Out of sorts

It’s a funny expression, that.  But it’s the best way I can express how I have been feeling this week – even though I’m not totally sure where it comes from.

The dictionary says this:

out-of-sorts

and I couldn’t resist adding this, when I found it:

Image result for out of sorts

Not a particularly pleasant picture.  But it more or less sums me up for the last week.  I do actually feel slightly better today, so I’m hoping it’s passing.  Most things do, given time.

I don’t know whether my feeling ‘out of sorts’ had anything to do with Simplify 7.  I do know that I would normally have used clothes to try to lift my mood.  I’m not completely into colours and what they are supposed to do for us, but I’m sure we all have days when we want to wear certain colours – either because they match the way we feel inside or because we know they will help us change the way we feel inside.  Not having that option at the moment is, i think, sending me in different directions.  Yes (thankfully) towards prayer, and trying to focus on how I think Jesus would want me to respond in any given situation.  But also in far less satisfying or worthy directions.  It’s amazing how often cake or chocolate present themselves as a temporary solution – and there’s a fair bit of it around in the office at the moment, so maybe I’m not the only one feeling ‘out of sorts’!

It could be the change in the seasons/weather.  We’ve gone from the hottest September day for over 100 years (well, somewhere in the country) to thick fog and drizzle which makes it feel like someone turned the sun off.  It’s turned out quite nice again today, so maybe that (and a bit longer in bed) is the reason for my happier mood today!

Yes, maybe I am just tired.  I’ve been back at work for two and a half weeks – and already I feel like I’m in need of another holiday.  I was going to say that September is always exceptionally busy for me, but it’s getting to the point where I can say that about every month – it’s just the reasons why that change.

At the moment – at the beginning of a new academic year – it’s all about reflecting on what we’ve done and thinking about the next steps.  I’m busy setting up all kinds of new projects and talking to people about what we are going to be doing.  It’s exciting!  I feel more positive about my work than I have for a couple of years.  But at the same time, my heart is in my mouth, because I’m taking risks and I’m taking a huge leap of faith that I will actually have enough time and energy to fulfil all the commitments I am making.  But, just as I believe God has called me to undertake Simplify 7, I believe he is calling me to take these risks – and he will give me the wherewithal to keep going, as long as what I am doing is what he wants me to do.

I love the promise in Isaiah 40 (again, from The Message)

God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
    And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
    gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
    young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
    they walk and don’t lag behind.

Image result for rise on eagles wings

But, I haven’t been feeling very eagle-like this week.  And I have to ask myself if that is also maybe because some of the things I have spent my energy on have not been the right things?  Or maybe because I just haven’t been spending enough time in prayer?

One of the things I am learning about myself from Simplify 7 is just how much I like control. It’s the reason why, in some respects, I’m doing better than I thought with such a limited wardrobe.  But it’s also the reason why I am struggling – because I find it hard to let go, to not be able to choose what I think is exactly the right thing for a particular occasion (and of course, it’s never exactly the right thing!)

 I know that what clothes I wear is a trivial matter in many respects – but I also know that I’ve had far more people say something like ‘oh, I could never do that!’ when they hear about the clothes fast than when they heard about the 7 food fast.  So I have some comfort in finding it difficult.

Because, of course, it’s not meant to be easy!  I know I keep coming back to that, but it’s probably one of the more important things I’m learning – and the fact that I have got to this point in my Christian journey without being more aware of it is frankly embarrassing to me!  Jesus didn’t promise an easy life.  He made it clear that the cost of following him was possibly everything you have – including all the people you love.  But for me – and everyone else who decides to follow the invitation and take up that cross – the cost of not following him seems infinitely worse.  At least until we actually have to start making some of those sacrifices!

I worry that I’ve been doing too much.  I’ve made myself ill with over-working in the past and I try to guard against it now.  But there’s another way of looking at it:

Image result for burning the candle at both ends

The ‘if’ is a very important part of that idea.  I need to make sure that I’m busy doing the things he wants me to be busy doing.

So, here’s to another busy week ahead!

Image result for out of sorts

P.S. While I was googling and searching for images for this post, I came across a book called ‘Out of Sorts’ by Sarah Bessey.  Turns out she writes a blog too – and I’m inspired!  If you’re interested:

Image result for out of sorts

And I’ve just noticed who wrote the foreword!

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