Wow. Well, it's been a while since my last post. Sometimes life just gets going at a good pace, and it gets harder to notice the things worth writing about. Or maybe it gets harder to remember to write about them when all I feel like doing at the end of the day is watching Downton Abbey and eating too many cookies.
Plus, writer's block doesn't help.
I've been feeling for a while that something is off with how I'm doing life. I've felt this nagging that there is a better way than the one I am choosing. I've been given this good life, but it is seeming more and more that I am viewing it wrong.
I've been practicing photography, and I guess I could compare what I feel with taking a photo. You have this scene, and it's lovely and the people in your shot have beaming smiles and the sunlight is laying perfect and soft on everything. So you snap the photo, but when you look at it later you realize that the people are out of focus and that random bush in the corner of your shot is crisp and clear. Awesome.
Not really what you were going for.
Life is like that sometimes for me. I realize that I have been focusing my energy and my thoughts on something entirely unimportant while the main subject gets treated like the background. My brain feels kind of like it's on autofocus a little bit. And maybe it's time for me to switch to manual.
I'll get really real for a minute so you know what I'm talking about. We have another baby on the way, and what has been occupying my thoughts the most are things. Just so many things that I all of a sudden feel like I have to have for this baby. Like a quilt blanket and a baby wrap and a little sloth lovey I found on Etsy that is ridiculously cute, but, self, is this really top priority? And then I get a little obsessive about this stuff because it sells out and I become stressed, seriously stressed, that I won't be able to buy it before the baby comes.
And also. There is this IKEA dresser for which I have been stalking (stalking!) Craigslist every day and night to find, and it's taking longer than I thought for the right one to pop up. I feel like I am online dating a dresser. Like I am Tindering a dresser.
And it shames me to say that these precious gems of thoughts are the ones literally keeping me up at night.
I mean for the love (thanks, Jen Hatmaker) of all that is good, someone help me stop the insanity.
One of my friends was encouraging me to find out why I give so much attention to things that don't really deserve it. Because I do this with other things, too. Like Instagram and Pinterest and seeking approval from complete strangers and finding identity in what I do instead of who I am and also seeking that feeling of validation from having a pretty house and nice things.
I'm just trying to take this lovely photo, but I can't stop focusing on that bush in the corner. I'm trying to make my life good and full and meaningful, but I'm focusing on all the wrong ways.
I think searching for the root of why I do this is so hard. But I'm going to try.
There are needs in me that are good. God has put them there because they are things that He values, too.
To behold and appreciate beauty. God made things well and artful and lovely. It brings glory to Him when we appreciate those things.
To feel needed and accepted for who I am. God created us with a longing to be known and to know and to be loved.
To discover newness and excitement. Our souls are deep, and God is deeper. He made us to seek His ways, to find the joy and elation that comes to our souls when we discover something new about Him and about what He created.
To desire perfection. God intended for things to be perfect, to be right, to make sense and to fit together well.
So really, He is the source of all that I'm longing for. It centers around Him. I'm not going to be fulfilled by any of these other things if He is not there in them, too. But at the same time, it's impossible to fully achieve any of these things in this life.
What does this even mean?
I think maybe it means seeking out the things in life that we know God loves to dwell in. Instead of spending hours scrolling through photos of stuff to buy for a baby or used dressers or just pretty photos, maybe I should turn ever so slightly to my husband and my daughter playing on the floor and join them in their giggle fest. Maybe instead of sliding my finger up and down the screen of my phone for half an hour before I go to sleep, I could read something uplifting. Or I could send a thoughtful text to a friend I know could use one.
And I think it also means that when they are in their proper place (not the focus of the photo) then it's ok to want to cultivate beauty and to be prepared with nice things for a baby and to make a house more homey by adorning it. That way when we don't exactly achieve perfection in all of these areas, we are ok.
Our souls are ok because we have been feeding them good things for the main course instead of things that only look good.
Just some struggles and some thoughts to go with them.
Easier said than done to do all this sometimes, but it's still a worthy effort to try.
What kinds of things do you do to feed your soul well?
"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." -Matthew 11:28-30