More with less

IMG_2979 There's been a common theme lately, a constant word and phrase hovering above my conversations. Sometimes the word is said loud and clear, other times it's merely a head nod or look; a shared, quiet language that says, "You’re feeing that way too?"

Less.

We want to commit less.

We want to say no more.

We want to make room for God to shake things up and open our eyes to the people we've been planted beside.

We want to lighten our loads and not feel an ounce of guilt for it.

I think that's the tug of war here, the constant fight in our hearts. Can I grant myself permission to say no even when someone or something wants me to say yes?

And I think there is power in listening to that fight within, the roar or grumble beneath. There is power in recognizing our own limits and boundaries and choosing to honor and celebrate them, rather than apologize for it.

We won't be it all dear one. We just can't. We won’t be the best wife or mother or friend or coworker, all the time.

We won’t always have the right words to say. I have to say this one on repeat.

And reminding ourselves of this, gently, is a good thing.

How freeing is it to let go perfection? To put our measuring stick away and trust that someone else's successes means good things could be coming our way too.

It just might not be today.

Today, your more might mean being faithful in the little.

It might be simple and quiet. It might be without any glamour or shine. But it’ll be good; it’ll be full of purpose and meaning.

And it's so hard to wait. It's so hard to unclench our fists and surrender control. I struggle with this one daily because we live in a world of more. We live in a time of excel, achieve, build your platform, work over time, wake up early.

Walk really fast.

And sometimes these things are good. There is a season for early mornings and late nights. There is a season to be challenged and stretched to new limits. It's energizing and empowering to dream big and wide, to constantly be looking for ways to be better, to love more fully, to extend more grace, to open our home.

But I think a really important question to ask is this: am I using "busy" as a crutch?

Do I surrender, bow down, lift up my hands to "busy"?

Put plainly, do I measure my own worth by how full my calendar is? Have I let "busy" become an idol?

If I am being honest dear one, if I really let you in to the deepest, insecure parts of my heart, I’d say yes, I do those things because busy is comfortable.

It's all I've known and seen.

It's more comfortable to fill every square inch with something, anything, rather than sit alone at a coffee shop with a journal and phone turned off.

But busy comes at a cost, right?

When we say yes - always, when we open our door - always, when we commit and volunteer and raise our hand first - always, we fail to give our body, mind, and spirit permission to practice mindfulness and intention.

And I know those words get tossed around a lot. They sound pretty and sweet but what do they even mean?

To me, they mean savoring the cup of coffee in my hands, feeling the warmth from the mug press into my palms, the softness of the rim as I take a slow, steady sip.

It means looking at another person, really looking at them, and honoring the space you are in - a coffee shop, waiting room, or grocery store checkout line and recognizing that this moment is big, it's huge, it isn't small and insignificant.

It means listening with all that I am so you know you’re story, all the bits and pieces matter. That it’s a story worth sharing.

It means doing less to leave room for creativity. The best ideas need space to breath and foster. They need long walks and evenings at home making soup and stories around a campfire.

I don't want to miss what could happen because I'm too busy planning what should.

What about you friend? Are you in a season of busy? How are you finding ways to practice intention and being present?

xoxo

choosing to stay

table It was over coffee with a sweet friend, a few months ago now, when she looked me square in the eye, as honest and real as could be and said, "Maeve, I just left and went for a drive. I had to go."

This friend was a recently married twenty something too. We were sharing the sweet parts but also the challenges. The whole sharing your life, your world, your mess with another person - every. single. day.

And sometimes that vulnerability can be too much. You just want to run. Not all together, just from the feelings you can't fully articulate, the arguments you really don't feel like rehashing, the moments of having to swallow your pride and say - I'm sorry.

Intimate relationships aren't the only place we run. It's in other places too. When our jobs make us frustrated and tired and we lack a sense of purpose or belonging. When friends let us down. When we see photos on social media of folks laughing and sipping fancy cocktails and think - why wasn't I invited?

(In comes that tiny voice in my head // because, you don't know them, Maeve.)

Sometimes we run from God. We run when bad things happen to good people and we can't help but ask - "If you're the God I know and love, how could you?"

I know these feelings. I know the feeling of white knuckles wrapped around a steering wheel, with pursed lips and a heavy heart. I think there is a need to run in all of us. The desire to drive down a windy country road held between farms and rolling green hills.

When I drive, going nowhere in particular, it's as if the open space hugging the road is hugging me too. And sometimes that's good. Sometimes taking a walk or going for a drive when life feels heavy is good.

But sometimes staying is better.

Because when we run - when we always flee, it's so hard to build community. It's rather hard to build anything, actually. It's hard to develop deep, honest, raw relationships right where you are.

It's hard to look your soul in the mirror and get to know the parts that make you tick or passionate or bitter.

plates

The goodness of staying is always made more real and true when people gather around my table.

Suddenly I want to unpack my things and not buy a one-way ticket. Suddenly I savor the interruptions and inconveniences. I celebrate evening walks during the summer, early morning coffee dates, and watching the rain fall on my front stoop.

Staying means telling the person to your right how you see God moving in and through them. Telling them why you find them beautiful and amazing just as they are.

Telling them - thank you for staying. I'm sure some days you might want to run - from the responsibilities and expectations. But you didn't today, you chose to stay.

basil

Staying means rubbing basil leaves between my fingers and bringing my hands up close to my nose and smelling the sweet fragrance of God's earth. And thanking the hard-working, calloused hands who picked the basil I stir in my curry.

Staying is my neighbor who works two part time jobs to feed and clothe her kids.

Staying is four dear friends who wake up extra early on Wednesdays to have coffee.

Staying means loving another person more deeply than you could have ever know. Even on the days they annoy the heck out of you. And chances are, you are annoying the heck out of them.

Staying is an art and a fight. It's bitter and it's sweet. It's choosing to show up on the days you'd rather stay in bed. It's choosing to marvel over the shapes of the clouds and sound of the rain.

It's choosing not to give up hope on this one, glorious, messy, creative life.

What's staying look like to you friend? Does it comes easy or does it hurt? Share below. I'd LOVE to hear from you.

xoxo