Well hey there, Thursday. It’s been a full week somehow…there are literally not enough hours in the day. Oh, how I wish I could simply skip sleep sometimes. But then again, what would I do? Just watch a few more movies? There’s only so much time one can dedicate their brains to working and side projects before running out of energy and productivity. So, I guess sleep is good. Let’s stop this babbling and get on to the good stuff…
1. Sometimes what’s “broke” don’t need fixin’ …just love. The vacuum cleaner I thought was broken for…uhm, months….turned out to just need a little extra TLC. Isn’t that just the analogy for everything in life? Okay, it needed a LOT of TLC. In the four and a half years of owning it, we’ve replaced a few parts but apparently never cleared out the hose. Here’s a gross display of everything I’ve ever tried to clean out of our house but instead just stored in the bottom of our vacuum…the hubby called it the “dust rings of our marriage”.
2. Remember to make due with what you’ve got. Last week we both battled some sort of cold/sore throat/allergies/virus–who knows what. We also had a little gig to play at the end of the week. Practice was weak, the hubby had a little loss of voice scare and we even tried to figure out a plan B…but somehow we made it through the end of the night. All things considered, I thought it went pretty well. It’s easy to get stuck on things when an obstacle is right in front of you, but the trick is to not limit yourself by your own fears of a potential problem. I’m constantly trying to remind myself that–not always succeeding, but definitely going to keep on trying.
3. Keep asking what inspires you. Maybe that’s through an interesting video, encouraging poster or a collection of quotes and images on tumblr. Maybe for you that means reading the thoughts of others in blogs or books, listening to a great podcast, attending a presentation or admiring the craftsmanship and artwork of a completed project. Don’t worry about what particular form your inspiration comes in (as long as it is excellent/encouraging/true), but continue to pursue it–continue to be inspired. Make a habit out of seeking out inspiration and surround yourself with it for motivation. We all need that extra encouragement and excitement so we can create and do things to inspire the next person.
This week’s three comes to you from my dark little house as it thunders and lightnings (?) outside. Don’t worry, my power is still on…I just somehow feel like a power outage is less frightening if the lights are already off. I know, I’m weird. My sleep was so rudely interrupted last night by much thunder and lightning, so I rather appreciate the dark at the moment anyway.
1. Rainy days will come. Is it just me or do we forget the rain that comes with spring? As soon as the sun is shining, the birds start singing and a flower pops up from the ground I am so eager to declare, “spring is here!” It’s as if happiness can start again with the fresh season. But then there’s the rain and startling thunderstorms that remind me that growth takes both sunny days and rainy ones (why there has to be thunder, I’ll never really know). Thunderstorms late at night feel especially ominous, and I’m not sure if it’s just my memories of bailing out hundreds of gallons of water in our basement or because it feels like the sky is falling therefore things won’t go quite as “planned.” We can’t control the weather, just like we can’t control so many things in our life. That’s a hard pill to swallow (and I am the worst at swallowing pills…takes at least three gulps of water).
If you were able to follow all of the times I went back and forth between literal and metaphorical just now, I commend you. The point is, we have good days among a season of bad ones and bad days in a season of good. We are given no guarantees as to what life will bring.
2. Sometimes you have an awesome day or moment and no pictures to show for it. I had a couple of good days and moments this week: time with lovely friends, long walks in the city, an impromptu doughnut run and tennis with the hubby. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.
3. Easter brings a lot of emotion. There are so many cute kids in dress clothes (sometimes even in bonnets!) hunting for eggs and baskets. The churches are full and people eat ham. But without all that, Easter might feel like just another day. Except it’s not. It’s not about pastel colors or brunch or sugar-covered marshmallows. Easter is about redemption. That’s what brings me joy.
Have you ever felt like your day was completely crammed? And at the end of the day you were totally exhausted? What if someone asked you right then to do more?
Do more with your life. Make it matter. Make an impact.
There are days when that request sounds near impossible. I feel maxed out and unsure of what more I have to offer. I feel so useless and defeated in that moment. It seems futile, so I resort to just doing what I know.
Doing what I know feels so safe. Sometimes even meaningless. I know how to write. I know how to connect people. I know how to organize details. Those are things I do, and do regularly.
Here’s what I’ve found: doing what you know CAN allow you to do more. I do those things anyway, right? So why not do them for the benefit of someone else? Why not take those strengths and skills and make them mean something? I can take my natural tendencies and channel them in a way that helps someone, encourages, supports, loves.
Suddenly, I am doing more with my life, making it matter and making an impact.
It’s not always about the time or the length of the to-do list. Doing more does not necessarily mean adding more stress or checkmarks. Doing more can simply mean doing what you do in a more meaningful way.
