Lean In

I wrote this last summer. A song on my playlist kept whispering to me as I was out running on my trail. The thoughts and connections wouldn’t stop, so I did. I stopped along the trail, attempted to catch my breath in a million different ways, and started writing in the notes app on my phone.

I’m sure I looked crazy: swaying back and forth, smiling, nodding at the thoughts, watching the water and other runners pass by, letting the words flow through me. Crazy as I may have looked, I know all my words are for a purpose. So, while they have sat in my phone for months, they needed to gently remind me today… Lean in.

I pray that you are blessed by this today, wherever you are in life.


 

When it all hurts and you want to curl up or just run far, don’t. Don’t. Lean in. As hard and as contrary as that sounds, lean in a little bit more.

You don’t have to lean in so far you lose your way. And you don’t have to lean in so far you forget where you started. And don’t lean in so far you lose yourself.

But sit.

Quietly.

Gently leaning closer. Closer to the problem. Closer to the uncomfortable. Closer to the anxiety. Closer to the fear.

Come closer, let me whisper this to you gently my dear one. It’s some sort of fear that’s making you want to run. Some sort of misunderstanding. Some sort of uneasy. Maybe some sort of hurt you’ve caused. I get it. Fear is anxiety producing. Fear is scary. Fear is hurt. Fear makes us want to run.

But don’t run. It will only chase you harder. I know you want to escape it. I know you want to pretend it’s not there. I know some days you want to pretend you’re stronger than the fear. But it will always creep back in until you learn to sit with it. Until you make friends with it. Until you learn to sit in the deep dark with it and understand each other.

Be cautious in this space too. It’s not okay to spill your hurt on other people. Yes, share it with them. Let them in. Hurting people can hurt other people. Don’t mistreat those close to you out of your pain, but let them in to see it.

It’s okay to show up and be vulnerable. I know that’s scary too. Let safe people in to help you. To hold you. To see you. There is something magical when people see you as you really are.

Some days you may feel hollow. Incapable. Trust those days too. They are for a purpose. The hollow is God emptying out the uncertainty. It’s Him emptying out the demands life has placed on you. It’s Him emptying out the doubts others have filled you with.

Empty it all out.

Let it all go.

Let him take it all.

Be hollow.

So that, the divine can fill you with Himself. He is he absence of fear. And when you’re filled with Him, you’ll have the strength to lean into the fear. You’ll have His strength. His power.

Trust this.

And if you don’t know Him and that light, ask Him to show you. Ask Him to show up for you and be vulnerable with you. Ask Him to be all around you, reminding you, revealing Himself to you, comforting you.

Then watch.

Listen.

Hollow.

Be filled. Lean in. Get comfortable with the fear. Let Him work in the fear. Let Him pour in the love until it fills you up and runs over.

Just let go and lean in.

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Surviving the “Off” Days of Life

Do you ever have those days that are just “off”? Nothing seems to work and you don’t even really have the drive to make anything work? A day where it might be better to just call in sick or go back to bed and call it a day? At like, 8:30 in the morning?

Yah. Today was one of those days for me.

I don’t even really know why.

This is what I posted on Instagram when I was in the middle of feeling the yuck:

Ever have one of those days you just want to build a blanket fort with someone then sit in there, listen to good music, let them hold you & tell them everything that’s rolling around in your head & driving you nuts today that you just can’t even human for the day and let them remind you how awesome you are & that you can do hard things. Ya. Today. But human I must. Maybe I’ll make my own fort later. Deep breath… #Icandohardthings

Apparently, I also need to write really long run-on sentences when I’m in the yuck.

And remind myself that I can do hard things.

And give myself some space even when I feel there is no margin.

And take a deep breath and step forward. Even when I really don’t want to.

But that’s what I did.

I took the morning off from work to get some errands done that I knew I wouldn’t get to tonight. I stopped and bought myself a chai tea latte. Because on rainy blanket fort days, chai tea is needed. I also stopped in the middle of my errands and bought myself a new candle to make my no-window-dungeon-office smell like a tropical vacation.

I went to work this afternoon and enjoyed the tropical smells. I sent several emails that needed to be dealt with. I asked for help on a couple video projects. There were ridiculous wardrobe malfunctions, a few times I yelled “CUT” seconds after recording started. I even cursed at the end of one of the videos. That didn’t make the final cut. Oops. But I got them sent off to the right people. And over the next few days several hundred people in the Pacific Northwest will see how ridiculous I am.

I picked up my daughter, let her drive home, made the kiddos some dinner, gave and received some hugs. I also gave grace on their undone projects and responsibilities, because we all need grace. Then I pushed on and worked out, because pull ups and push ups remind me how weak I am, that I still need help, and that ultimately I can do hard things.

