This week I’m doing my first link-up with Emily P. Freeman in which we look back on what we learned in the previous month. This is kind of a doozy because March was a big month for me as far as spiritual healing and growth, which means we’re going to get a little vulnerable here. Which brings me to…
1. I learned I need to let myself be more vulnerable. I’m pretty good at that in writing (although there’s room for improvement; also, some people *cough*myhusband*cough* might say I have a tendency to be a little too vulnerable, if by “vulnerable” you mean “tending to overshare about things nobody wants or needs to know”), but face to face I can be pretty reserved and closed off, and it’s hard, even online, for me to reach out, put myself out there and take risks with people. So, praying about that, and resolving to work on it.
2. I learned that I’m a fan of Emily P. Freeman. I’d read posts on (In)Courage and on her blog before that gave me that eerie feeling that she’s peeled back my skull and peered directly into the inner workings of my brain, but after reading her books Simply Tuesday (which I finished in early March) and A Million Little Ways (which I finished last week), that feeling intensified to the point that I got all Anne Shirley over how she’s a kindred spirit. That lady GETS me.
3. I learned that I need to be kinder to my own soul. This includes accepting–nay, even embracing–how God made me instead of constantly fighting it and believing that I’m not enough. It means shedding the lies that the enemy used to prevent me from becoming the woman God wants me to be. And it means understanding that desire, in and of itself, is not a sin, is not selfish, and it’s okay to move beyond survival mode and spend time and money on the things my soul needs to thrive. It’s okay to want nice things for myself.
4. I learned that I enjoy passing the evening with a book instead of a TV show. I mean, I love my shows, don’t get me wrong. But we were in such a habit of feeling like we had to have something to watch together in the evenings, even when our shows aren’t on. But our Prime membership expired and we haven’t gone back to Netflix yet, and we’re down to just a small handful of network shows each week, so for the last couple of weeks we’ve been spending a lot of evenings just sitting quietly together and reading, and it’s been lovely. And I got a TON of reading done this month, which was nice.
5. I learned that my soul needs these things in order to really thrive:
- Quiet and stillness
- Opportunities to sit, think, process and dream
- Opportunities to be creative, not just in writing but also hands-on things like crafting and visually creative things like graphic design or even just doodling
- Beauty and art
- Opportunities to connect with nature
- Pretty things: a pretty home, pretty surroundings, pretty clothes, pretty tools, etc.
- Intimate connections with people — having a few close relationships with people who really understand me rather than a lot of casual acquaintances
- Books/good stories via any medium
- Kindness and gentleness from others; assurance that I’m loved and cared for
6. I learned my “love language,” which is, probably unsurprisingly, me being a word herder and all, words of affirmation. I also realized that I need to feel really listened to, heard and understood in order to really feel loved on a deep level. A close second is physical affection, which also isn’t very surprising, seeing as how I’m both a hugger and a patter.
7. I learned that I think God is nudging me toward writing inspirational romance, except then I went to the bookstore and checked out that section and it all seemed to be stuff about either cowboys or Amish people, so probably that’s the wrong label for it. If there’s a category for chick-lit style books featuring strong and snarky but broken heroines figuring out their lives that are clean and explore Christian themes without being all preachy, then that’s the category I mean.
8. I learned a lot about Jesus. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been slowly working my way through the Gospels (I’m still in Matthew — that’s how slowly) with an eye toward trying to connect more with the human side of Jesus. When I think of Bible characters I can relate to, people like Elijah and Peter and Paul spring to mind — flawed, broken, plain ol’ human people who were prone to screwing up sometimes. As much as I love my Savior, I’ve always had a hard time relating to Jesus as a person. This latest round of gospel reading has really opened my eyes in that regard. This is stuff I plan to elaborate on here on the blog at some point.
9. I learned that I enjoy reading memoirs. It used to be like pulling teeth to get me to read nonfiction, but this year I set an intention to broaden my reading horizons, and so far I’ve been sticking to it. After reading the above-mentioned books, plus Wild in the Hollow and Bird by Bird (which is about as much memoir as it is writing advice), I’m eager to read more in this vein.
10. I learned that I’m really tired of feeling bad and being in constant pain and I’m finally ready to do something about it. Which is why on Monday I’ll be kicking off my first Whole30. I’m slightly trepidatious but mostly I’m looking forward to it.