My absolute favorite part of any trip is coming home and unpacking. I don’t care if I get to spend a month in Fiji on the beach (well, I mean, I might care a little)—unloading my suitcase, doing laundry, putting everything where it goes, and reestablishing my normal rhythms again? This is where my heart is happiest. (Not sure if this peculiarity is due to my being an ISTJ or an Enneagram 1 or just straight up nuts. But I own my fondness for routine and home sweet home.) Something about unpacking brings the closure I need to move forward.
Last month, we shared quite the adventure together! I thought I’d take today to mentally unpack now that it’s over.
How was writing every day of October? It was crazy. Like simultaneously the best and worst idea I’ve had in a while. Hang with me while I unload, and we’ll get to what you can do with this in just a minute.
Benefits I encountered:
- so. much. reading. It was a nice excuse to approach books as a necessary part of my schedule, and I swallowed tons of interesting and useful information as a result.
- It reminded me of my enormous need for the cross. When my routine gets out of whack, I’m not the nicest or most stimulating person to be around, and circling back to why I need Jesus day after day was good for my soul.
- It bolstered my dependence on the Spirit. Being faced with a task that feels overwhelming can be a quick way to kill prideful self-sufficiency.
- It fed my curiosity in a way I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I discovered other facets of self-awareness I’d eventually like to learn about—generational sin, family roles, play/fun, emotional baggage, stress, spiritual rhythms, and motivations.
- I got more comfortable and intentional in seeing how the gospel works itself out in intimate ways. This was so encouraging!
Drawbacks I didn’t anticipate:
- The rest of my life kind of shut down while I went into maintenance mode. The house, some personal relationships, even my brain cells were left in a fog.
- Constant output left me feeling raw and exposed at an entirely new level. There were days I might have overshared and then dealt with what Brené Brown calls vulnerability hangover. It’s scary stuff, showing the best and worst parts of who you are to an audience. (You all were fabulous. It’s just my internal pushback that was a problem.)
- It dominated my spiritual life. I blogged through sabbaths while advocating healthy rhythms of rest. I put my personal Bible study on pause the entire month (which had the happy effect of letting me know how much I missed it by mid-October). But I felt like a sponge that had been wrung out and baked in the sun by the time it was over.
- Because of the quick pace, some posts were a bit shallow and outwardly directed. There wasn’t enough space in my being to process it all as I wrote, so a handful of topics were more theoretical “you should” than personal “I have.”
- Drivenness was pointed out. I couldn’t be content skipping even one day (not even my birthday) because of the all-or-nothing perfectionism I wrestle.
Well, that’s great, Kassie, but what does this have to do with me? Sweet friend, you are called to do hard things. Scary things. Significant things. Things you’ll need to stop and unpack afterward. Maybe you can identify an undertaking you’ve gone through in the past and relate to some (or all) of what I learned over the past few weeks. Regardless of whether you need to focus on a past event or a dream for the future, give your heart permission to breathe, collect itself, and sift through any loose ends. Here are some questions to help you get started.
- What did you learn about yourself? about God? about others? about the topic?
- How will you extend that learning into other areas of your life?
- What were some meaningful highlights?
- How did you sense God move/speak?
- How did He care for you throughout your journey?
- Did any issues arise that you need to deal with?
- How would you describe your emotions/mindset at different times throughout?
- Did you lose your gospel footing (functional security in Christ) at any point?
- What helped your heart during the journey?
- What truth and beauty do you need as you leave that space and re-enter your routine?
- What does it look like to lay the burdens you encountered down at the foot of the cross?
- How do you need to rest in Christ’s finished work for you?
- How can you re-enter normalcy in truth, joy, and freedom?
- What might God be calling you to be/do as a result of this event?
- Who might you ask for help or resourcing as you take the next steps?