At the beginning of the year, my hopes were soaring towards the new ground that I seemed to be stepping into.
Full time job? check.
Growing/moving into independence? check, check.
Surely this is it—my new ground.
It felt like the new I had been hoping for for so long. Unfamiliar and uncomfortable yet exciting and seemingly appointed.
Too many “coincidences” were lining up to be true coincidences. It felt like favor and it also felt intimidating.
Overall, I was hopeful. This is what new ground should be expected to feel like. I had asked for it, seen it coming, and was ready for it (or so I thought).
And then the new ground swallowed me whole and I found myself feeling like Alice from Wonderland when she was falling into Wonderland. Remember the part of the story when Alice chased down the white rabbit leading her to fall head-first into that mysterious black hole? That’s exactly what I felt like.
When I fell through my own black hole, so to speak, I landed in a place I never thought I would again** find myself in.
Honestly, it has felt like failure.
It has felt like shame, like solidification of my incapability and dysfunction. Evidence that even if there had been a call/purpose or whatever you want to call it for my life, I had clearly forfeited it, unequipped with the strength or will or substance to bear it.
It really is the visiting that place again** that breaks me. If I couldn’t conquer or even cross this certain terrain once, what makes me think I could do it this time?
In the midst of that shame fog, a question caught my attention like a light in a cave.
“What if this is the new ground?”
What if in order to move into that expected new ground , I have to first go back to the unclaimed ground that I had previously settled in my heart would never be mine?
What if claiming new ground is also about re-claiming the untilled, vacant ground that preceded it?
What if stepping into new ground isn’t only about claiming new beginnings but about reclaiming the old failures, watching them become pathways to the fullness of redemption?
If you feel that your hopes for the new have fallen down into that mysterious black hole and you’re discouraged—I get it, I feel it. But lets remember that we might just be stepping into a holy place. A holy place that is appointed to reveal a new wholeness in our lives. Holy wholeness.
No, we weren’t looking for it or even desiring it. (Or at least we didn’t think we were.)
We wanted to move on, to claim our new ground. To reach a new level, to move into the proverbial ultra modern yet minimalist and also homey penthouse. We were not wanting to face our crumbling foundations.
Yet, we stand with eyes wide open to the work that needs to be done in order for us to eventually move fully equipped into what waits in the future. Let’s do the work.
Remember the white rabbit that lead Alice into the black hole? He sang a song that said—“I’m late! I’m late for a very important date!” Doesn’t this capture how most of us feel? Like if we don’t “take our new ground” fast enough then we will be running hopelessly late.
I won’t speak for you, but I absolutely feel like I’m falling behind too much of the time.
As it turns out in Alice in Wonderland, the white rabbit’s rushing song is a song of fear. A song of the fear of being judged and punished and abandoned for his lateness to the party.
The rabbit analogy breaks down right about now, but I think you get the point. (Thanks for the help, Lewis Caroll.)
This song of fear, of being left behind might is the anthem of our culture, and there’s no doubt it’s tempting to join in the chorus. But whenever we decide to stand still and put in work when life invites us into the quiet moments of reclaiming, we are refusing to participate in that worn out song of fear and self-reliance.
As we stand still we find room to breathe, and we uncover life where we thought we’d never find it.
This won’t be for everyone, but for those of us who do have dry, overrun ground to re-claim, let’s see the opportunity to face the struggle as a gift—because it is. I mean, if we let it and lean into it, it can be.
Just being honest.