When I think about the noise in my world right now, the first thing that comes to mind is my girls’ dance studio lobby and parking lot around 3pm. Mini vans and suburbans backed up looking for spots. Tiny ballerinas racing in the door with bags flapping behind them. Some are crying. Because, hey, it’s really nap time. And some are wired from a sugary snack to get them through dance class before they crash. There are carpool car seat swaps. Backpack exchanges. Diaper changes in the backs of SUVs. Instructions from mom to preschooler: “Remember grandma is picking you up and taking you to Susie’s to play until your brother’s game is over.” The lobby is full of snacks and crayons and sippy cups of siblings who have to stay and wait. Moms come in the door weighted down with bags and cups and kids. Maybe a computer to do a few minutes of work while they wait. It is absolutely insane. A study in logistics and operations, and I’m convinced the best operations expert out there could not figure out the intricate workings of the dance studio comings and goings. It’s like an unsolvable math problem: if kid a had to be at ballet at 2pm, but kid b has to be picked up at school and taken to basketball at 2:30pm, and kid c has a doctor’s appointment at 3pm, and mom has a meeting at 2:45pm, and everything is imperative then how long until it all just doesn’t work any more? And yet? We do it. We make it work. We run ourselves ragged fitting the pieces together. But my question. My real, true question? Is why? Why do we do it? Why do we go so hard and so fast that it becomes an SAT word problem just to make a schedule for a preschooler, kindergartener, and a stay at home mom? And, friends? No judgment. I’m right there with you. Grinding so hard to do all the things. And to be quite honest? I don’t get it. So I’m quitting. Quitting the grind and the chaos. Saying no to what’s normal and doing what feels right. And I’m telling you. It may not feel like you can. But you can quit too.
And we can seek with intention a quiet and meaningful rhythm for our families. Where we gather around the table and go for walks and take spontaneous day trips and tell our kids “yes!” when they ask to do something they love. So many times, my girls will ask me for a play date or a beach day or a library visit, and I say no because we don’t have time because of the a schedule I created for them. It hurts my heart to hear “Mama, when we are not so busy, can we please go to the playground?” The simple pleasures they love in life are denied because I left no room in our schedule for THEM to choose.
So this first 4 months of the year have been a heart check for our family. Where are our opportunities to quiet? Is there a different way? What can we give up or change or rethink to bring better connection into our home and family? And guys? It hasn’t been easy. It’s been really hard to rethink how we live out each day. And as we’ve recognized patterns that aren’t serving our family? It’s been really hard to admit that some things need to go or be drastically changed. And it’s been really hard to look people in the eye and explain some of our decisions. To see the skepticism and disagreement run across their faces. To hear the doubt in their voices when they say “Really?” And to fight the urge to defend our decisions in a way that makes sense or pleases others. When really? The only reason we are making these choices is because they are the best choices for our family. No explanation needed. I’m not living to make the world comfortable. I’m living in a way that works for my family. And hopefully? In a way that will encourage others to see the choices they also have. Just because it’s normal to be busy and over scheduled and exhausted doesn’t mean you have to be. You actually get to choose. And you can choose. Just stop thinking about what other people think and do what is best for your family.
So what exactly does it all mean for us? After months of recognizing some hard truths and making big decisions in pursuit of quiet? With a fervent effort to prioritize margin and connection for our family? Where have we landed? Well really, it’s a constant analysis. A new frame of mind with which to approach every opportunity and decision. And we are getting better as we go. But I’ll share three huge changes we are making in the name of quiet.
I’m sitting in a dark nursery. Rocking. It’s been almost two hours. She’s teething and she’s supposed to be weaning. But she doesn’t want to be put down. I am super tired. My head hurts, and I have what I call mom shoulder. You know it, mamas. When one shoulder - the side you favor for holding the baby - starts to tighten and ride up closer and closer to your ear. And then you’re just crooked and lopsided and sore. Yeah. Mom shoulder. Now, just go ahead and take a deep breath and lower your shoulders.
You can picture it all, right? You’re me. Rocking. Rocking. Aching. Singing. Planning. Listing. Scrolling. Rocking. For hours and hours. Night after night. It’s a rhythm that started four and a half years ago for me. And in the rhythm of these long, quiet sweet, aching hours? I found my voice. I started writing.
One handed, in the dark, on my phone. That’s how I write. Every post I’ve ever written I composed in a lovely, surreal fog of exhaustion and love. I’ve written every single post with a sleeping baby in my arms. And even when I’m so tired I can’t think another productive thought? Somehow? I can write. Like holding a snuggled up sound asleep baby in the quiet darkness connects me to something greater. An inner voice that’s wiser and more grounded than I really am. And things are clear and simple. My heart is unguarded. Open. Honest.
My babies? They made me be still enough to create. To reflect. To pause and praise. To Selah. And it changed everything. Because creating? It’s life giving. It connects us to something bigger. In it, we find peace and transcendence. In creativity? We worship.
We are designed for it. Created to create. Crafted by a creative God who designed us in His image. That’s why we feel more enlightened and centered and grateful when we experience creative flow. It’s not just an outlet. It’s a direct experience with the God of the Universe. Creativity is engrained in you, I promise. Every person is creative because every person is made by God.
It seems so simple. But our humanity complicates creativity. Steals its fruits from us. Plants fear of rejection. And shame. It uglies the beautiful vulnerability of creating. Of putting a piece of our hearts in front of the world. In sharing our creative work, we are presenting our very experience with God to the world. And the idea of others’ judgment? The fear stops us cold. We shrink back. And we choose. We either let go of fear and embrace God’s gift of creativity - our own uniquely designed form of worship and connection to Him. Or we hide in fear and shame. We label ourselves as “not creative”, and reject a divine gift. Striving to please a fickle world instead of serving a faithful God.
Friends. Creativity? It’s worship. It’s God’s work. You are designed for it, and it’s a gift. Just take it. It’s not really for the world. It’s for you. So, you dig down deep and you do the thing. The thing that brings you peace and transcendence. The thing that feels bigger than you. The thing that is bigger than you. You are braver than the fear. You are bolder than the shame. You are strong enough to be vulnerable. Go and create. Flow. Selah. Worship. Maybe be it won’t change the world. But it will change you.
And you know what? Maybe it will change the world.
Writing in dark nurseries with my babies in my arms has changed my life. I’ve chosen to push beyond the fear and vulnerability and shame of what the world thinks. And I’ve chosen to serve my own heart, nurture my own connection to God, and experience my own worship. I’ve chosen to create. And it breathes so much truth into my life, that it naturally fell into place as a cornerstone of Selah. I mean, to create is to Selah. To pause and praise. To step away from the world and into the divine. It’s so clear. Selah is gratitude. It is connection. And it is creativity.
So here we are. I’m putting my creativity, my experience with God in front of you. And I’m inviting you to cast away fear and shame. To embrace vulnerability. And to create.
Love + Light,