Push pull. Pull push. I see life much this way as of late. A tug here and there until I’m stretched to the point I think I’ll break. Somehow I summon strength to bend and not break. Real talk though: How that is possible? I do not know, but I know I am building muscles of resolve and resilience in this season. Today, for Real Talk Tuesday our word prompt is “restrict.” I find myself writing my way through it and creating art as reprieve. Here I briefly focus on going through it.
To be restricted does not mean life ceases to be abundant or that we are limited, regulated, or kept from moving. In fact, we can find freedom even when life constricts around us. I look for hope in the tiny pockets of breathing room. The light strains to find me and show me all is not lost. Were I to tell you the story of my life over the last twelve months, you might be just as baffled as I am! While life has been challenging and hard, it’s also been wide open for growing. I think this is the paradox of dark seasons.
If we choose to look for hope in the darkness, we find it. It fuels us, guides us, and leads us inch by inch toward life. It reminds me of all the ways we can find grace in thin places. Yes! Those places where we can barely move and take a breath birth us into freedom and deep peace. Sometimes it makes no sense. As I have walked through these twelve months, I’ve seen how going through the valley and not around it has lead to good things I would not have anticipated. It may seem unlikely, but the process of pushing through and leaning in makes it possible for me to rise up in victory no matter how small it might be.
Where I once believed I could not grow and prosper, has become a deep well of hope. What I once thought was a cruel restriction, is now an invitation to overcome and realize a faith that moves mountains. The push pull seems less like an unseen force I cannot control and more like something I have learned to walk around, subdue, and even dance with as I walk. In other words, the restriction doesn’t own me. I have a choice in my perspective, and I keep choosing the one that says, “live, woman, live!”
I don’t have easy answers. I don’t have a three-step solution. I only have this desire to keep moving forward in faith not backing down and not giving up. It’s not easy, but I know this storm will pass, and I will rise again and again and again. In my heart I carry a bit of pocket-sized hope. It is just enough to keep me going.