This one goes out to all those who have called me out on my blogging leave of absence.
Truthfully, all of the major life-changes over the past 6 months have been pretty challenging for me. I'm not sure what I expected when I left InterVarsity with no plan other than moving back to Indiana, but I do see how the Lord has used this season to teach me a lot about myself - who I am and how I respond when all the structures of my life are pulled away. I figured it would be difficult and that I would face a lot of identity issues as I forced myself to slow down, stop 'producing,' and simply receive a season of rest.
Many have heard me say, "I just don't feel like myself," or, "I feel like major portions of who I am are lying dormant." It has been challenging to move from leading a ministry at an academically elite university, experiencing much growth in a Christ-centered church family, and living in the most ethnically/culturally diverse neighborhood in Chicago to living in a small(ish) town in Indiana, working at a restaurant, and investing in a church family that is wonderful but extremely different (as it should be). In the midst of this, there have been moments of feeling like my life is unrecognizable.
I recently finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy. There is a part in the last book where the main character, Katniss Everdeen, has been through quite a bit of trauma and is mentally/emotionally unstable. The doctors have her recite a list of simple facts about herself in order to anchor herself in reality - My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me... Her list goes on, but I'll not spoil it if you still want to read the series. At any rate, it got me thinking about how I anchor my sense of self and reality. My gut instinct is often to begin listing accomplishments - My name is Rachel Drolen. I am from Indiana, but my home is Chicago. I went to graduate school at Moody. I worked in full-time Christian collegiate ministry. I love to teach the Word. I speak Spanish. I get worked up about agriculture and sustainability.
I have to sense the Lord's kindness in stripping away such a list. That is not my anchor. Trying to make that my anchor will only leave me dissatisfied and self-consumed. Rather, the Father reminds me that my list is more along these lines - I am Rachel Drolen, a beloved daughter of the Most High God. I am a citizen of Christ's unshakeable kingdom. In Christ I have been cleansed, accepted, adopted into a family, and made whole. I am perfectly loved, regardless of what I do, and I am sent to love others unto wholeness in Christ. Whether in Chicago or Indiana, full-time ministry or waiting tables, this anchor enables me to live joyfully with a sense of meaning and purpose.
Perhaps the sweetest encouragement I have received in response to these feelings that so much of what I care about is not finding expression in my life right now, is that perhaps those passions are resting for this season only to bear greater fruit in the future. May it be so!