On the Shelf: The Fog and Books That Helped

I spent a couple of years living with a fog around me. 

I realize that sounds extreme, but it wasn’t. It was simply what it was. By all accounts, life was normal. Good even. Yet, I felt a restlessness that I couldn’t quite shake. I knew I was where I was supposed to be … but … I knew there was something else too. I felt a buzz from the creative energy that I wasn’t using. I felt the strongest, strangest sensation that something was right there. RIGHT THERE. Just out of sight. Surrounded by a thick, opaque fog. It was SO close, I could almost touch it. I couldn’t see it. But, I wanted it. I almost yearned for it. I wanted to see it clearly so badly. I could TASTE it. I just didn’t know what it was.

Sometimes you aren’t meant to step forward. 

Sometimes you are meant to sit in the fog with God and simply wait. 

Wait on his gentle nudge.

Wait.

At times, I felt like I’d be there forever. Like I’d moved into the fog. Like … this is where I live now. I prayed for clarity and vision. I prayed for … something I didn’t even have the words to express or ask for. I wasn’t unhappy. I chose my path. We chose to be a single-income-family and I walked knowingly, willingly and happily into the life of a stay-at-home-mom (still think it’s dumb title though). I chose it. WE chose it and we fought for it and sacrificed for it. Yet, I often found myself feeling a little lost. A bit detached from myself. Struggling with my identity. Guilty.

Sitting in the fog often felt pointless and frustrating. But, during that time, growth was happening. A ready-ing. A refining. A rooting. Because I felt lost … and even a little desperate at times … I ran to God each morning. I read. I prayed. I learned. I studied. I grew. I didn’t even realize it while I was doing it, but I was doing The Work. The hard work. On myself. I was surrendering and listening. I was loosening my grip on what I pictured or imagined all the “shoulds” to be and holding it all out and up. I wanted to hear from God and He met me each morning and sat in the fog with me. Slowly. Slowly, the fog began to lift. Slowly. Slowly, I felt His gentle nudge to step forward. One step forward. One single step at a time. The fog clearing only enough for the next step.

I still don’t have a perfectly clear vision. I still feel the fog thicken around me some days. I still run to God each morning. But, the restlessness has gone. Leaving a peace in its place that means so much to me. And, a great love for prayer, learning, reading, and for personal growth has been reinforced and instilled deeper within me. 

I read a lot of books during that time and many were important and helpful. But 3 stood out to me as being meant for “the foggy times”. They made it all feel a bit more normal. A bit less heavy. A bit less lonely. 

Those books were: 

  1. Made For This by Jennie Allen
  2. Growing Boldly by Emily Ley
  3. The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Their summaries from Goodreads:

Made For This: “Join Bible teacher Jennie Allen on a 40-day interactive journey that takes you through a step-by-step process to guide you in answering life’s ultimate question. This unique book will help you: Stop living afraid and insecure by discovering how God can use your dreams and passions for a greater purpose; Identify the threads in your life and how they intentionally weave together; Trade control and safety for a life of God-honoring adventure by praying one prayer; Discover how to fully surrender to God and identify the threads of gifts, passions, places, relationships, and sufferings in your life—not to get what you want, but to find what God wants of you.”

Growing Boldly: “From the founder of the Simplified brand of organizational tools for busy women comes Growing Boldly, a how-to book that inspires us to imagine big, plan well, and then gather the equipment and the courage to go out and do. In Growing Boldly, Emily will help you: Believe in who you are and Whose you are . . . and move past the lies and fears holding you back; Figure out what makes you tick and own it confidently; Gather all your grit, learned lessons, and tools because it’s all valuable; Imagine the life you dream of and decide how to make it happen; Love your people well so that you create a lasting legacy; Clear the clutter and cultivate clarity so you can do what matters most; Do the hard work without forgetting to feed your soul. This is the start of something good. Get ready to build a life you love.”


The Next Right Thing: “When we have a decision to make and the answer isn’t clear, what we want more than anything is peace, clarity, and a nudge in the right direction. If you have trouble making decisions, because of either chronic hesitation you’ve always lived with or a more recent onset of decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: simply do the next right thing. With this simple, soulful practice, it is possible to clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing. Whether you’re in the midst of a major life transition or are weary of the low-grade anxiety that daily life can bring, Emily helps create space for your soul to breathe so you can live life with God at a gentle pace and discern your next right thing in love.”

So, if you find yourself in the fog, know that it’s probably a necessary season. Know that what is meant for you, won’t pass you by. Know that you are right on time for your dreams. Hold your hands open wide and embrace your season of waiting. You aren’t alone.

Isaiah 41:18 “I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land fountains of water.”

James 5:7 “Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You too, must be patient.”

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