It could be said that I’ve been busy this winter. My house is full of fantastic distractions, activity, and conversation. There are currently seven of us. We're juggling jobs, schedules, laundry, life decisions, and emotional needs. And that's just the adults.
Photo cred: Evan and Lisa Oliver
The kids have school, sports, even more laundry, and constant questions. Perhaps I should include our eight chickens, one rabbit, and high maintenance lab puppy. The animals require their own care, attention, and “did you seriously rip up my door mat again!?!” redirection. If I never left my property (as is often tempting), I would still never run out of things to do.
Photo cred: Evan and Lisa Oliver
Sean and Megan had six jobs between them this year. Between pastoring, d.j.ing, camps, coffee, salon, and catering, the kids and I regularly ask, "Which job today?" as they head out the door. I've worked hard to keep strict boundaries for myself, knowing there will be other seasons I can stretch myself outside the home. For now I'm needed to keep the home front covered. Yet...I couldn't resist a tiny job of my own when the kids' school asked me to be on the substitute list. I love being at the school a few days a month but am determined to make being home first priority as it's Haley Kate's last year before kindergarten.
Of course, there was the week I narrowly missed becoming a Disney princess. You dress up for one daughter's birthday party....
When I called my sister to tell her we had multiple offers to make money as Elsa and Anna she reminded me that we have nine children between us, are in our mid 30s, and still have our pride. I reminded her that even our pride has a price. It's currently undecided if "Disney Princess" will be on our resumes in the future....
We've hosted all the holidays and some birthdays. I attended one conference on healing prayer and have another conference next month on foster and adoption related topics.
Yet, none of these are the reasons why I haven't been writing much. I can overcome a loud house when I write, but a circular unproductive mind is harder to conquer. I'm learning that I don't like being in process. I like to neatly tie up loose ends, secure my thoughts with happy endings, and have conclusions as soon as possible.
This is true even of projects. For months I put off painting a wall in the bathroom. I was annoyed with myself, "Why does one wall feel like such a big deal?" I eventually realized it was because I didn't want a messy process. It would mean an afternoon of shelving other responsibilities, making the bathroom a mess, and then living in the mess while waiting for multiple coats to dry. Yuck. When I realized the ridiculousness behind my avoidance, I pulled out the supplies. Sure enough, it was an afternoon of mess and "don't touch the walls!" but then it was over.
My mind has been messy this winter. Some of what I've written and wrestled through isn't for the general public. The rest is a series of starts that don't materialize. Last fall I asked the Lord for fresh ideas in writing. I was asking for a concrete project with clear direction (and preferably an ending already in mind). Instead, I've been learning about process. I've been learning about mess. I've been derailed, sad, tired. I've spent more time pouring out and less time editing. I hate it. It makes me uncomfortable and discouraged. Even as I pray I whine about it, "Lord, aren't enough things painful and hard? Can't you at least give me writing without much work?" Then I'm whimpering, making my body go limp like my little ones when they tantrum, "Whyyyy does everything have to be so hard? Whyyyyy?!"
It's part of life, isn't it? There are more days of process and messy growth; less days of tidy endings. You can think what you want when you see my cute pictures on social media but there isn't a finished product/ happy ending/ all figured out/ polished smile on this end.
I've never been good at numbing anyway so I've decided to stop myself when I'm opting for easy outs. I'm intent on working through my stuff. I don't want to be afraid of process; whether it's writing, resolving my priorities, or wrestling with the ins and outs of faith and hearing God's voice. When I don't want to go there, when I find myself avoiding the hard things, I take a breath. "God, what am I scared of here?"
I wanted a project that I could push out like a product. Instead the Lord seems to be prodding at the deeper things. I'm allowing myself to be in an uncomfortable process without a guaranteed outcome (gulp) or defined success.
I started this blog entry for the sole reason of overcoming writer's block with no ending or clear goal. I did it for the sake of the process. It sucked.
When I ask God about writing and being in process the same verse pops into my head. And my God will supply all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 Honestly, I'm not sure what that's going to look like, but I'm asking. Honestly, I wish it was an answer that had to do with a product. In His wisdom God reminds me His promises run deeper than a book deal. My eternal condition is bigger than my immediate gratification. I grab onto the promise, write crappy things that I can burn later, and allow a little discomfort and wrestling.
And accept that I don't have a poignant ending.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...