faith · personal happiness

rest. be. breathe.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough with my life.

As if I’m not doing the things God intended for me to do.

As if there’s so much to do that’s not being done.

As if I’m not inspiring anyone anymore.

I have this mental to-do list in my head of the things I want to do, create, write, etc. right now. Somehow I think I have to do everything right now. Because life is short.

I know so many creative and successful people: artists, performers, photographers, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers, and the list goes on.

They are all doing, inspiring, creating, now.

Often, I look at myself, with nothing to offer but a few meager words that I cant even find the time to write anymore, and think I have nothing.

And then I have the tiny human that soaks up all my time and energy.

I have been thinking back to that time when I wrote three blog posts a week, guest writing on other blogs, meeting other writers for coffee and beer, and a had steadily growing following. (Do you remember one of the first blogs I had? Why did I let that domain go!? It’s now available for over $3k.) I was growing as a blogger, creating connections, writing things people wanted to read, and sometimes, getting paid for it! Had I stuck with that, who knows where I would be now? But now? I don’t know if I even have 5 followers and I haven’t written much in the last couple years. I faded.

But then I read Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner and remembered why I stopped blogging. I had reached that point where words weren’t enough anymore. Instagram was growing. Social media was flourishing. There was, well a lot of work in maintaining an image and a presence.

I didn’t want to work on it. I didn’t want to create a perfectly styled photo that hid the mess. I didn’t want to spend an hour on a stupid photo. I wanted to have a real life with meaning.

So I left it all. I just wanted life as it was.

“[F]or just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.”

― Lev Grossman, The Magicians

And I realized why I had this shift…..

Because Jesus was all I needed to focus on.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.  Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT

I stripped off the weight of  being a perfect vegetarian. Having less stuff than someone else. Having rainbow everything to ‘show’ that I was a ‘hippie.’ Needing to juice every morning. Needing to knit something every day. Needing to be consistent to grow my readers and followers. Needing to have perfect, inspirational photos on my Instagram feed. (Note that need is actually “need” as it is not a real need.)

I left the constant feeling of “need” and just looked to Jesus.

Jesus is calm. Peace. Strength. Protection. Rest. Love.

Still, there is a part of me that is sad at the lack of current creative outlet. It’s hard. It’s hard to find time in between work and preparing meals and taking care of the house and raising a headstrong, curious child and taking online courses and studying the bible and working on my marriage and staying connected as much as I can with the people in my life. Knitting gets discarded in a cloth bag in the back of my closet that hasn’t been used in years. My hula hoops are tattered, in the back of another closet. My juicer sits in the pantry, untouched for even longer. My garbage overflows with discarded plastic packages of convenience.

But I have been reminded that this is just a season. A season in which the only thing I need to worry and focus on is my family, especially raising my child, the relationships I have with others, and my work.

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The creative outlets can wait. The creative outlets will come back. They’re just hibernating right now. Rest. I will continue to be. Be the wife I need to be. Be the mama I need to be. Be the friend I need to be. Be the follower of Jesus I need to be. God has plans for me. Always. And I am perfectly fine and wonderful just as I am, where I am, in this moment. And that tiny human? He needs me right now. Just as I am. To just be there.

Just be. Just breathe.

Those phrases I love so much, yet forget to really understand.

Breathe.

Be.

That’s more than enough.

And how fitting that it is the season of winter; a season of rest and hibernation.

Keep my eyes on Jesus.

Rest.

Yes. Time to rest.

Be.

IMG_0440.jpg

happiness · personal happiness

the year of: hygge.

PicfxFile (1).jpg

Resolutions? Bah. Never really works out for me. No one needs a huge list of goals at the beginning of the year set with great intentions but then becomes some odd to-do list and you feel like a failure when you don’t do something so you give up altogether (yes, that was a long run-on, I don’t care). Keep it short and simple. I just have a word.

Five years ago, my word of 2013 was light.
Four years ago, my word of 2014 was release.
Three years ago, my word of 2015 was nourish.
Two years ago, my word for 2016 was presence.
This past year, my word for 2017 was authentic.

This year? The word for 2018 will be HYGGE.

To me, HYGGE is

  1. slowing down. taking a breath. calm.
  2. togetherness. community. connecting.
  3. thankfulness. embracing the small things.
  4. coziness. warmth.
  5. well-being. happiness. health.
  6. comfort. peace. being. simplicity.
  7. all these things rolled up into one word.

There are two things about 2018’s word that are different than my previous words:

  • It’s not an English word. It’s actually Danish. But, who cares.
  • It’s somewhat of a trendy word. But I just heard of it a month ago. I’ve stopped caring what people think (can you tell??), so what if it’s a trendy word. I like it. And I think it encompasses just what I need.

I also have a secondary word: intention. Within this hygge [pronounced “hoo-geh”] year, I want to include a specific purpose, and intention behind everything I do. Really connect with others. Pay attention. Manage time better. Waste less time on things that don’t matter.

2017 was an incredible stressful year for us. Actually, the end of 2017 added a lot more stress (hello, everything breaking and tight finances) and we rang in the new year on a somewhat icky note (stress and sick). I really need to let go, calm down, and find peace again. I carry a lot on my shoulders and it really weighs me down. I am not myself.

In 2018, I need less electronics, less stress, less mess, less worry, less distraction, less debt. I crave more community, more candlelit evenings, more writing, more bread dipped in olive oil, more wine, more cake, more time with those in my life, more Jesus.

Time for hygge. Cheers.