The Art of Release
The Art of Release
transitioning with open hands
I took a break from this creative outlet of mine. When I say that the last three months of my life have been a little crazy, I mean they’ve been really crazy. Crazier than I ever expected. The personal training job I took had me working crazy hours, and I was exhausted because it wasn’t where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to be doing. Now that I’ve had a chance to breathe, I’ve wanted to write again. As a worship leader and musician, I’ve got a draw to the creative realm, and I love writing. I often feel that I can communicate better when things are written. That’s why I’m such a fan of journaling because I feel like it’s the only real way to process what life is throwing at me. I did quit my full-time personal training job and I deleted my KenzieMFitness instagram page, but I kept this because I still feel like this is valuable. I still treasure this and the hours I’ve spent writing and processing all things health and fitness. BUT, I want to bring something new to the table here: a deeper “lifestyle” page that talks about things other than my workouts or recipes. Let’s be real, the majority of my day happens outside of the gym. So this is my first post that’s not about health, but I’m about to share about all of the life that’s been happening recently. Most of it’s messy, but I want to share what it’s taught me thus far. Some of the craziness has been good, but most of it has left me feeling a lot of things.
Breathless. Tired. Confused. Anxious. Hurt. Misunderstood. Misled. Not good enough. The list goes on.
But still hopeful. If hope can’t co-exist with my disappointments, then I’d never see the other side the way I’m supposed to.
Let’s start from the beginning. I graduated from college almost four months ago, and my plan was to stay in Tulsa and work as a personal trainer for awhile. I started my job and worked for a few months, but slowly it began to drain the very life out of me. I’ve loved training and helping people with their fitness goals for the last few years, but only as a hobby. Choosing to do that full-time wasn’t right. I haven’t talked much about this on here until now, but I 100000% want to do full-time ministry. I’ve been attending and serving the local church ever since I can remember, and I felt God speak to me at 11 years old calling me I’d be a worship leader. I’ve faithfully been leading worship since the sixth grade, got a music degree, and have been dreaming big dreams about doing it for years. I’ve given my life to it and it’s been worth every moment. The opportunity to encounter God through the creative realm is an insane honor and an even greater one to lead others to experience the same thing. That’s what’s worth my life, not working in a gym. Realizing I was running in the wrong lane going the wrong direction on the wrong highway was cause for inner turmoil. I was exhausted and anxious and didn’t know how long I’d be able to keep up. Eventually, it would’ve crushed me. I know that sounds dramatic, but for months I would wake up feeling restless and out of place. When you feel that for long enough, everything about life feels wrong.
There was one week in particular in which I was really struggling. I would get out of bed and just start crying because the life I was living wasn’t what I wanted. It was during this week in the middle of July that I really felt like I was supposed to call a friend in Denver and talk to her about it. I said I would, but never did. A few days passed and she texted me saying I was on her mind and asked if there was anything she could be praying for. I just cried when I read it. I proceeded to word vomit all of the things I had been struggling with and some of the disappointments I had been facing that had been tearing me apart. I gave her a call a few days later and I spilled all of the things I had been walking through since graduation: the anxiety, the disappointment, the hurt, the mistrust, the confusion. It was a lengthy conversation, but I was so thankful for her wisdom and insight. We talked about hard stuff. There were some heavy things I needed to hear, but they’re things I’m very thankful for as I look back on it a month later. But what came from this conversation was not what I expected. Little did I know when I called her that this conversation is what would put into action my move to Denver, Colorado.
If we backtrack a little bit, I interned with the most incredible church last summer and haven’t been able to get it out of my heart. I’ve never felt a burden for a place like this one, and I’ve been relentlessly praying for the last year that God would make a way for me to go back and serve this Church that I so desperately love. It’s a place where I’ve cried, laughed, healed, served, dreamed, and one of the few places where I’ve wholeheartedly felt like I belonged. This dear friend that I talked to is on staff there and we somehow started talking about their 9 month internship. I had considered interning again, but because I was a lil prideful I didn’t want to take an internship post-graduating because I felt that I had to prove that I could do more. After talking about it, I felt this pull to go back.
Scratch that- I knew I needed to go back.
We finished our conversation and I walked away with wisdom to pray through and implement and a BIG move to pray about. I prayed all day and went home to read my Bible and spend time with the Lord right after I got off work. As I sat on my bed in my tiny apartment I felt God tell me to read Jeremiah 31. Verses 21-22 say this, “Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back. Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your hometowns. How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!” I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty clear. “Stop being indecisive about where you think you should be. Make the decision and move back. I’m doing something new.” After that I knew there wasn’t another option. I was moving back home. So that was that. I decided to take my little life to Colorado and intern at Red Rocks Church. I quit my job the next morning and moved late the following week. My life was going to keep moving and moving at full speed.
