In case you haven't been around these parts for very long, let me explain. One of my favorite writers, Emily P. Freeman, periodically shares a list of things that she has been learning (in the past she has done this monthly, but I think she recently decided to share them seasonally instead). They always include a healthy mix of the serious and the silly, the poignant and the frivolous. You can find her lists and lots of other beautiful things over on her blog.
So, without further ado, here are a few of the things I've learned over the winter.
1. Minimalism is less about what you possess and more about what possesses you. This realization is totally changing the way I think about my stuff. I watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and was stunned when they said "you can never get enough of what you don't really want." Um, ouch. What makes this lesson all the more important is The Contentment Challenge and really gaining an understanding of the truth that things will never be able to fill and heal me the way that Jesus and his body do.
2. Taking chances on people is always worth it. A couple months ago, I started looking for a local simulcast of IF: Gathering and found one at a tiny storefront church in Clemson. I signed up immediately, without knowing a single person who attended the church or was attending the gathering. And it was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. The women who hosted were some of the warmest and most welcoming that I've ever encountered. Since then, C and I have had dinner with one of the hosts and her husband, and another attendee and I are planning on getting coffee next week. Another friend and I had an impromptu lunch date after bumping into each other at the hair salon and just getting to spend the time getting to know her better was such a gift to me.
3. The TV show Lost isn't quite as intimidating as I originally thought it would be. I don't know why I do this, you guys, but I let hype intimidate me. It really is ridiculous, and I know there's a lot I'm probably missing out on that I would really enjoy because of this. C introduced me to Lost last weekend, and we've almost reached the end of the first season. I honestly thought I wouldn't understand it, but so far, it isn't so bad. I just wonder if there will ever come a time when I don't hate every single person on the island with the exception of Jack and Sayid.
4. The best remedy for being overwhelmed by the tension is to do small things with great love. I cannot tell you how much this has healed my heart, you guys. A couple months ago, a friend shared that she, her husband, and their daughter were all battling the same stubborn flu. So I offered to bring over dinner, and I think I ended up being more blessed than they were. It's why I love writing love letters with MLL and picking up the tab when I can and just being more willing and more open with my own brokenness.
5. Confession is a big deal. Lately, my car has looked like a confession booth. As a recovering good girl, I have to admit that confession never used to feel like a big deal. It wasn't as if I had a lengthy rap sheet, after all. But recently, I have started to simply confess my need for Jesus. And the fact that my life is usually plagued by mixed up priorities, and all the times I feed my gifts, my body, my marriage, my identity, my relationships to shame. Just saying it out loud while driving to Target or the post office helps me to feel lighter.
6. As a low energy person, I must take advantage of days when I'm feeling motivated. Speaking of confessing, there were a handful of days over the past month or so that I really felt driven to get things done, but instead, I clicked next episode. Inevitably, I ended up hating myself for this. So I'm really going to try to be intentional about how I steward those days in the future.
7. Maybe people see me after all, and that's really okay. I am used to being the needed, rather than needy. My preference always leans more towards wanting to help others before I am helped. Perhaps the most simple way to put it is that my most prominent spiritual gifts are hospitality and service. Which is great, except for the fact that it means I struggle alone more often than not. But a couple weeks ago, a friend texted me after seeing C at work and basically said hey, I know that things aren't easy and I know you must be hurting, but I just want you to know that I see you guys and I appreciate you. Cue the ugly crying.
8. The word panic actually comes from the name of the false god Pan. You guys, could Jesus be more kind? Could he have made this any more simple and obvious? All my panic is directly correlated to my tendency to drift towards lesser loves.
What are some things you've learned lately? Let me know in the comments below.