Day 21: Start #write31days2018

For a procrastinator like me, the word “start” is sometimes a hard one to face. Starting can be the hardest part of a new project, or even an old one that has been set aside. When embarking on a new venture, I have a hard time facing my fears of imperfection or failure. So I procrastinate. I put off beginning the journey into the unknown. This can apply to creative projects, but it also affects areas of spiritual growth. And it definitely comes into play when facing tasks that I find mundane or distasteful.

The fact is, however, when I choose to start, whatever the activity may be, I almost always find my tasks less difficult, my obedience more rewarding and my projects more fulfilling that I thought they would be. My fears are unfounded. My distaste is overcome. And my reluctance is released when I just take the first step of faith.

Starting is active. Starting is strong. Starting is hopeful. Starting is energizing.

My hope for you today is that you will start that thing that you know you should do but have been putting off. I think you will be glad you did.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 20: Audience #write31days2018

The concept of “audience” has been on my mind lately, especially since leaving Facebook and Instagram for the month. Even before that, however, I had grown disillusioned with the ideas of growing an audience via social media and all that the “experts” say you are supposed to do these days to build a platform. I am tired of the constant push to hustle and the pressure to be a certain type of person in order to market myself.

The thing is, I don’t actually feel called to create a big audience for myself as much as I feel called to use words to communicate God’s truth and encouragement to others. If he wants me to have a small audience, but I actually do make a little bit of a difference to those few people, then so be it. As long as I can be obedient and faithful, I am pleased to be used by God in whatever capacity that may be.

Of course, I want to reach more people. In my humanity, I would love to speak into many people’s lives and have my words go far and wide. Who wouldn’t want to be recognized for saying something worthwhile? But if that isn’t what God has for me, then I am content to just keep writing for the pleasure of the process. In the end, my audience is really an audience of One, and He is the only One whose opinion matters.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 17: Pause #write31days2018

If you have read my post about the Luddite Experiment, you know that I have pressed pause this month on my social media use. After half a month of being away from Facebook and Instagram, I must say that it truly has been good. Before this break, I was feeling frenetic, always afraid I was missing out on something. I sensed a pressure to be and to know and to have things that were not mine. I just had to take a step away and see what would happen.

I feel like this time away is refining me. It is helping me quiet my spirit in other ways, not just my internet consumption. I am finding creativity in the space. I am finding calm and room for thinking more deeply. I am finding my own true self again, without that pressure to conform to some arbitrary cultural fad.

Pausing is creating space to see, to hear, to be. It is taking time to breathe, to rest. It is leaving room for the question, “What is God’s best for me?” Pressing pause gives me fresh perspective and energy to step back into my real life in a more meaningful way.

What can you do today to press pause and give yourself some breathing room?

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 15: When #write31days2018

In the early days of motherhood, I quickly realized how lost I was in the duties of housekeeping and homemaking. I had had all sorts of free time before having children, and I didn’t realize how much I would need to organize my days once children entered the picture. It was a steep learning curve, but I eventually got a handle on some sort of routine. I at least knew when I needed to do certain tasks to keep the house running somewhat smoothly.

Now that my children are entering more independent elementary and preschool ages, I find myself with a little more time again. I am enjoying getting back to pursuing more of my creative interests, like reading and writing. This week I decided to get back to practicing the piano a little. I starting using the Duolingo app to practice my Spanish vocabulary again, too. I have been getting my knitting out every day this week. I am also thinking about when I can add some time to draw in my sketchbook and nature journal.

If you are a new mother or in a stage with lots of littles underfoot, I don’t write all this to make you feel badly. I do, after all, only have the two children! I write to encourage you that someday, you will have time again to do those things that make you uniquely you. And I write to challenge you a little to find a few minutes (really, just 5 minutes a day!) when you can do one thing that makes your soul come alive. There will be a day when you can spend more time on your interests again, but even now, amidst all the diapers and laundry and feeding little mouths, don’t forget that you are a person, too!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 9: Inspire #write31days2018

Since one of the my themes for the Write 31 Days challenge is “creativity”, today’s prompt word inspire is the perfect chance to explore that topic a bit. I have just started getting back in touch with some of my more creative endeavors after a period of dryness and feeling uninspired, so the connection between creativity and inspiration is relevant to me.

Sometimes I think I have put too much stock in feeling “inspired” to be creative. I am finding here lately that I need to just start doing something creative, whether I feel the desire to do the thing or not. Because in the process, I either get inspired or I at least feel a sense of satisfaction at having exercised my artistic muscles. 

For example, just last week, I cleaned out my much neglected knitting basket. I found two projects that I have worked on a little bit here and there without finishing them for over 3 years. I picked up one project the next night and started moving the needles and yarn again for the first time since last winter. It wasn’t that I was particularly inspired to finish the piece. But it felt good to be making something with my hands, nonetheless. I had forgotten the satisfaction of watching those little rows add up and take on a new shape.

For me, working on something artistic, even without the initial inspiration, actually did inspire me to begin working on more creative projects, especially those involving more than just a computer screen and keyboard. I think this is one of those cases in which the feelings follow the action, and after that the feelings can fuel the action!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”