I don’t know how I used to do it.
Do what, you ask?
Blogging. Regular blogging.
Amidst the raising of small children and the daily demands of wife/mother/friend/personhood, I also managed to write blog posts three times each week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, like clockwork. I rarely missed a day and if I did, I always made it up. Three posts per week was my thing. For nearly 10 years.
And then last year happened and I let go of the whole post-three-times-per-week thing.
It was a gradual letting go. One week I skipped a post, then another … and another.
At first, I felt like I was being irresponsible and had this nagging anxiety about disappointing you sweet readers. Meeting on the blog several times per week has been our routine for so long and I felt like I couldn’t possibly change things up because it is the way I’ve always done it! and It is what people expect from me! and It is the way the experts say you should do it! Those pressures were real (I still feel them!) and hard to push aside. And yet, life circumstances and my own heart told me it was okay, good, essential to slow down, be quiet, listen, pay attention.
So I did. I still am.
Quite honestly, it hasn’t been good for business. But it has been exactly what I needed.
In this past year of quieting my blogging life, my offline life has flourished. Not perfect or lovely or pain-free, but there has been deep personal healing and growth, face-to-face friendships, regularly working out of my physical body, being present with my family.
I wish I could say that all of this was super intentional and done from a place of wisdom and maturity and forethought. But that’s not really how it went (it never is, is it?!).
I can look back now and see the signs and symptoms that forced this change in blogging pace. For quite a while there has been a growing tension inside me between the pressure to keep producing more content so I can stay relevant and grow readership and create things you want to read and see and pin and share and the deep conviction to be completely genuine.
Over the past year, especially, as I’ve been pursuing answers about identity – who am I? who is God? what is my unique purpose in it all? – it has become really hard to talk about fluffy things on the blog. Sure, I like cute throw pillows and what J.Crew has on sale this week, but what I care about even more is finding freedom and peace and neither can be discovered in down-filled inserts or denim.
I have been working diligently to resolve these deep, important issues in my personal life and while it didn’t feel appropriate to share it all in real-time, it has also prevented me from sharing the less important things. Does that make sense? It’s not like I don’t still care about lipgloss and a great leather chair and creative ways to wrap gifts, it’s just that they have taken a back seat in my life as I process the bigger things and reshuffle priorities. It feels so trivial to talk about my house when what deserves all the attention is our hearts.
Add all of this to the fact that my kids need me in different ways in this season, we don’t have any big house projects lined up and for months now, I’ve been feeling a strange sense of transition on the horizon.
And so the blog has been eerily quiet.
The truth of it is, I needed to be quiet.
I think we all do, at some point.
Our lives move quickly. One day blends into the next, then all of a sudden a week, a month, a year has passed. We busy ourselves (often with good things!) and distract and numb and when you stop long enough to look – really look – at your life, you find that maybe you’ve lost yourself a little. Or a lot.
I needed this season of quiet to give myself time and space to look at my life, figure out what was working and what wasn’t, to pay close attention to the ways God made me and trust what He says about me. So much of my life has been about trying to prove my value, doing what was expected and trying to do it perfectly, saying yes to gain approval or avoid disappointment only to discover that I never gave my own soul a place within the decision-making.
This forced journey for me has been about waking up to God and myself, breaking off the heavy chains of lies, the false expectations and disordered desires, so I can live from a quietly confident posture of freedom. Free to be wholly and completely me.
The Emily of old – the crafty, creative, stay home mom of toddlers who needed blogging to find her voice and connect with other women – she blogged three times per week because at that time of life, it gave her life.
And then, as they do, things slowly started shifting. In the blogging industry, social media, my personal and spiritual and season of life.
The Emily sitting at the keyboard right now? I have parts of that younger version in me, of course. But I am different, too.
I am older, more at peace with who I am and deeply trusting of who God is. I love and appreciate pretty things – in the home, hanging in a closet, formed with paper and scissors and glue gun – but I know they can not truly satisfy. I have words and stories and art to share, but the slow, deep, marinating kind that can’t be rushed or scheduled. This is what I feel compelled to share, my act of worship and offering into the world. This is what now gives me life, at this time of life.
