Guys, we’re officially only 18 days away from Spring!
Could we BE any more excited?
(And while we’re doing our best Chandler Bing, can we please talk about this new Friends reboot? Or reunion? I don’t know, I’m still confused about what it all means, but how pumped are we for this?! We were “on a break” for too many years and we are ready for more Ross & Rachel. Yes. HappyThankYouMorePlease.)
But we’re not here to talk about Friends.
We’re here, because February just ended and Spring is around the corner and I find that these transitional times can get a bit wonky if I don’t pause to reflect a little and get my bearings.
This Winter was all about simpler, slower, and smaller for me. I felt God inviting me into a season of getting low and quiet. Of pushing back on the noise and the busyness of life so I could actually hear his voice and my own desires again.
I recently found myself facing some big decisions around my vocational life and it turns out these are the kinds of questions you can’t rush, so it’s been a season of accepting arrows instead of clear answers, of turning inward toward each other as a family, and of clearing the decks of extra distractions so we can pursue a “less, but better” mentality.
I don’t mean we’re going to sell all our stuff and live off the grid or anything. I just mean that we’re really taking stock of what’s important to us and deciding we reserve the right to pivot in some areas. Nate turned 40 this month and I guess it really got us thinking about the second act of life and what it would look like for us to live it wholeheartedly.
Below is a list of 10 things I learned this Winter.
Maybe it’ll help as you reflect on what you’re loving, learning, and letting go of in your own life lately.
|10 THINGS I LEARNED THIS WINTER:|
1. How I want to walk into a room.
I’ve thought a lot about this lately and I’ve landed on these 4 things: CALM. CONFIDENT. KIND. OPEN. Sometimes I do this well and sometimes I get caught in some partial version of myself that’s either playing too small or too big but is definitely playing to the opinions of others.
2. I can (and must) approve of my own self. Speaking of the opinions of others, have I mentioned that I’m a recovering people-pleaser? For most of my life I’ve sought out, worked hard for, and maybe even needed the approval of other people. And not just some people. We’re talking, like, ALL the people. As you might imagine that didn’t work out, so I’ve taken some bumps and bruises to the ol’ ego, but it’s helped me understand that the only approval I really need is God’s, my own, and maybe a small handful of the people I actually do life with. The rest is just distraction.
3. Michael Jackson’s Rock With You will get our whole family dancing, preeeetty much every time. Feel free to borrow this song, on loan from the Salhus’, next time you or your people are in clear and present danger of a bad mood.
4. Just because I’m good at something doesn’t mean I’m supposed to do it forever. As a writer, podcaster, fitness coach, and regular human woman juggling marriage, motherhood, and feeding these dang people THREE times EVERY day, sometimes I forget that I get to choose where to focus my energy. I don’t have to do all the things all the time, and I certainly don’t have to do them forever and ever.
5. What kind of book I want to write. This one might be too tender to expand on yet. But let’s just say that for a very long time I labored over a book proposal and what came out onto the page during that process is not what I expected. I’m not saying it was BAD, or that I don’t believe in it’s message, or even that I don’t want to write it. It’s just… different that what I envisioned. I’ve always wanted to write an upbeat, punchy, humor-with-heart, book of essays to encourage women like myself who are figuring out how to balance all their roles while staying true to themselves & close to God. The only problem there, is that most publishers aren’t interested in light, essay style books with ambiguous themes written by non famous people. So I don’t know where that leaves me, but I’m grateful for this recently clearer knowledge of the kind of writing I am interested in. That’s something.
6. I am not in a rush because I am not behind. (See article #5 for context). Clarity can’t be rushed, practice takes time, and I am not going to miss out on a future God has for me. Listen, I might never write a book, and that doesn’t make me any less of a writer. I might need a lot more years of living and writing until a book makes sense. Or maybe it’ll happen this year. CLEARLY I DO NOT KNOW, but I’m beginning to think the point might be a lot more about who I become in the process than the actual product of a book. All I do know is, I am not in a rush because I am not behind. As our friend and soul-guru Emily P. Freeman says, “Your pace is your pace is your pace.”
7. Taco Bell is only good when you eat it there, because by the time you get it home all the foods have become one texture. Related: the spicy tostada is def worth your 99 cents. Shannan Martin turned me on to this hidden gem of the menu and my orders will never be the same.
8. Unnamed narratives have been bogging me down. Whether it’s a friendship that’s shifted but I haven’t admitted it to myself yet, a fear that I’m pretending to ignore, or a question I’m carrying, simply NAMING THE THING helps lighten the weight of it. I realized this Winter, after agonizing at length over a couple of friendships, that most of my distress stemmed from holding on to what the relationships used to be instead of accepting them for what they are now. This small mindset shift was incredibly healing and freeing. I wish I’d have realized this much sooner, but I suppose we just don’t know what we don’t know.
9. A clean house is magic for my mojo. Look, I’m a pretty clean person. I clean when I’m happy, nervous, or mad and you can usually tell which mood I’m in by how aggressively I vacuum. But every once in a while I go into some kind of deep cleaning fugue state where I can. not. stop. until the whole house is overhauled. I gave in the power of the fugue last week and I cannot even begin to express the amount of deep seated joy my heart feels at the knowledge that every room, every drawer, and every cabinet in this house is clean. It’s not just the nice, pleasant, peaceful brand of joy, it’s like straight up giddy happiness.
10. We are in a major-on-the-majors and minor-on-the-minors stage of parenting. Our kids are 13 and 10, which means we’ve transitioned from wiping their noses and bums and trying to keep them away from a hot stove into you know, actually preparing them to move through the world without us. I’ve sensed a shift happening in how we parent them and what we fuss over. I’ll always aim for a clean room and a “yes maam” response, but the truth I’m slowly coming to terms with, is that our job is no longer just to manage their behaviors, our job is to fight for and shepherd their HEARTS because the behaviors will flow from there. No pressure or anything.
That’s it! That’s my list! I’d love to know what you’re learning this winter!