What to do when your seasons change

I just spent an hour staring at my screen, wondering if I could write this post.

It’s probably not going to be pretty. And believe me, I would love to seem like I have my act together. But, seeing as you guys already know that I’m a mess, there’s really no reason to care so much, right? Right.

Three months ago, I wrote this blog post called “This is our midnight.” In December, I was tired but optimistic, thinking that at least I couldn’t possibly get MORE tired before things had to get better. So I pep-talked myself in a new year’s post about weathering storms and preparing to enter a season of action or some such heartwarming bullsh*t.

In December, I had no idea what I was talking about when I said I was ready for an awakening.

Yeah, the seasons have changed; 2016 so far has been probably the most difficult start to any year of my life. Let’s be real for a minute.

Between family, friendships, and a new relationship, I’ve tried to be there for every single person I’ve met and felt always like I’m failing miserably. I stopped working on my book, but I still told people I was writing all the time. After a hot second of “down time” at work, I got antsy and dove right back in again, trying to get too many things done with too few hours in the day and refusing to ask other people to help me (because… of reasons?? I don’t know ugh).

Then a few weekends ago, I came down with the stomach flu. And as I was lying in bed, trying to get my aching, shivering body to stop freaking the eff out while texting an I’m so sorry, but I can’t make the birthday party tonight… I realized that that was the first night in several months that I’d actually allowed myself to do nothing but rest.

It was a wake-up call. And it literally took me feeling like death to hear it clearly.

faceplant

Two months into 2016, I got a text out of the blue from that same friend who’d agreed that something big was going to happen this year. She simply wrote, “Awakenings hurt, man.”

Yeah. They do. I guess I just was kind of hoping… it wouldn’t? I really hoped, naively, that things wouldn’t get harder before they got better. I wasn’t expecting to find myself standing at the top of Griffith Observatory a few weeks ago, staring out over a city that tosses and turns in its sleep and thinking, “How the hell did I get here?”

Because I’m awake now.

And I’d rather not be.

Didn’t I say that I would never again overschedule myself after the last time I nearly had a nervous breakdown? Didn’t I say after the last time I cried myself to sleep that something had to change? Didn’t I just promise myself and God that I would put Him first, before my flooded inbox and my deadlines and my I-can-totally-cram-this-in-this-week’s?

Am I really so afraid of facing myself that I have to fill my days with stuffstuffstuffpeoplepeoplepeople until reflection seems like a distant relative I’ve  forgotten to miss?

How have I not recognized until now that I’m not happy this way?

I am missing something.

I’ve lost my way. Again.

I don’t want to feel exhausted anymore. I’m so tired of being tired. I want out. I want a way out.

But you know, it’s funny, because three months ago, I was pretty confident that I could handle my choices. I’m starting to realize that I overestimate my ability to handle life on a regular basis.

A few days ago, my two roommates and I went on a mini-adventure through LA as a send-off for one of my roommates, who is moving to NorCal this weekend. We stopped at a few places I hadn’t visited in a long time, including a magical fandom merch shop called Whimsic Alley and my favorite writing spot ever, Milk Jar Cookies. We wandered and laughed and talked and ended up in Silverlake, asking each other what we were looking forward to in the next few weeks. And strangely, adventuring through our city with no agenda and no deadline in sight gave me this quiet feeling of rightness.

When I got home that night, it still felt like something was stirring inside me. And as I was sitting here earlier, remembering a question a dear friend asked me (“How is your heart?“) that I totally sidestepped in order to redirect the conversation… I think I know what it was:

Wonder.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that maybe God has been knocking and knocking on my heart for three long months, asking me why I’m keeping Him out. Asking why it’s so important to me to feel like I know everything worth knowing.

The more I dwell on it, the more I know I’m guilty of choking every last drop of peace out of my too-busy life, forgetting to truly see things and see people in the midst of my seeing things and seeing people.

The more I ask myself, Who is this woman I’m becoming, the more I think that maybe… maybe I was never supposed to be the girl who feels overwhelmed and exhausted and still tries to keep everyone from seeing that side of her. Maybe I’m supposed to live in wonder of a God who comes first, before schedules and plans, before fixer-uppers and broken hearts, before everything and everyone.

Maybe.

Maybe I’ve forgotten to experience life as I live it.

Maybe I’ve forgotten how to be thankful for the breath I’m breathing as I’m asking our Board of Directors to support our marketing campaigns for the year. Maybe I’m choosing to ignore the wake-up calls God is placing strategically in my life in the form of halting conversations with beloved friends and sick weekends where I physically cannot leave my bed.

Maybe I’ve ignored the pure wonder of a Savior who holds my heart tenderly, even in the rude awakenings, and makes all things new.

Maybe I’ve been looking for a way out, when I really just need to know that I’m enough. Oh Jesus, make me enough.

Maybe it’s Him I’ve been searching for all this time, and in between my midnight restlessness and my first morning meeting, maybe… I can be still and rediscover that which I’ve let slip through my fingers.

Maybe it’s not too late.

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Samantha Chaffin


So. I don’t have any answers and I don’t have much to give, but I can ask you this: How’s your heart? What are you looking forward to? 

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8 thoughts on “What to do when your seasons change

  1. E.R. Warren says:

    I’m looking forward to entering another phase of my life. I’m looking forward to learning to make good donuts, and learning to only rank myself against myself. 2016 has certainly been something.

    • samchaffin says:

      Yes, totally. Me too, except I don’t anticipate learning to make good donuts anytime soon, because I am somewhat kitchen-inept. I’ll learn how to eat all the good donuts without clogging my arteries. That sounds like a challenge I could accept.

      And yep, 2016 has been… nothing like I expected. But in a way, I guess that’s a good thing.

  2. Rea Dyer says:

    Oh, dear heart. Your soul is beautiful. And reading this, I think to myself, ‘what am I doing? When will I learn to breathe and let things go?’

    2016 has brought much turmoil in my life. I have been the weakest I have ever been. January 3rd, ’16 will forever be marked in my memory as when I let everything completely overcome me. It is the day I destroyed many things about myself. Many relationships. Friendships. Trust.

    But 2016 has also made me be the strongest I have ever been. The toughest. The person who has kept breathing.

    My heart and soul are heavy. I can’t seem to learn to let things go, to exist. To just be. Because that is what I need to do: be. One word. So simple. Just be.

    Live. Embrace this life.

    Sam, you are a beautiful human being, and I long to meet you someday.

    • samchaffin says:

      Reagan, you are such a light, love. Thank you for sharing your heart on the page with me. Just reading this made me feel less alone in this struggle. I’m praying for you, and I so hope that you find the peace that we both are so desperately craving. One day, when we finally do meet, I’m so excited to be able to point back to this time in our lives and see how Christ overcame, for both of us. ❤

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