A week or so ago I posted on social media about how I felt like God was “defragmenting my soul” like someone might defragmenting a computer harddrive.
Caveat: I’m depending on my memory from a middle school science project to explain what defragmenting is so hopefully I’m somewhere close to making this understandable:
Defragmenting is a process of cleaning up the space used on a harddrive, getting everything back in the best place. For example if you save 10 things on your computer think of them as going one after another in a row. If you then delete the second, fifth, and ninth things, there is space now available, but it’s all spread out. When you go to save “file 11” it will start saving in second spot but may end up spilling over into the empty space from what was originally file five.
As we save, delete, add, and change files and programs over time, a computer starts to slow down. It takes longer to figure out where all the pieces of a file are in order to bring them up on the screen. Defragmenting pulls all the empty space to the end and puts pieces and parts back all together in sequence. (If you need a visual there’s a simple but great one here.)
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that fragmentation really does happen in our souls and I felt it this summer. While there was often time (space) for the things that needed to happen, I was taking on and ending things at such a rate that my whole life just felt like like little pieces all over the place. Part of it was my work schedule: when one trip was over, Vacation Bible school started a day later. Six days after that I led a group of 19 on a trip to another country only to come back and help two high schoolers run a dance camp. All the little spaces in between were being used up to write grant proposals, prepare for the next adventure, spend time with family or friends, and occasionally get some sleep. Life was good. But life was fragmented.
Two Saturdays ago I didn’t have to be at work until later in the day and a slow-start morning began the process of pulling all the pieces together. I didn’t set an alarm and let my body wake up when it was rested. I spent some time in God’s Word while enjoying a warm chai latte on a cool morning. I had breakfast with a friend and then we walked around the neighborhood we were in, enjoying a waterfall, a farmer’s market, bright colored flowers and more. Leaving there, I joined another friend for a walk near her house. As I debriefed life with these beautiful friends and paid attention to the things right around me things started to come back into place. I returned library books and did a little laundry… more things back in order.
Over the course of the last week the defragmenting process continued. A day “off-the-grid” hiking and trying to camp (we got flooded out) gave my mind the mental space it needed to be renewed. Spending time with little kids restored some joy in my soul. An extra day off work brought at least a little balance to the last few weeks of overworking. Finding routines in the office and at home, cleaning, and doing laundry continued the defrag process.
There are times when God calls us to depend on His strength and do more than we think is possible. This summer was one of those times for me. Other times He calls us to stop, rest, and be renewed. He draws us close and defrags our soul.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG Paraphrase)