Have you ever gotten home from a trip, looked around at all the suitcases waiting to be unpacked and thought, I just can't. And so you didn't? You left it piled up and just walked around it until everyone was out of clean underwear and you couldn't put it off any longer?
No? Oh. Me neither then.
Except that I have. Once or twice in real life and all. the. time. in my head. I was there just recently actually...I could see the junk but I just couldn't and so I didn't.
I could see that I was lacking connection, skipping the Bible reading, forgetting to pray. I was walking around the truth that I was avoiding and dreading gatherings with people I do actually quite like. I was tripping over the fact that I was spending way too much time on my phone instead of engaging with my family. My inner introvert had staged a coup and I was adrift, disconnected from my own life. I could see all of that, but I didn't feel much like doing anything about it.
Those piled suitcases are annoying though, always in line of sight, forever in the way, persistent in thei need to be dealt with. And so it was with that disconnect.
My awareness of it grew over time. The guilt of avoidance hung overhead. The knowledge that what I felt like doing was not actually what I needed to be doing became impossible to ignore. I was officially out of clean underwear. It was time to unpack.
God is clever about these things and had been patiently waiting. Of course He prepared the way: time together with a friend and a small group study in the same day gave me a chance to say it out loud, to declare all my unpacked baggage and to list out all the things I don't feel like doing. (Funnily, just talking about my unpacked baggage was actually the first step in unpacking it. This does not work with literal unpacking.)
The next day I started doing those things I didn't really feel like doing. I started putting things back in their places. I found time in the morning for scripture and a chat with God. When I picked my phone up, I reminded myself to put it back down and I strove for stillness instead of distraction. I invited my kids to play and I snuggled with my husband. And then I did all of that again the next day too.
I didn't completely feel like it yet. I mean, who likes unpacking? No one! But I feel better when it's done. When things are back in their places and balance has been restored, I can breathe freely again. For me at least, sometimes the doing has to come first, and the feeling will follow. Unpacking after a long trip is the last thing I ever want to do and unpacking my mental baggage can be even worse...but it is so good to have it done.
Jenn is a book-reading, quietly nerdy introvert who has, one choice at a time, managed to completely surround herself with chaos. Wife to one incredible man, and homeschooling-mama to three crazy-awesome boys, life is almost never quiet...but in each day there are moments - brief pauses in the crazy - and it is there that she finds God. He is in a quiet breeze through the trees, in a one-on-one conversation, in a lingering glance at a sleeping child's face. It is enough.