“A writer is dear and necessary to us only in the
measure in which he reveals to us
the inner workings of his soul.”
Facing the Empty Nest
The time has come to face my fears. August is here. And that means my three children are leaving the nest.
Three Tuesdays in August
Tuesday, August 5th, Candace flies to Europe.
Tuesday, August 12th, Brooke flies, actually drives, to college.
Tuesday, August 19th, Grant flies to college.
Tuesday, August 26, I possibly fly to Atlanta to tape two television interviews (possibly…haven’t fully decided). I might need to decompress by driving, not flying, anywhere. Possibly to the Outer Banks of N.C., where I seem to decompress best! The negative ions swirling in the ocean air are the best “free” therapy in the world!
I am told the anticipation of change is actually worse than the change itself.
Amid all of this transition, God has redirected my path. Remember when I told you I was looking for new feathers for my empty nest and how in my book rejection, God was bringing redirection? Well, one particular feather, one moment of redirection, took me by complete surprise. It seems, as of right now, God is leading me to go back to school to pursue my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling through Liberty University’s Distance Learning Program. To make a very long story short, after long days of praying, thinking, searching, and talking to wise men and women of God, I sense God’s hand in this decision.
During this time of seeking God, a friend mentioned Bruce Wilkerson’s book, “The Dream Giver” (see http://www.brucewilkinson.com/resources.html). Written as an allegory, much like Pilgrim’s Progress, Bruce introduces readers to a sincere protagonist, Ordinary. Everything changes for Ordinary the day he dares to leave the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream. From this allegory, Bruce deducts 7 principles/a pattern that God’s people seem to follow when they attempt to leave the Land of Familiar in pursuit of their Big Dream:
- Become aware of a personal Dream or calling, then decide to pursue it.
- Face fear as they leave a place of comfort.
- Encounter opposition from those around them.
- Endure a season of difficulty that tests their faith.
- Learn the importance of surrender and consecration to God.
- Fight the Giants that stand between them and the fulfillment of their Dream.
- Reach their full potential as they achieve their Dream and bring honor to God.
He then says, “With every Big Dream, there is a Big Need.” Ordinary’s path was not easy. Leaving the familiar never is easy. Leaving our comfort zone is never easy. There is a tremendous sense of disorientation. At least, that is how I have felt during this time. To be disoriented is to experience:
- Loss of one’s sense of direction, position, or relationship with one’s surroundings.
- Mental confusion or impaired awareness, especially regarding place, time, or personal identity.
I have felt a little like Snow White when she is thrust into the dark forest. Totally new surroundings. But, in all of this, I have heard the Spirit’s whisper, “When your heart is overwhelmed, my daughter, come to the Rock that is higher than you are. Sit there. Rest there. Wait there. I’m not overwhelmed. Trust me.” Psalm 61:2 (MSG) says it this way,
“God, listen to me shout, bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”
and in the NIV,
“From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Can you sense the psalmist’s disorientation, “When I’m far from anywhere. . .?”
So, as I face my “Three Tuesdays in August,” I will remember Ordinary and move forward with renewed confidence in Christ and know that in HIS time HE will impart clarity. I wonder if that is why colleges and universities have a period of “orientation.” A designated time, carefully crafted, designed to dispel the disorientation young college coeds all feel when they leave home for the first time.
Here we are again, closing out the day. When you have a spare minute, eight to be exact, listen to Bruce Wilkerson and a young Rick Warren, discuss the BIG DREAM. I was so blessed by their wisdom. Until next time,