So I playfully say to myself “I don’t know how I used to do it!” because it’s true. It’s a lot of work to post three times per week for nearly a decade. I’m so proud of that girl for doing it so diligently.
And at the same time, I extend to myself grace and kindness as I move quietly, gently into a new way of being. I don’t want to remain in the old ways just because it is comfortable or known or what I think people expect from me. I want to step forward, however unknown and uncomfortable because it is exactly where I know God is asking me to move.
Maybe you’re standing at a threshold of sorts, too. Maybe you can just barely make out the glimmer of hope that lies beyond. Feelings of promise and excitement and trepidation all wrapped into one.
It is here we get to decide: will we step back into our old, comfortable ways or step forward, faithfully, into the new?
It’s terrifying, you guys. It really is. I stand here so timid – believing there is such promise and goodness ahead but not really able to wrap my mind around how it’s all going to work out.
That’s life, isn’t it? We don’t have all the answers we just have to trust that as we grow and heal and listen to the gentle nudgings of the Spirit, we can rest assured that we are in good hands.
On a drive up to Seattle a few weekends ago, I listened to a brilliant podcast. At the end of the episode, one of the guests – a pastor from London – read a journal entry a colleague of his wrote. She wrote it with the Church in mind, but as he says, it is so applicable to all of us on the brink of something significant, feeling vulnerable and weak. It brings me to tears every time I hear it. May it be an encouragement to you and the anthem of hope and trust we declare.
From This Cultural Moment podcast season 2 episode 4:
“Threshold moments are equally beautiful and terrifying. They have the capacity to make or break the vision. As you stand on the cusp of everything you’ve ever dared hope for, you survey the land that now lies before you, your eyes tracing the intricate shapes that settle on the horizon. Too good to imagine! This is what has been stirring for so long. This has been the cry of your heart for years, hidden deep down but now here it is, that first glimpse of dream-turned-reality. Within reach, right before your very eyes, so nearly there.
And as you stand there at the threshold of everything you’ve ever dared dream about with that cocktail of excitement and fear rising in equal measure, the other voice kicks in. The one that gently tells you to take a step back from the threshold. It whispers to you that passing through that door will have its costs. It’s too good to be true. Or even worse, what lies in front of you is all a mirage and you’d be foolish to walk through. It will disappear as soon as you enter. It’s better to survey the land from the doorway, to distance yourself from it just in case. To stand at the threshold just watching. It’s better to quietly let the dream die now before sacrifices are made, bridges are burned and there’s no safe way back.
Threshold moments have power. Many see them as the end of a long journey – they finally glimpse what their hearts have longed for, but they stop, exhausted, and find themselves settling in the doorway to all they’ve hoped for. Never actually crossing through and taking hold of it. Tired and exhausted they find contentment in their reasoning that they’ve made it this far, that they can see it from a distance.
But the truth is, these threshold moments are just the start of the adventure. They are only just the beginning. So step in, take courage and move forward. You have been called for such a time as this.”
p.s. I do not like when people say cryptic things like “good things are coming!” and “I can’t wait to tell you about this thing I’ve been working on!”. I don’t know why, but it always bothers me. So here I am, sort of being cryptic about the details of my exact situation and I’m a little annoyed at myself. I’m okay if you’re annoyed at me, too.
The truth is, there are things I’m working on that I’m not yet ready to share, but more than anything else I just sense that this is a new season for me. No one can keep doing what they’ve always done and not expect there to be changes. When I started a business, I was freshly graduated from college and not yet married. When I started a blog I was a mom to babies and just needed a place to be creative. Now, I have teenagers and different hobbies and desires. THIS IS GOOD! We should grow! We should change! (that’s me reminding myself of truth and giving myself a pep-talk because do you know what I don’t like? Change.).
Anyway, I just wanted to put some words to screen about transitions and quieting down and paying attention and listening to God and trusting that His power is made perfect in our utter weakness. I hope you find yourself somewhere in here and that you can exhale knowing that you are not alone. xoxo.