So I’m technically supposed to be “resting” right now…
Last night I Voxered my podcast partner, Alana all about how I was going to take this whole entire day to really and truly rest (something I’m not particularly good at).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m great at the kind of “resting” that looks like hitting snooze on the alarm, scrolling Instagram, zoning out, writing to-do lists in my mind, and getting low grade anxiety about all the things on that list.
But I’m NOT great at the kind of rest that looks like actually shutting it all down, taking a deep breath, being present in my body, in my surroundings, and in my heart with God. I think what spurred the dramatic claim for a Rest Day was the moment of panic I had yesterday when I realized it’s nearly November.
Is it just me or does it feel like school started roughly 5 minutes ago?
I make no secret about the fact that it takes our family an embarrassingly long amount of time to find our rhythm in transitional seasons.
I used to fight this funk but now I know better.
I used to expect Week 1 of school to look like a fridge stocked full with fresh cut veggies, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies and a pleasant/present mother when the kids walk in the door from school, like an immediate and productive re-entry into my creative work (you know, all the projects that sat untouched for the summer), and a healthy dinner on the table at 5:30 sharp.
(Really, I can be so hilarious sometimes.)
What it actually winds up looking like is a perpetually unfinished deep-clean of the pantry (WHY I always feel the need to Spring Clean my home in the Fall is beyond me. Questions for God, I guess).
It looks like a frazzled mom who can’t seem to wake up early enough to have her coffee before packing the lunches, like tired kids who are wrecking off by 6 pm because of all the new excitement, it looks like distraction in the afternoon because I struggled all morning to reclaim my writing groove, which ultimately led to existential questions about whether I’m a hack or a fraud or an imposter… It looks like a low grade sense of overwhelm, and a lot of fast food because “someone” forgot to thaw the meat in the freezer in time for dinner.
If you need a visual example, this is me in real life VS me in my expectations.
Maybe I’m making us sound like a real disaster of a family, but we’re not, I promise.
I’m just being honest.
Transitions are tricky.
So I’m working hard these days to resist my natural tendency towards pressure to hurry up and be amazing at all the things right out of the gate.
Maybe this is an enneagram thing?
I wonder, because it seems to affect all areas of my life. I sit at this corner of constantly aiming higher, trying new things, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone all while harshly critiquing my performance before I’ve even finished a thing.
As an enneagram 4 (Creative/Romantic) I have a deep-seated need & desire to create and put art out into the world but the 3 (Performer) in me always wants to do well (even when it’s something new to me) and I put heaps of pressure on myself, worry about what other people think, and basically tie myself up in knots half the time.
The struggle is real.
Speaking of new things, as I’ve ventured into the world of podcasting this Fall I’ve found it to be fun, thrilling, joy-filled, and also TERRIFYING.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to an episode and audibly yelled to myself (and an otherwise empty room) “Argh! Just shut up Salhus!” -I call myself Salhus when I want to be tough.
I wish I was already a pro at this, but I’m not. There’s a learning curve and I’m on the beginning of it. But you know what? I’m following the love.
I’m following it because I feel like there’s a message that’s been churning in my heart for a few years now. It’s the kind of thing that will wake up me up at night, tap me on the shoulder during a church service, make me tear up at random, and drive me to my computer and keyboard when I’d rather be watching Netflix.
Basically it won’t leave me alone.
I know, so annoying.
I tried to wrestle the message into a book proposal. Well I DID, actually. (This was a very long and winding process, in case you’re wondering, and if you must know, it’s still twisting off into new directions and refusing to be nailed down in any kind of linear or concrete way.) In my creative naivety, I expected that process to be much quicker and cleaner and when it wasn’t I got frustrated. At times I tried to force it, at other times I tried to ignore it, and even a few times I grew weary of the work and let it sit untouched for months.
Ultimately I’ve learned to live with it as a potentially eternal work-in-progress.
The thing is, I know that creativity is equal parts work and play.
I know this in my knower.
But sometimes I forget to remember it in my heart.
When we get bogged down in the work, sometimes it’s okay to follow the love instead.
What happened for me, is the love for this message led me into a whole new avenue of work- talking! My specialty!
