you don't need to live there

IMG_3103Tuesday was an off day. It was just weird. And truthfully, there was no reason for those feelings. I have so many good things on the horizon. Like a conference in Chicago [tomorrow!], a flight to San Francisco on Friday to head on to Australia; a trip we've been planning for over a year now.

And we’re finally able to do it. I am so excited, truly.

It was also one of those perfect Fall days. It was glorious really. I had a morning all to myself to write and cook and clean.

Can you see my hesitation to be honest when folks asked, “How are you?! Aren’t you SO excited?”

Yes, yes I am. I feel abundantly blessed and completely undeserving. But if you leaned a little closer and really had the time to sit and stay a while, I would have said, “I feel a little insecure today. And I don’t really know why.”

I would’ve told you I felt like a bad friend, like maybe folks were going to desert me. I felt like I was back in elementary school and the only one not invited to Susie’s birthday.

I would have told you a complete stranger asking about Chinese food was the sweetest interaction I had all day.

I'll explain.

Two women were asking another lady if there was a Chinese restaurant close by. They were so cute and sweet and so excited to share a meal together. I jumped in and provided another option - a sushi place at the other end, since Chinese food was nowhere to be found.

I quickly apologized for being nosey and interrupting. As I clearly eavesdropped on their conversation while walking by. Something I NEVER do.........

The lady asking looked at me with bright eyes and a warm grin, “What? NO! You are PERFECT. And we just so appreciate you for it!”

Perfect? Me?

I know she wasn’t really saying that to me, rather to the information I provided but for some strange reason, it was exactly, EXACTLY what I needed to hear at that moment on that day.

Because if I am being honest, on that perfect, blue sky, sunny day I felt like I was losing, like maybe I was failing. I felt so small and insecure.

I felt like old wounds, memories from the past were creeping to the surface and seeping into my day and trying to steal all the joy. They were sneaking in and making me believe things that weren’t true.

Have you had that happen, friend?

We heal from past bruises but I’m not sure if we ever really forget them.

Like, I'll never forget how my best friend from first to third grade picked on me daily. And how I just wanted her to like me so bad that I took it. I took the mean words and awful looks because being beside her, having someone to play with at recess, was better than being alone.

I can’t forget that time in the bathroom. How the girls I spent most of my time with were talking about me. I put my feet up in the stall and pretended I wasn’t there so I could hear those awful, mean words.

I’ll never forget being told, “Yeah, I know we were friends yesterday and the day before. But I have a new best friend now."

Over and over again.

I know, out loud, this might seem foolish and silly. You might be thinking, “That was so long ago. Kids are mean. Get over it.”

And I don't say these things to have you join a pity party with me. As painful as those moments were I am fully aware some folks had it way harder. My heart aches for those stories.

And I am grateful for what those moments taught me. You better believe I have a zero tolerance for bullying and unkind words and will tell you about that.

I am grateful I notice the person standing by themselves or hiding by a wall at a party. My husband giggles at the way I smile at people when they walk into public spaces, like a coffee shop or gym, it's not even my home.

But something in me wants that person to feel like they are welcome here.

The truth is, when we dig real deep to those parts of our insides, the ones we don’t always want to see, we realize so many of our insecurities in the now, are a result of those times long ago.

In so many ways, I am still that little girl begging for other people’s approval. I still want to belong, be accepted just as I am and fear so much that a friend will find someone better.

And Tuesday, for reasons unknown to me, felt like that.

But Wednesday feels a heck of a lot brighter.

So maybe you needed to hear its okay if today’s weird. Maybe, you needed to hear – you are more than who you've been.

You are more than what’s happened to you.

And despite our culture shouting, just get over it – pull your boot straps up and keep on trucking. Sometimes, all we need is to feel the muck and sit in it for a little.

We don't have to live there. But we do need to visit once in a while.

Sometimes we need to hear we’re perfectly enough just as we are. We don’t need an upgrade or filter or shinier model.

You’re winning dear one, even if you feel like a total failure on a Tuesday. And those things that happened to you – it’s okay if you aren’t over it. It’s okay if you're still working on it. You take your time friend. You take all the time you need.

I’ll be here waiting on the other side.


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?"


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?