do your thing

I’ll be 35 in just a few weeks. I don’t have any problems with the age, per say. I live a fairly typical 35-year-old life, and a pretty good one at that. From the outside, I look, talk, live like a woman in her mid 30’s.

What I’m concerned about is that maybe on the inside I’m not where I picture a girl my age to be.

Confident. Graceful. Sure. Settled.

In my mind, a 35-year-old doesn’t worry about what others think. She isn’t insecure. She isn’t confused or weak and certainly doesn’t question where she’s headed. She’s got her act together and is the picture of ladylike poise.

And yet, here I sit, 3 weeks away from that confident, graceful, sure and settled ideal feeling so very far from it.

I wrote a post about twirling – that act of pushing off everything that hinders {insecurities, failures, aspirations} and dancing through life knowing that we are loved. Not because we are doing everything right, or because we have it all together, but because He first loved us. It’s so much less about the actual dancing {a cheesy metaphor for doing life} and more about the heart in knowing we are delightfully and perfectly made, just as we are.

It originated as a prayer for my daughter and has become my motto in life as well.


So this is what bothers me: I’m nearly 35, certainly old enough both in years and in my own personal faith in Jesus to get this. To live this. To let go of those stupid insecurities about not being good enough, pretty enough, talented enough … and just believe what I know to be true: that we are each exceptionally talented, created for a unique purpose and most of all, accepted through grace just as we are and not for who we ought to be.

I’ve been in a weird spot over the past six months or so not really sure of where I’m headed. What are my goals? Where do I see JDC going? What is my dream of all dreams? It’s all been a bit cloudy and unclear and so I found myself looking around at what others were doing thinking maybe that’s where I would find the answers.

She’s writing a book. I should write a book!

She’s selling all of her possessions and touring the country. I should do that!

She’s {fill-in-the-blank}, I should {fill-in-the-blank}!

Unfortunately, all this did was perpetuate my confusion and bury me further in the comparison pit {a place I know all too well}.

I’ve spent these past few months quietly praying, looking for clues, waiting and waiting and the clearest answer came from the oddest of places: The Wonder Pets.

We were in the car and the little kids were watching an old episode about a baby swan who was supposed to dance for the big party but he was afraid because he didn’t have the same graceful moves as the other swans on Swan Lake {do you remember this one?}. The Wonder Pets, in their darling animated wisdom, give baby swan the encouragement he needs to do it his own way. To dance with his own moves. And own it.

I sat in the driver’s seat, not seeing the movie, but hearing the whole thing being played behind me and it spoke right to my heart. All these fears about not being good enough, not doing it right, unsure, unsettled, afraid of what others will think – all of it is just time I’m wasting. I’m hiding under a silly bucket like baby swan watching everyone else do their lovely moves feeling like mine could never be enough.

It was then that I heard this little whisper in my soul: Emily, do your thing.

That’s it.

Just do your thing.

That’s the answer. And it’s ridiculously simple.


Twirling is about unashamed dancing. It’s about delighting in our femininity. It’s about accepting God’s absolutely profound love and finding freedom. But it’s also about just doing our thing. Not only being who we are, but actually celebrating who we are. It’s a quiet confidence. Graceful presence. Living out our unique talents, seeing the beauty within each of us and sharing it with one another.

And the best thing about it is that there is no magical age when it appears. I’ve been wrong all this time about that. This confidence, grace, assuredness, is available to all of us, at any age, for as long as we choose.

I love that.

I’ll be 35 in a few weeks and while I am not the picture of confidence and maturity that I envision, I feel like I’ve made a big step in that direction. I’m so tired of the insecurities. I don’t want to live with this ugly striving and unsettled discontentment. I want the freedom to do my thing. As clunky as it may be or as graceful as it be become, I just want to be who God made me to be, share my life, love well.

I want to twirl.

You too?

Because I need daily reminders, putting special art throughout my house is one way to keep me focused on truth. This new twirl print is pretty on its own, but even more beautiful in its deeper meaning. Put one in your daughter’s room. Share it with your bestie. Tape it to your bathroom mirror.


The print was designed by my favorite letter-er Lindsay and sold exclusively here. We have it in three colors with gold embossed foil.



Grab one now before they are gone!


Be encouraged, wherever you are today, that you are wonderful. You are uniquely talented. You are valuable. And because of Jesus’ great love for you, you are deemed enough.

Now just do your thing.

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71 Responses to do your thing

  1. Jennifer September 10, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Wow Emily as shown by the comments and my own heart you have definitely hit the nail on the head! I turned 35 a few weeks ago and have been struggling with many of these same things for about a year now, well longer really but really examining it for that long. I am still looking for who God wants me to be, and mourning the death of the dreams that will never be so that I can move forward. I realized that life has taken me in a different direction and until I can move past the old vision of my life I won’t be able to move in the direction that He wants me to. So while I wait I’ll TWIRL!

  2. Meg September 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    thanks for this post (which I didn’t read until today) – really spoke to me & recent feelings. :) thank you!

  3. Tiffany September 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    A few weeks ago I read this on another blog and copied it down to save it. It might resonate with you, too :)

    Avoid comparison. You are enough. End of story. That girl over there… you don’t want her life. Because you don’t have the grace for it. You have the grace for yours. You don’t have her kids, her job, her talents, her hubby, and her network FOR A REASON. Because you are needed right where you are at.. by Your kids, Your job, Your hubby and YOUR network! Do what you can, with what you have… right where you are at! And be grateful.. Always be grateful. What you are taking for granted, someone else is praying for.