Y’all know brevity has never been my strong suit and I’ve truly never met a silence I couldn’t fill, so when Alana came along (an event I thank God for daily) and invited me to join her in this podcast dream of hers- this desire to encourage women to uncover and pursue their passions in the middle of motherhood and their right-now, messy lives- something inside me lept because YES! It lies so close to the heartbeat of that message that won’t leave me alone. Because I truly believe that when we wake up to our talents, gifts, and dreams- when we begin to lean in to our creative self and to share it with the world, something magical and even spiritual happens.
Since we started podcasting together I’ve felt more encouraged and energized creatively than I have in a long time.
But… that doesn’t mean that I also haven’t been super hard on myself every step of the way.
Yesterday we had a batch recording day with 4 interviews back to back. It’s more than we’d usually take on in one day, but it randomly worked out that way so we just rolled with it. Everything was going smoothly until my power went out MID-interview and effectively shut me down. I had to think quick, so I hopped on my cell phone (all the praise hands for 4G) and we kept rolling until my dogs started barking incessantly, causing terrible feedback in our recording. I could give you more details but it was basically a comedy of errors for about an hour until we eventually regrouped and finished out our day.
In some kind of twist of God and fate our next interview was with Adriel Booker (love you, Adriel! and if you’re reading this, please give Frankie the dog a big smooch for me) and when we asked her the same question we ask of all our guests, about the one piece of advice they’d give to our listeners struggling to begin their creative work, her answer was just what my heart needed: She said,
“Don’t be afraid to go wrong!”
Can we please take a time out and chew on that for a minute?
How often do we sideline ourselves simply out of fear of failure?
Whether in our health and fitness, in our creative work, in our professional lives, our relationships…
How often do we hang back from what we truly want to reach for simply because we MIGHT NOT succeed?
How ridiculous! How downright insane! Because we DEFINITELY won’t get there if we don’t even try!
I mean, at least in the trying we’re giving ourselves a flying chance, right?
I’m not exactly sure how to tie this letter up with a sweet and funny anecdote. Maybe I’m a little rusty in my writing.
All I know is this- as excited as I am about the podcast (I’m really, really excited, btw. Did I tell you that? I am. It’s so fun.) I also really miss you guys.
I miss sitting down, letting the words tumble onto the page, and sending them off to you. I miss it because it makes me feel alive. For whatever reason God saw fit to wire me to process and contribute to the world in this way. But transitions are tricky and I haven’t found my rhythm yet, or discovered how to fit both of these creative passions into the same work week.
So today my rest looks like writing a letter to you because it fills my cup.
It looks like reminding us both that it’s okay to get it wrong sometimes.
It’s okay to keep showing up to ourselves and our dreams, even when we don’t knock it out of the park on the first try.
Even when it takes way longer than we thought it would.
It’s okay to follow the love, to keep practicing, and to give it room to breathe.
It’s okay to pivot, to take steps so small they’re nearly indiscernible, and to learn the art of waiting well.
Yesterday in between podcast recordings I was in my kitchen prepping veggies for the week (because hey, it might have taken me two months but I’m finally getting the hang of that this school year!) and listening to Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing Podcast. If you haven’t listened, do yourself a favor and download that shizz immediately.
To borrow a quote from You’ve Got Mail, I always joke that Emily has “152 insights into my soul”. Her work has always mattered to my work, but this podcast episode in particular (#56 Focus On One) had me softly crying into my chopped bell peppers. (Also apparently I am a verbal processor of podcasts, because when I listen to myself I always talk back and scold, but when I listen to Emily I always chuckle and yell, “Get out of my head Emily Freeman!” Anyone else do this? No? Just me? Okay, nevermind.)
Anyway, she was talking about carrying and fostering a dream that feels so big it confuses you. She was saying how sometimes we need help shouldering that dream, how it might change shape on us along the way, and how the ONLY way to reach it is by one tiny step at a time. Steps that feel unsure. Steps that feel confusing. Steps that refuse to keep in time with our expectations.
Whether it’s rest or action, whether you follow the love or the work, I hope your next step becomes clear in just the right time.
Love you guys, mean it.