That’s the real deal, isn’t it? Sometimes life just comes at you thick and fast. You deal, you process, you take action in the moment because that’s what’s required. Then maybe you just feel completely worn out and weak, like nothing you do matters or has any impact. It’s okay to feel that way sometimes. It’s just not a place to stay. We can do the things that seem hard, we can ask for help, we can get through them. We can learn as we move forward and gain confidence in the process.

Tonight, reflecting back, I realize why I’m worn out today. Why I’m feeling weak. Some things just take a lot of energy and wear me out. Like dealing with fraud on my bank account yesterday, consolidating loans and moving money around, preparing for some upcoming speaking & teaching opportunities, comforting my kids and helping them see their options, interacting with friends and encouraging them even when I feel I have nothing left to give.

And that’s also part of the real deal too. We all have more to give. Even when we don’t think we do.

We know what we need to do, even when we feel the only option is to crawl in a blanket fort.

My good friend, Jen Hatmaker, reminded me of this today. (Okay, so I don’t really know her, but don’t we all like to imagine she’s our best friend?!!) She reminded me that I know what I’m supposed to do when I face a challenging situation.

So, that’s what I did.

I prayed. I read some scripture. I let a few tears fall, because they just leaked out of my head all on their own. (who am I to stop leaking out of my face?!) I got some work done that needed to get done. I asked for help. I asked a friend to pray for me. I laughed. I hugged my kids. I ate some food that was good for me and let my body get some exercise. I listened to some good music. I laughed some more. I wrote this, because I feel better when words spill out of my head.

So that’s my advice for you too when you find yourself having an “off” day. Give yourself some grace, some unexpected margin. Breathe. Pray. Reach out to friends. Do what you know you need to do. Keep moving forward, one baby step at a time, and the hard things will get done.

You are qualified, you are capable, you are amazing.

You’ve got this.

I believe in you.

And at the end of the day, when you see how strong you really are, go build yourself that blanket fort. Just like I’m about to do. ❤

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A Full Breath Moment

I love these moments. A full breath of air and sensing everything around you. Deeply. Completely. Have you ever had one? That small slice of a moment when you are so completely happy and satisfied, letting go of all the negative and drinking in the air deeply, feeling so so alive right at the top of the breath? I let go, exhaling slowly with a huge smile and a little giggle to myself as the air escapes. Knowing full well that I’ll draw in another deep breath and enjoy this space, this time, this moment, for myself.

I have lived with anxiety. Forever. Sometimes small and nagging. A few times crushing in so badly I can’t even breathe. I hate it. I work hard to ignore it. To overcome it.

I’ve also thought deeply for a long time about what a full measure of life looks like. What it might feel like. To feel free and happy and satisfied. I’m here. In this moment. And right now, that’s enough.

There’s a small space in Ephesians 3 that has long stuck with me. It’s the space that tickled in my brain causing me to ponder the full measure. In the prayer for the Ephesians it speaks of grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. To know this love that surpasses knowledge. That you can’t fully explain or comprehend. But you know. You sense. You feel. A moment that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. The full measure.

How do I know what the full measure is? If I hold out a measuring cup, how full? If I hold out my cupped hands, how full? If I place my life in my cupped hands, what matters? What needs to fall away? What remains? What fills my cup and brings me joy?

Joy.

That’s where I want to live.

Joy in the full measure.

I have hit the reset button on my attitude, my life, so many times. Not to completely reinvent myself. But to empty my hands. To reset my intentions and attitudes. To look for more. To claim more of life. To experience more of life. To find joy in life. To let go of old thoughts, patterns of behavior, ingrained beliefs, and even people.

Things that no longer serve me.

That no longer bring me joy.

I’ve been here several times. In these full breath moments.

Here’s what does it for me. Here’s what fills me to that full measure, full breath moment:
Feeling the fear and anxiety, but doing something new anyway. Pushing myself. Getting to the other side and knowing that I am completely capable. Living through an experie
nce outside of the normal. Feeling a complete sense of satisfaction that I didn’t just survive. I wasn’t drug down. I wasn’t overcome. I stood tall. I pushed. I made a way.

Not in my own power. In His.

And on this other side I feel such a deep sense of gratitude and satisfaction. I wasn’t waiting on someone else to do this for me. To carry me. To fix me. To complete me. I don’t need fixing, I am already completely complete. I can find my own way.

I am His. I am drinking deeply of His grace. Of the joy in life. Of this kairos moment. Not a
moment on a watch or measurable by time. But the fullness of God so incredibly close to the fullness He has created in me.

A full measure, full breath moment.

I know this moment can’t sustain forever. There are peaks and valleys FullSizeRender 5in life. If there weren’t, why would we need to reach for His hand? But in today I will remain here.

There is always more to do. More calling. More required of me. And that will take care of itself in tomorrow. So right now I continue to release the burdens, sense the satisfaction, and trust in His infinite abundance with joyful expectation. And I stand tall with my hands and heart wide open, embracing this full breath moment.