Sometimes just starting is the hardest part.
Last week I was in North Carolina for my seventh time at Making Things Happen. Each and every time I’ve walked away from the experience, I have felt like a new person. Lighter. Hopeful. Inspired. Ready to make IT happen whatever IT may be at that time in my life. If you’ve been before, you know exactly what I mean.
Or maybe you don’t. Because perhaps you too have left your time at MTH feeling the way I did last Tuesday.
I felt a little flat. Even after two days of hard work. I felt uninspired. In the wrong season to make IT happen. Undeserving. Just too blah to dig in and worry about all the things stirring in my heart. I figured I could deal with all this when I didn’t feel so worn out. I was tired from travelling with a 9 week old and being up all night with him. I was guilty that I left my husband in a hotel room with our baby for two days because he isn’t used to such long hours alone with Lachlan. I felt like my well didn’t get to fill back up with those treasured late night conversations with my girlfriends at MTH because I roomed with my husband and our son needed me more than I needed a pj party with my sisters. I certainly didn’t feel bad about my time away at MTH but I felt a little guilty leaving on Wednesday morning and feeling the opposite of how I wanted, and thought I should, feel.
Yesterday I officially returned from my maternity leave. And if I backtrack to this past Saturday night, I’ll tell you that was the day Andrew and I were both baptized together. I mention that because it’s not lost on me that The Lord had a hand in how my day unfolded yesterday. While I work from my home studio and Lachlan hasn’t yet started day care, my day routine is pretty much the same as it has been over the past 10 weeks. Him by my side, needing me all day, every hour. I have that mom sense now too where a part of me is always listening or looking or thinking about him and whether he is content and safe. It’s like being on high alert all day and night.
But now there’s an element of hustle thrown into my day mix along with prioritizing my time in a new way because it’s emails and client work that comes before vacuuming and doing laundry during naps. It’s refusing to feel frustrated when I have to stop mid project to tend to a little human that needs me (as I type this the video monitor flashes on with a squealing baby; I can’t make this stuff up!) On Sunday night I felt a mix of anxiousness, sadness, and excitement knowing I would officially be on the clock come Monday morning. Many friends texted me encouragement and prayers for the day ahead and some offered me the advice to set my expectations as low as possible so Monday wouldn’t be such a disaster.
And what happened by the end of Monday was a beautiful blessing. I learned many things:
• I really like to work. Always have! I feel fulfilled when I can use my gifts to serve others. I enjoy working hard and seeing results from those efforts.
• I have to change the way I view my time. Time is just different when you have a child. And with the spare time I DO have (aka nap time, time when family babysits or days when Andrew works from home to help with Lachlan), these chunks of time are productivity treasures and to be used as such.
• I didn’t dare give myself the permission to dream (in a career capacity) while I was pregnant. Gina, you inspired this epiphany for me sweet friend. I love you. And without dreams there’s a lack of purpose. On one hand I needed that free brain space to process my pregnancy and everything that came after like my difficult and scary labor experience, and having this sweet new bundle and feeling all the feels, but beyond that I stopped dreaming about my career last summer and told myself my goals and aspirations were too good for me. I was believing this lie! I had accepted that my flame had fizzled out.
• And lastly and the thing that hit home the most last night; sometimes the best thing we can do is just start. Even if that means starting before we feel ready or starting a little off balance. Because starting is often the hardest part. That first step out of the driveway in new sneakers for a non-runner, that first dig into the dry soil for an aspiring gardener, that first hello for the gal at the store who sees a handsome dude that has caught her eye, that first Sunday you walk into church for the first time hoping no one sees you, that first call you make to someone else to break the silence in an estranged relationship. Doing isn’t the hard part. Starting is.
So I have started. I am ready. I am capable. And I am EXCITED! Making Things Happen made me realize all of these things and then some even if it happened almost a week later. I have projects that were put on hold last year, that I want to make happen this year. I want to create a summer bucket list with my boys and cross every single item off. I want to execute our four AMAZING events this year with focus and passion and make it our best season yet. I want to avoid feeling discouraged when a new workshop pops up and I immediately think it means I shouldn’t host my own anymore because I AM making a difference. I want to learn to love my new body but refuse to make excuses when it comes to nurturing it and becoming physically strong again.
I want to make my life happen on purpose instead of letting life happen to me. It is GOOD to be back, y’all!
The photos throughout this post are from the amazing Robyn Van Dyke. If you too want to join us this fall for two incredible days I can tell you the dates will be released in the next couple weeks. The conference sells out time after time so don’t miss out on the opportunity to come to Chapel Hill and give yourself what I think, is the best gift possible. You can also soak up the wonderful (seriously, it’s incredible) new MTH community site here. Make it a wonderful day and week, my friends!