Have you ever felt like you were chasing to find yourself? Or have you ever observed someone at a transitional time in life and thought, “they are just confused and trying to find themselves”?
We grasp for the things that are in front of us. The things that seem obvious or come most easy. The things that others have that we want. Or even, the things others want that we can achieve.
TV exhibits celebrities and stars of all forms, and we wonder how they got to be so special. Much of society suggests that we “find ourselves” in college, be it by binge drinking or by hitting the books. Flinging ourselves at fleeting moments of opportunity or striking rich overnight seems to not only be the goal, but also the method of success in society.
Maybe we’re trying to find ourselves in all of the wrong places. What if finding yourself really meant continuing to work hard and make a life for yourself where you already are? Instead of the what or the where, think more of the core truths. Perhaps questioning the values and notions we hold most dear, both now and ten years from now, will lead us to who we are today.
I often think back to decisions I made in the past. The way I handled relationships with people. Jobs I did or didn’t take. My response to a crisis or to a triumph. Then I often ask that question–“what if?” What if I had said it this way or done it that way? I spend way too much time thinking and dwelling on mere moments as if something else will happen if turn it over in my mind again and again. Hollywood loves this sort of stuff –back to the future, travel through time–whatever it is to explore these types of fantasies.
But what if your “what if” moment is right now? What if this is your opportunity for adventure, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, risk and faith? I’m not saying to live every moment as if it were your last, that would mean we’d overindulge ourselves and take nothing else into consideration. What I mean is, what if right now is that opportunity, that mere moment you’ve been waiting for? So you have it, here it is, this is your chance. Now what are you going to do with it?
Think for a moment–this, this is your life right now as you breathe in and out. This is what it’s “supposed to” look like (it’s not perfection and perhaps it’s even downright wrong…but this is what it is right now, so stop getting caught up in the “supposed to”). Maybe we had plans for something else, but whatever is happening right now is actually what it is. This is the moment to respond to, not a time in the past that is long gone or an idealized future that may never come.
In the bustle and flurry of all that is happening, sometimes it’s easy to drown out the big. The big truths, big values, big goals. To be honest, sometimes I’m glad for it. I don’t want to be stuck with quiet and big thoughts looming. Those big things can lead to huge life change or coping with hurts I don’t know how to handle.
While being too busy can overwhelm me, being without enough to do often scares me more.
So then I fill my plate back up again. I ignore the signs that tell me to slow down. To rest. To realize when I’m taking on more than I need to without good reason. Then I’m running (figuratively speaking…I hate actual running) nonstop so that by the time I crawl into bed at night I’m too exhausted to think. Instead of finding self, I’m practically avoiding it.
The world is not about me. My own life isn’t even totally about me. Finding self is not supposed to be a selfish endeavor. I’m not trying to encourage a “me, me, me” culture. But knowing who you are is a starting point. You need to know your downfalls as well as your strengths. It helps you to understand why you do the things you do and why you react to certain things and how to take care of yourself.
As much as I sometimes try to avoid it, wrestling with thoughts and struggles has a certain value to it. It’s how you learn and grow. It’s when you resolve the inner turmoil that’s building and spilling out into your everyday life. It’s then that you realize you can’t do it all. You need the community of people around you. And it’s most when I realize I need God to get me through this life.
Find the time to work through these questions and thoughts and truths. Because these big things matter.
As a continuation of my series about moving, here’s a little lesson on breaking the news. If you missed earlier posts in the series you can check them out here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
It all feels like a dream until you start telling people. It should feel like a dream for a little while. Dream away. Because once you start spreading the news, people will have questions and even more so, they will have comments. For instance, one friend told us we were crazy, to our faces and then walked away. Someone seemed to hardly find it interesting and kept talking about how good their soup was. Others were shocked and said very little, but some immediately celebrated with us and for us. We just never knew how someone would respond.
So, think through what your plan is and then tell people in stages, starting with those closest to you. I had talked about the desire to move for years, so to some it was not much of a surprise. For others, sharing the news about a move can seem monumental to those first hearing about it. It’s important to get some feedback along the way though, which is why it is helpful to share it with those you trust and love first. The more you share your plans and story, the more you will get a better idea of just what you are about to do means to you.
Further, don’t just think about what your plan is but have an actual plan. Without it, people will quickly tire of this “official” stage when you haven’t yet hit the “it’s really happening” stage.
Somewhat contrary to what I just said, here is the order in which my husband and I broke the news.
Landlord (our lease required a 60-day notice, but otherwise, he was not the closest person in our lives)
Close friends (limited details)
Close friends (extensive details)
Commitments (i.e. utility company, volunteer organizations, bands, book club)
The order of your list might be different but it is good to consider what your timeline will be based on your comfort and your responsibilities.
Have you had to break the news about a move? How did you do it and how did it go?