Now that you have the backstory, here is where life gets real because I’m in the middle of it all. Making the decision was the easy part. It’s choosing to actively walk in this plan hat’s the hardest. One can say “yes” to life change, but until your life actually changes you’re not experiencing anything different. My daily “yes” takes more discipline than a one-time answer, and this is where I am learning the art of release as I choose obedience to God over my own plans and dreams. This is where I’m learning to wake up every day and keep my hands open and not clenched to my chest. You see, when I decided to do this I didn’t realize everything I would have to give up. Being obedient meant tearing up my 5 year plan and allowing God to take my job, best friends, church, hopes and dreams, and some of my biggest and deepest desires. Choosing to listen to God’s voice meant leaving everything behind and I still feel the pain of that a month later and will feel it for a while, but I don’t feel pain without His presence. I know He’s in this, and He’s been so faithful to speak and guide me through this one day at a time. He knows I’m in one of my most fragile states ever, but that means I’m the most moldable and susceptible to what He’s trying to do. As I’ve been journeying through this learning a new depth to surrender, He’s taught me some really cool things about what it really looks like to let things go.
Release: free, set free, let go/out, allow to leave, liberate.
I feel so strongly that God has asked me to make this a season of releasing. To allow all of my preconceived plans and desires to leave and come under submissions to whatever God is wanting to do. When you look up release in the Bible, you’re brought to Leviticus 25 and 26. This is where I’ve been living and meditating. The Israelites were told to work for 6 years and designate every 7th year as a sabbath “year of release” to allow their fields to be uncultivated and unworked. To run wild. To be reset for future harvests. They weren’t allowed to plant and they weren’t allowed to harvest. They could only eat what the land grew on its own. Without this year, the harvest wouldn’t produce to its full capacity and may even produce some unhealthy stuff. This sabbath year is for resting and releasing— trusting that God is growing and doing what He needs to. It’s a year set apart as holy and as a time for proclaiming freedom. It’s a time of rest, release, and restoration where there’s no planting or harvesting, but only living off of what the land naturally produces. God tells the Israelites that if they obey, '“You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land. I will give you peace in the land”. They’re setting free their fields for future growth. During this season it says they find peace and prosperity. But do you want to know what’s crazy? God provided even when they couldn’t keep going with their normal routine. God’s provision didn’t stop when the plans changed. Things grew naturally without the Israelites having to plant. In fact, new and different things grew because they allowed for the fields to do their thang au naturale.
This is where God’s been holding and leading my heart. As I walk through this season feeling like I have to leave so many dreams and plans uncultivated, I know that there’s new things growing. If I choose to release the “old crops”, new and natural things will grow in their place and I won’t even have to try. It’s like choosing to walk with my hands open while I watch the seeds to my own plans and desires fall in the dust. Believe me, that suckssssss. Those things could’ve grown into something, and they could’ve grown into some good things! But the crops that grow after you routinely release what needs to be released will always be healthier. I want the healthy, and if that means I have to sacrifice some heavy stuff, then I have to sacrifice some heavy stuff. I’m clinging to the fact that He’s always been faithful. Right now, my heart still aches. My hands still hurt from gripping seeds so tightly. Most days have tears. But I remind myself that I chose to sacrifice the things that would cost me the most just because Jesus is worth it. His plan is worth it. His heartbeat is worth it. His Church is worth it.
I write this to share my heart. I write this to the other person that feels like they’re walking through hell even when they’re following Jesus. I write this to another person struggling with anxiety. I write this to tell you that I honor your pain too. In no world is this easy. I know that. I don’t say all of these things to say that it’ll be easy if you just let it all go. It’s a daily choice to walk with hands open. Dropping your beloved seeds feels like you’re losing parts of you sometimes. You held them in your hand so tightly, so they’re covered with your DNA. Dropping those can feel like your heart is being ripped from your chest. You have permission to mourn those. I know I’m mourning my own. I’m mourning the harvests I envisioned and planned for. I wish we didn’t have to do the dirty work, but that’s what cultivating a healthy life and a deeper walk with Jesus requires. But as we walk through this, we know there’s healthier, grander harvests on the other side of our sacrifice. Let’s keep our hands open so things can painfully fall as needed, but watch as healthier things thrive in the places our own seeds would’ve been taking up space.