It’s been three weeks since I blogged and I’m going through withdraw.
Honest to goodness withdraw pains.
I have felt a real longing in my heart to be staring at the WordPress screen and writing something. It’s been on my mind constantly, like an old friend that I haven’t spoken to in months. I guess this is how it feels to be a writer.
So what’s been keeping me away? Well it’s all good stuff. All important things. Getting kids ready for back-to-school; volunteering at said school which moved into a beautiful old building this summer and has needed help with renovations and preparations for the new year; helping to prepare for church services; a few dates with my husband; a long-needed day with my sister; fixing up my front porch. And of course that pesky day job of mine (for which I have a renewed love and energy since my trip to our home office in South Africa a few weeks ago). You know, just life.
There isn’t anything new on the list, it just seems it all came at me in abundance in the last three weeks and left me with no time or creative energy in the evenings to write. And this, I think, is the struggle for all blogger/writers/artists/creative types who pursue their creative love and passion in the midst of a busy, fulfilling, beautifully messy life.
I’ve been reading Lysa TerKeurst’s new book “The Best Yes” in small snippets over the last few weeks. One of the things she talks about is how we can find the best “good choice”. You see everything I listed above, everything I devote time to are good things. Good choices. But each “yes” to one of those inevitably means a “no” to some other good choice because there are only 24 hours in the day and this girl needs sleep to function.
So how do we choose which things to say yes to and which to put on hold? How do we avoid putting our creative love on the back-burner in favor of the persistently practical?
Well, I didn’t say I’d finished the book, did I? I don’t know the answer. All I can say is that I know the things that have been pulling my time and attention the last three weeks are seasonal. I only have to get the kids ready for school once a year. After the renovations and repairs are done on the new location the school will need less of my time. After we’re done planning and preparing for the next series at church there will be several weeks before we have to start on the next one. I also know that saying “yes” to these things is directly impacting and helping others.
So, I choose to say “yes” to the things that have the greatest pressing need right now. Where I can do the most good or have the greatest impact in this moment. But I do it carefully. I don’t say “yes” to every request. Then I remind myself that saying “yes” to those things doesn’t mean I’m saying a permanent “no” to my writing. And…I try to stay in tune with my body and my emotions. When that dull ache of desire to write turns into an all-consuming need, it’s time to stop and let myself have that moment.
I don’t claim to have discovered the perfect method. In fact I fail miserably at saying yes to the right things all the time. Or more often I fail at saying yes to the right amount of things and find myself completely overwhelmed. But, I’m getting better. These days I’m trying to listen to my inner voice a bit more. To honor the woman inside who is many things, but can’t be all things at once or she will drown.
So. Today, right now, I’m fulfilling the writer in me and ignoring the laundry, and the dishes, and the emails, and the school, and even my kids, for one hour. Just one hour on a Saturday morning. Because I needed to find her and give her what she needs to keep thriving.