharing as we delved into spiritual conversations. These casual meets often turned into ministry and I saw every one of those meetings as ‘divine appointments’.

What I loved about that previous season was:

  • I could minister deeply and bring the gift of presence that I cultivated in an abundance of solitude and silence
  • I was well-rested
  • I could exercise several times a week and grew stronger
  • I devoured books again because I had energy to delight in them
  • I rediscovered play through contemplative photography and it expanded my soul
  • I could have long, leisurely conversations with friends and accompany them in their spiritual journeys
  • I could turn my attention to home-improvement and making our home a primary place for hospitality and ministry

In that past season I had an abundance of flexibility, time, solitude, silence and rest. I was hidden and I loved it. I didn’t have to plan far ahead and could go with the flow. There were crosses to bear as well, of course. Obedience in that season was primarily about learning to be still, to wait, to “do nothing” and to be willing to go to places I would rather not visit in my own history and emotional life as God led me into deep healing. None of these were intuitive or easy for me to learn.

There has been much discomfort in doing what I listed above. BUT it has also been an empowering, exciting and passionate journey. I have been surprised at what I can do, filled with more conviction about my personal calling and developed greater clarity about whom I am most called to serve right now.

In this season I am in now, obedience is fundamentally about exercising stewardship as a new business owner and turning my vocational calling into a sustainable livelihood. What this has meant for me is:

  • Learning what it means to start and run a business
  • Overcoming my resistance to handling financial matters and healing my deep ambivalence with money
  • Learning to believe in and articulate the value of my service and in my right to be paid
  • Overcoming my dislike of “being out there” in order to create and distribute content across public social media channels
  • Overcoming my dislike to being on camera so that I can serve more people
  • Taking time and energy to build digital structures and think through systems so that I can serve with more impact and give my clients and students a more frictionless and effortless experience
  • Re-framing my mission and apostolate as a digital content entrepreneur and interior formation coach

There has been much discomfort in doing what I listed above. BUT it has also been an empowering, exciting and passionate journey. I have been surprised at what I can do, filled with more conviction about my personal calling and developed greater clarity about whom I am most called to serve right now. I have never experienced such clarity, focus and momentum in my work and personal vocation before.

As a finite human being I cannot do all things, and I must listen attentively to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and choose wisely.

Yet I grieve. Because to embrace and honour this season I am in means to set aside so much of what has given me life in the previous one. God has filled me up in the past season and restored me from my wounds so that I can be launched into even deeper waters than before.

As a finite human being I cannot do all things, and I must listen attentively to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and choose wisely. And I know that no matter how the seasons change and how different my life might look from the outside, the interior journey is constant and consistent.

I am still on the same journey into interior freedom, authenticity and wholeness in Christ. I am still learning to be loved and to love. I am still learning not to base my worth and value on how much I can accomplish but on my core identity as God’s Beloved. I still struggle with guilt about not being able to help every person who comes to me. But over and above all of that is the one principle I still abide by – “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU.” (John 2:5)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s