    Amen, right?!

    • emily September 12, 2013 at 8:40 am #

      This is so good. I don’t have the grace to go through what anyone else is facing … just my own mess. Thanks for the great reminder!

  4. Lindsay September 11, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I am 32 and I very much feel like this. The world wide web and all it’s wonders has given us a peep hole into so many talented others lives that not only do we compare ourselves to people we know in “real” life, but to thousands of strangers who seem to be more talented/beautiful/organized/confident than us! We don’t twirl…we spiral downward. But how grateful am I for the reminder to dance with Joy in the love of our Savior. That he has created me, ME. Not Sally, Suzie or Emily :).
    Just me. When I revel in that thought….and let my self absorbed mine marinate instead in His promises…it’s enough to make me want to borrow my daughters TUTU and dance around the kitchen.

    • emily September 12, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      You are so right! Those little peeks are never the whole story.

  5. suzi September 11, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    i found your blog over the weekend & had a look around discovering the twirl post because my granlove twirls A LOT :-) it’s one of the things i find dear about her. i couldn’t read it because it was too hot…like a lightbulb just turned off that you have to wait till it cools before touching it. several months ago my hubby & i were on a long drive & began talking about the disappointments we feel as life has not gone as we hoped & planned. we each took a turn answering the question, “if you could be/have have anything what would you want?” my answer astounded us both when i said i want to stop being afraid. some years ago a series of events left us broken and deeply wounded. i became afraid of everything & tried to micro manage life to make it safe. i wrongly assumed that God had handed me a life i didn’t want and that was it so accept it & wait for heaven. my life was still very beautiful,(ESPECIALLY to onlookers) albeit different. through a Bible study this summer He took me back to some hard things from my childhood…& at first i scolded myself for being ridiculous but He wanted to show me i had quit dancing. one morning weeks later He asked me to dance again. i was timid, embarrassed & thought it was fruitless to think about long ago injuries/misunderstandings. i’ve had a rich, happy & blessed life yet He persisted and then confirmed it twice. i know that when i hear the same message 3 times i had better sit up & listen so when i turned to your twirl post i froze. several times i tried to read it but after a few days i dismissed it, again. until yesterday when i opened this. i have been overwhelmed by joy since the summer day He invited me to dance but then i back away due to fear…of looking silly, not trusting Him or my heart, being afraid to believe in a happy future. but then this post sealed the deal and i will (metaphorically of course!) take my partner’s hand. emily, i will be 60 in a couple of weeks. be you, em. let your heavenly father delight in you. tell all your 30somethings to just be…& btw…you don’t even BEGIN to figure these things out until your 40s ;-)

    • emily September 12, 2013 at 8:36 am #


      Thank you for sharing your heart. I just love when things are confirmed over and over … why do we still question? Well, we just do. I’ll be praying for you and hope that as you trust, your fears will gently fade. XO.

  6. LLH Designs September 11, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    I remember that twirl post. Loved it. Might have been the post that made me want to keep checking in over here. If it’s any encouragement, I’m finding that more freedom comes as you approach 40. I’m an old soul, so I thought I’d be all that I wanted to be at 35. Ha! But Jesus keeps changing me. “Twirling” me. {Wink!}

  7. Erica September 12, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    I completely understand. I have a few years on you and I wish I could say it makes a difference in terms of questioning but it doesn’t. In some ways, it is a good thing – it helps us stay fresh. But it’s important to not confuse who we are even as we re-invent what we do. I just blogged about this the other day, too, and did a calligraphy piece reflecting what my husband said, “be who you are and it will be alright.”
    You may still have insecurities (we all do) but you are full of grace and you reflect that grace to all around you. It shines bright from you and your blog.

  8. Julie D. September 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Just coming back to this post, knowing I needed to read it when I had a chance to really absorb it. I’ve struggled recently as all my three will be in school full time next year (gulp). I thought I had another two years but our district just went to full day kindergarten!! Treasuring my time with Kate even more now!! My problem is, I feel like I’ve been drawn to going back to work for some time now. However, I still want to be home for my kids when they get home from school, etc. I’ve struggled with feeling like how the heck will I find a job when I’ve been out of the work-force for almost 10 years!!! ….feeling not smart enough, not good enough, not experienced enough….and even if I was…pretty sure I wouldn’t go back to what I was doing before. So where does that leave me? Constantly comparing myself to others and their advanced careers, successful home businesses, numerous talents, and depth of their spiritual walk. I too, don’t feel like I’m the confident, assured, ‘twirling’ almost 35 year old I should be. All that said, I am excited for what the Lord has for me in the years and new seasons ahead. No point to my comment other than it’s nice to know someone who I would consider to have a successful business and assured confidence, actually still struggles with the same! :) Hugs, Emily!

  9. Brooke September 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Beautiful. I loved it!

  10. Wynne April 26, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    as i read this, i thought about shauna’s talk at hope spoken. “should” and how it’s a warning sign that we are moving away from our truest selfs. YOU have your thing girl, you are twirling! OWN IT! love you :)

  11. danielle September 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    I’m so grateful for these thoughtful posts as I ponder the bigger picture of my life and seek out the solitude and confidence that comes from being right with God. Thank you so much for sharing!

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