The Big Rocks

Recently Jordan and I have felt pretty weary. Or maybe we’ve felt that way this whole past year. I’m too tired to think much past today, but I think that’s right. I think we’ve felt this way all year.

Perhaps it’s the fact that we kicked the year off with the loss of our second baby. Maybe it’s that being in full time ministry (and trying to balance it with a healthy family life) is just plain out tiring. Maybe it’s that I’ve been pregnant for much of the year, which makes normal life more difficult for me and puts more on Jordan. It could be that we’ve felt a lack of community for awhile, or that money is tight or that there just always seems to be 203984930 random life tasks on the to-do list that pile up and never get done.

Whatever combination of reasons, this season has been a weary one.

I know that sometimes it can get annoying when Christians over-use that phrase. I’m in a “season” of this or a “season” of that. What I love about that phrase, however, is the perspective that it shines on my life. Seasons come and go. They are temporary, but you can count on them coming. Each season has it’s misery and it’s glory.

For example, I hate the heat and humidity of the summer here in North Carolina. But I love to go to the pool, the lake, the beach, and on family vacation – all of which happen in the summer! I hate how I get sick all the time in the fall.  But wouldn’t it be tragic if I didn’t take time to appreciate the leaves and the crisp air and the fun fashion trends of the season? I think so. Winter is cold and barren, but with it comes slipper socks, cozy blankets, fires going in the fireplace, and the comforting smells, sounds, and ambiance of the Christmas season! Spring brings awful allergies, but also the beauty of flowers and grass in bloom and the amazing 60-70 degree temps!

If there is one thing we can be certain of in life, it’s that there will always be seasons. Seasons of joy and rest, life and energy.  Seasons of pain and grief, death and exhaustion. Every season is meaningful. Every season shapes us in new ways. And every season offers us the invitation to know God more, to rely on Him, and to make Him our greatest desire.

I don’t want to simply “get through” this season and miss what it may have to offer me. I don’t want to miss the beautiful and sweet things that God has placed all around me, that are unique to this particular season we are in. I don’t want to miss the things that God is trying to do in our lives and in our hearts. I don’t want to be distracted and discouraged.

A friend gave an analogy recently of filling a bucket. He said if you take a bucket and put some big rocks in it, you will still have some room to fill the bucket. You could put in some smaller stones, and you would still have some room. You could add some sand. Even then, you would probably still have room for water – in order to make the best use of filling that bucket. But let’s say instead of starting out with the big rocks, you start with the water. If you pour water in a bucket, you might be able to add a few small stones, and you might even be able to pour a little bit of sand in too. But you will not have any room for the big rocks.

One of the most difficult things in life is to figure out what the “big rocks” are, and then to orient our lives around those things. If we don’t put them first, then it’s likely they will not fit after all of the other things we let fill our lives.

In this season, I’m afraid Jordan and I have let the water fill the bucket first. There hasn’t been enough room for the big rocks. So we’re going to take some time to identify what exactly those big rocks are. What are the greatest priorities in our life? Time alone with God? Family worship? Community? Getting out of debt? Generosity? Ministry? Hospitality? Financial goals? Me staying home with the kinds?  Me bringing in some income? Exercise? Rest? I’m not sure, but as we figure them out, we are going to try to better orient our life around them.

This has been a difficult season, but we refuse to keep letting it fill our bucket with water that doesn’t leave room for the rocks. I don’t want to miss the riches that are hidden in this particular time in our life. And I know that the sooner we can figure out what our big rocks are and how to orient our life in such a way as to prioritize them, the sooner we can live fully in each new season that our life encounters.

What are your “big rocks” and how have you found ways to shape your life around them?