This week has had to be a little slower with us fighting colds. There's a kettle of water steaming on the stove right now, some of us are still in our pajamas, and pooh bear is playing in the living room. It looks like a beautiful fall day outside, and I'd love to go for a walk later if we're all feeling up to it. It feels like October is more fleeting than ever this year, I can't believe this is the last weekend of it already. It helps to look back through my photos and see all the ways we've enjoyed it already though. Roasted vegetables, pumpkins everywhere, apple cider almost every trip to the grocery store, homemade breads and soups, celebrating Drew and Jaden's birthdays, powdered sugar lips on Isaiah's school field trip to the orchard, dressing my babies in knits and flannels and fleece, playing in the leaves... There's been a lot of coloring at the kitchen table the last few weeks, a lot of personal stretching and growth, rough moments and beautiful victories intermingled together in that dance that is life.
I'm in this season where I'm really digging into what self-care looks like. I suppose it all started with my desire to simplify life and saying no to everything I could all summer. With the beginning of September I decided to open myself back up and try to pour out all that I could to people around me. People literally came knocking on our door for help right within what felt like minutes of making that decision. Within a week I had hit the limits of my own resources. I'd been getting up extra early, babysitting for neighbors, trying to be there for others in difficult situations, and hit hard in private situations as well. Then the shame and discouragement of not being able to "do it all" set in.... Seriously, why do we all think we should be able to do everything?? I went up for prayer at church one Sunday morning and someone prayed with me and shared that IT IS OK FOR MY FAMILY TO BE MY FIRST (AND SOMETIMES ONLY) MINISTRY RIGHT NOW. Relief. It couldn't have come from a better person, someone who I know has a heart to help those in need more than almost anyone else I know. We listened to a message this week about how you can't give what you don't have, what it looks like to be self-aware, know what you are operating out of, and take a break if you just don't have anymore to pour out.
I have a huge burden inside me to help people in need around me. But I also have a bigger burden to not sacrifice my family to accomplish this. I want to be healthy. I want to be balanced. I'm still learning what this looks like. I am trying to put into place people and resources that will help me learn what this looks like and live it out practically.
The hardest bit to all of this is where I care what other people think about me. It's easy to imagine that people might call me selfish when they don't have a clue what's going on behind the scenes or why I said no to something. It's easy to wonder if people think my life is perfect just because I don't share publicly the hard stuff going on? I'm not a broadcaster of trials. I'm not a defamer of people. I'm not an open book to the world when I'm in pain or processing. I process internally and with close friends. I like to speak positively. I like to be encouraging. I love to share joy, beauty, truth, life.... That's what I share publicly. All of this to say, this is an interesting season for sure... I've stepped back from photography in an effort to be more present with my family in these next few months and to let the creativity in that art flow from a place of joy and inspiration rather than be forced and scheduled and full of pressure (most that I put on myself). It doesn't make sense to step back from something that can be very competitive, but it feels right to do. When I pick it back up again I have faith that if it is supposed to continue to be part of my life that He will make it happen. It feels like things are all a little shaky, that there is shifting happening, that I am weighing out priorities and making big decisions that still feel a bit cloudy in nature. It feels like letting go of the things I've found my identity in and finding that I am someone outside of the things that I do. There is someone inside me that I just am. It is a place of rest that feels unnatural and I find myself fighting. But I keep hearing/feeling the invitation to just come rest in His arms and be. And I have the strangest feeling that when I stop fighting and learn to do that, to not let it matter so much what people think, to not fear letting go of things I've found my identity in, that maybe, just maybe, I'll meet myself there.