We’ve had quite the winter in Tennessee so far, or at least it’s been quite the winter for us having been raised in Mississippi where temperatures can run anywhere from 20 degrees to 70 degrees in January. Temperatures have been near 0 degrees, and this morning was no exception. Last week, we had ice and very little snow. This week, we’ve had snow that turned into ice. It seems that winter has set in across Tennessee and is relentless. And we’re okay with that… at least until we go back to work tomorrow.
2017 was a crazy year (putting it lightly) for us. We both felt like we blinked and it was over because so much was happening in our lives. We’ve even carried that over into 2018, but this winter storm we’re having… it’s forced us to do what we haven’t done in ages, and that’s slow down. We’ve been in and out of the midst of this storm for six days now, partially because of the attribution of Martin Luther King Day. We’ve had the opportunity to rest–really, truly rest. We’ve had the opportunity to clean out our home. We’ve had the time to actually clean our home. We’ve had cozy breakfasts in the morning, warm french onion soup at night curled up watching movies. It’s been a dream. During all of this, we’ve been reminded of the importance of taking time to rest, reflect, and take care of yourself. Although we were forced into it, it has been such a blessing for us to have no other choice than to settle in together.
Last year, I was able to take time to read this book. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Nequist has been a game changer in our lives. Although it’s a slow ongoing process, the principles found in this book have opened our eyes to what REALLY matters in our lives and how to start taking steps at creating the kind of life we want, rather than the frantic, nonstop life that seems to be designed for us. I would love to do a full book review for you. It was one of the most impactful books I read last year, but I just want to leave you with a few quotes from the author. The older I get, the faster I feel time flies. It’s so important to take in this life we’re living, because we never know when it will be over.
“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald
“What people think about you means nothing in comparison to what you believe about yourself.”
“It’s very hard to be loved and connected to the people in your home when you’re always bringing them your most exhausted self and resenting the fact that the scraps you’re giving them aren’t cutting it.”
“I’m not building a castle or a monument; I’m building a soul and a family. I’ll tell stories all my life, writing on napkins and on the backs of receipts, or in books if they let me, but this is the promise I make to my God: I will never again be so careless, so cavalier with the body and soul you’ve given me. They are the only things in all the world that have been entrusted entirely to me, and I stewarded them poorly, worshiping for a time at the altars of productivity, capability, busyness, distraction. This body will become again what God intended them to be: living sacrifices, offered only to Him. I will spend my life on meaning, on connection, on love, on freedom. I will not waste one more day trapped in comparison, competition, proving, and earning. That’s the currency of a culture that has nothing to offer me.”
On Pleasing and Pleasure:
“Some of what I’m leaving behind in this season is the need to please everyone. I want to respect all people. I want to learn from all people, most especially people who are different from me and who disagree with me, but pleasing, for me, is over.”
“Pleasing is a shallow and temporary joy, not nearly as valuable or right as seeing or connecting or listening. Pleasing feels like corn syrup, like cheap candy, while pleasure is homemade pie, rich with butter, this with sugar and ripe fruit.”
“These days I want to love deeply and well, and that’s really different from pleasing. Love is often quieter, and it’s never connected to that anxious proving and tap-dancing that so many of us have learned to keep people happy.”
Questions to Reflect on:
“God tells the rain to just pour down. He tells the snow to simply fall. What are the things that he’s asking you to do, the things he made you to do, the things you do so effortlessly and easy?”
“What do you need to leave behind in order to recover that essential self that God created?What do you need to walk away from in order to reclaim those parts of you that God designed, unique to you and for His purposes?”