This has been a weird year. It's been challenging because of All the Happenings but it has also been challenging on a deeper, spiritual level. It's been a year of changes and surrender. Of letting go and grabbing hold. Of silence and of massive soul rewrites. And during this time - especially the last three months - I have been spending time in the silent margins of my world, asking God, not what comes next (as is my compulsive habit) but, who is next.
This is so not normal for me. I've loved being a talker, one with more answers than questions. I've loved to talk about what is going on in my life but have forgotten far too often to ask others what is happening in their world. (disclaimer: I am still a work in progress and have the tendency to spew out too many words about me before I even consider asking about you - especially if you are a comfortable person to me. Sorry. Thank you for loving me through my awkward-self-ness). It is this 180 turn in how I relate to the world that has made me pause and reflect on what I put out into the world.
For more than a year, I have been making notes on The Next Book. I wrote about 5,000 words and a really fantastic outline. I felt like I had a really good handle on The Next Book and then all of a sudden I didn't. I don't know that there was a specific moment or incident that was the beginning of the unravelling of this book but I sit here with a pile of tangled yarn where a neatly begun masterpiece once was. I deleted the 5,000 words, tossed out the outline and scribbled over the title. I took an intentional hiatus from blogging and set aside some time to just BE with myself. Be with myself and read.
Actually, I think I blame reading for this tangled yarn that was once my neatly crafted self. I read things that completely undid me. I read things that challenged me, broke me, healed me and shook me. I read things that were exactly how I saw the world and things that brought me to a new place in the world. I read things that resonated with my soul and things that ripped my patched together theology from my hands, dismantled it and left me with only the purest pieces. I read things that utterly changed every part of me - chipping away at the rough edges while moulding and reshaping the best, truest parts of my soul.
Yep, reading is to blame.
So here's the deal. I'm going to start writing again. The Next Book has become The New Book and its imperfectly beautiful. It's everything I never knew I needed to say about the things that matter most to me. I'll blog too. I'm not sure what will come out of me here but I will be real and vulnerable because you are My People. You are here because there is something about these random words that you identify with. I will remember that. I will trust you. I will share with you. I will invite you to join me on this journey.
Sarah Bessey's new book Out of Sorts that was released today. I am part of her launch team which means I got an advanced copy of this gem. Let me tell you, I devoured it in two days and have spent the past month going back and savouring it slowly. I will write reviews and more blog posts about this book in the coming weeks but for now I want to offer you this one line from the book that has turned my world upside down …
I hope we all live like we are loved.
It was this idea that propelled my wandering, wondering heart into this new space. If I really believed that I am loved - loved by my friends, loved by my family, loved by my husband, loved by my Jesus - how would that change how I interacted with the world? How would that change how I spoke? What I wrote about? How I love others? If I lived as if all this love was true, what would my life look like?
I have no answers for you. My well loved life is different from yours. Yours will occur in the spaces you dwell, with the people you love, in the community God has placed you. I can't describe your well loved life - only you can dream it for yourself. I just want you to ask yourself that question. What would your life, your relationships look like if you believed you are loved? How would you flourish in this well loved life? How would you love if you believed you are loved?
Ask. Ponder. Dream.
And live as though you are loved … because you are.
You are loved.
You are cherished.
You are treasured.
You are valued.
You are adored.
You are loved.
God is a lovesick parent over you.