The roots underground

It's confession time.

There are quite a few things that come easy to me, and because these things come easy to me, I continue to do them, because then, *gasp*, I don't have to try very hard.  It's called shallow work.  (As I write this, I realize I am reflecting a lot on my speaking career.)

Math was a lot like this growing up.  I loved it and was good at it, until I wasn't.  Then I stopped taking elective math classes.  It became too hard.  I didn't want to have to work at because I had already gotten into AP math and that was already really good.  If I stopped then, I would always be a little better than average.

Putting only enough effort into life to stand out just enough to be noticed is really no way to live.  And yet, that is what I would do.  I like to do what I am good at, or what comes easy, and leave the rest behind.  I also think that being a product of an instant, immediate culture has played its role in creating this habit within my work ethic.  This year I started to really see that in myself.  I didn't like it.  I saw myself scattered with shallow work.  Shallow work that was good enough to impress people and reach them, but was never my best. 

(The above paragraph speaks to the fact that I can easily rise to the challenge of what I know a speaker looks like and sounds like, but is what I am giving people the voice God gave me?  Do I do what I do because it's what I have seen others do, or is what I give people the voice I have searched God and myself for?  I haven't taken that deep prayerful journey that includes challenging myself and giving God total control over my ministry.  If I end up in the same spot, it will be worlds richer because I took the long introspective road to find myself there, instead of just being there because I think I should be or because I don't know where else to be.)

I was throwing my efforts wide and trying to do a lot.  This effort resulted in me really being unhappy with what I was giving people.  My husband, my children, my friends, my audience, my ministry to Haiti.  I think I got addicted to the rush. To always moving and being involved and needed.  I always needed to be doing something. I was addicted to the fun of always changing directions.  To sounding busy and effective and giving the impression like I could do it all.  And it was fun.  And I was doing a lot, but none of it to its full potential.  It prevented me from every really being alone and knowing how to manage my time. If I was busy, then I didn't have to be alone and face myself, or my decisions, or my consequences.  If you remain busy and active, then there is less time to sit and dwell and create. To grow roots.  To dig deep.  To purge secrets and dark places.  To confess and face demons and be free.  The only thing you have time for is survival.

Well, I have time now and it scares me.  I have the time to dig deep.  I have the time to develop the root system to the things I am passionate about.  I used to come home from speaking at an event where incredible things happened and Paul would ask me how it went.  I would shrug and respond, "Good I guess, it just wasn't what it could be."  I wasn't really content or satisfied with what I was producing.  I knew it could be richer.  It all had so much potential.  Potential I wasn't allowing because I wasn't taking the time to walk the long road.  Time to peel back the layers of shallowness and get deeper and richer with my content, with my vulnerabilities   Taking an hour at a time to pray over one issue.  To seek God deeply about his design for my next stage, my next step in life.  The direction for my speaking career.

Well, I have started to walk the road in the last couple weeks.  Walking the lonely road of lots of reading.  Walking the long road of hours of researching and being richer for it, but having nothing to show for it.  I wash the dishes, and I have something to show for my efforts.  I write a blog and I have something to show for my time.  Growing deep roots, roots that are grounded in time, in effort, in creativity, in research, in prayer, in study, doesn't produce immediate fruit.  It's like my raspberry bushes.  They don't produce fruit until a couple years after you first plant them.  Are you kidding me?  That's torturer to me!  I can't believe I have to wait that long!  And yet, this is what I dream for with my ministry.

All of this continues to reveal how deeply rooted my identity is wrapped up in what I can accomplish.  If you know me at all, this comes as no surprise, but every time I think I have cleaned out that dark place, there is always something else to reveal that it goes just a little deeper.  I hate admitting this.  I  hate how elementary it sounds that I would struggle to know to know who I really am and where my worth and value comes from.  But even elementary, this dark lie seeps into so much of what our culture feeds us.

Being alone most days is hard for me.  It makes me feel invisible, and apparently I need to be seen to be worth anything. (now that is hard and embarrassing to say.)  In all those hours of the day, I am faced with the choice of how to spend my time.  How I spend my time produces fruit no matter what I choose.  I have decided to spend my time as of late walking the long road of digging deep into my faith.  Of reading scripture and books that encourage me and teach me.  I am praying more over who I am and what my voice was made for.  I am researching and talking with people about business and life and social issues.  People that challenge me and force me to think outside of my box.  I am digging deeper and putting the time into chipping away at what gift lies underneath all the issues.

It's exhausting and kind of scary.  It's hard to fight the demons of result based value.  But I persevere.  I don't want to waste my time or potential anymore.  One of my greatest fears has always been that at the end of my life, I would look back and see that I was too scared to live a life out loud.  I want a life that is courageous and deep, and real, and inspiring.  By not developing a deep root system, I realize how my life will drift away.  I don't want that.  I want an inspired life.  A deep rooted, authentic, rich life.  Time to dig deep I guess.

Hello 2013.  You kind of scare me, but I'm ready now more than ever. I am ready to walk the long road.