My very first job outside of babysitting was working at TruValue Hardware store. One of the jobs that I had when I would work is to recalibrate the paint mixing machine. That machine was probably the most fun I had at work outside of hearing stories from all of the surrounding farmers on Saturday morning as they would come in for their free cups of coffee.
The paint mixing machine was a finicky thing. I loved getting the recipe for a color and then watching it get all mixed up together. It was crazy to watch certain colors get mixed up to create something so pretty. People would bring in old paint samples to match, pictures, bookmarks, anything they could find to show us what color they wanted. You would have the system read the color, and then it would show you the color formula.
If you didn't calibrate the machine each morning, it would fail to match colors correctly. One of my opening jobs was to make sure that this happened. It was bad news if you didn't. It was bad news if you didn't clean the machine nozzles once in and a while. These were the small things that needed to be done daily for it to work in proper order.
I use this analogy for what I feel like my month of January has been like. It has been a recalibration of sorts. I needed to get back to a baseline emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. I can tell when I am off-kilter a bit, and this January was no exception. January tends to be that kind of month for me normally. I re-evaluate the past year. I spend time journaling and processing emotions that I may haven't let myself feel for a bit. I could tell my heart was a bit harder, my emotions a bit rawer, and my frustrations about foster care were mounting.
I had the opportunity to take a small spiritual retreat last week to a beautiful spot called "The Shepherds Gate Inn." This home was beautiful, and Chuck and Becca that run it, are amazing people. I didn't realize how "loud" my thought processing had been. I didn't realize that there was some work on my heart that I needed to take care of. There wasn't guilt or shame behind that, but a deep sense of the need for healing and freedom on the other side of those hard conversations with God. I don't fully have the answer to some of the things I wrestled out with Him, but I do trust Him. I trust that what He is having me walk through right now is purposeful, that it will be redeemed for good, that He will be glorified in it, that I learn a deeper sense of dependency on Him and Him alone, and that He will become more.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
Small Groups are starting up at our church. Community is such a great way to recalibrate if you have been in a season where you are feeling a bit off. Find people you can lean on, pray with, learn from, challenge you, and iron-sharpen-iron relationships. That's one step you can take when it comes to getting yourself reset. Want another idea? Prayer. Spend time in solitude and quiet talking to God about the things on your heart. Be honest with Him. What do you need to hear from Him so desperately right now? Mine? I needed to be reminded that I am seen, He knows, and He is with me in it.