Over the past two years, since September 11, 2014, I've enjoyed some time from being obligated. I call it my “retirement” space. But that is now changing, and I will be going back to teaching in a few days. My days of leisure are over, at least for now.
While I am thankful for the opportunity to teach again, I have complained a little about having to give up my morning pleasures. I’ve really enjoyed starting my day with drinking coffee on my patio, tending to my flower garden, engaging in vigorous exercise, and watching the wildlife around me come to life.
A couple of evenings ago I listened to my friends and husband share their perspective of my accounts of my morning experiences and complaints of having to give them up to go back to work. They made me sound ridiculous. Though it was at my expense, I enjoyed the humorous moment I provided, and I laughed until I cried and couldn’t breathe.
I’ve spent the past several days considering why I’m having such a difficult time embracing this shift in my life. I’m not lazy; I love teaching; I really do have a life; I’m not old enough to be retired… Why am I struggling? My contemplation has helped me see something about myself I haven’t noticed before. Let me explain.
I have a spiritual aspect to who I am. And over the past fifteen years I have spent a lot of time growing spiritually. I have learned a lot about God’s character, and He has brought spiritual healing to my life through my relationship with Him. I am better because of this journey. I am also a professional. And, with God’s help, I have invested a lot of time and money honing my professional abilities. I have grown in knowledge and skill and am a better person because of this journey as well.
But there’s a part of me I've not considered—my childlike side. It seems that while spiritual and professional Kerri has grown and developed, childlike Kerri has been neglected. And I’ve noticed, lately, how I’ve been telling that part of myself, “It’s time to get it together.” But, instead, I've rebelled and resisted. I've struggled.
I remembered something while thinking about these things. The Psalmist said it, Isaiah said it, and Jesus confirmed it: Jesus came to make humanity whole—not just all of humanity but each individual human being. (See Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18.) Each of us are called to be reconciled to Him, and He desires to make each of us whole and complete. This has certainly been proven true in my own life.
I realized something yesterday. I think my “retirement space” has been God’s way of providing growth for childlike Kerri. Over the past two years God has provided opportunities for me to get to know myself better by giving room for the child in me to flourish.
As you can imagine, today I find it most extraordinary that Jesus emphasized the allowance of children coming to Him and our becoming like children in our approach to Him. (See Luke 18:16 and Matthew 8:3.)
I think being able to embrace childlike perspective and faith alongside professional and spiritual maturity is part of the process of being made whole. As each new phase of healing is introduced into my life I am finding my journey with Him to wholeness to be most exhilarating. And as I walk with Him I feel the Lord's continual work in me changing me into an incredible dynamic He can use for His purpose. He is healing all of me because He wants to use all of me.