I used to be the first person to declare that I was not creative. To be fair, there’s been many seasons in my life that I’ve been surrounded by highly creative people whether it be in the area of music, drawing, painting, etc. I would compare my talents (or lack thereof) with others, which left me frustrated and believing that God did not grace me with creativity. I took this stance so hard that, when we started Ten Thousand Homes, I made my case that creativity could not be a value of the organization.
I wonder if God was sitting in heaven laughing at my absurdity, because absurd it was. I’m not exactly sure when things started to shift, but thankfully they did. As I dabbled in photography, knitting, sewing, and interior design, I realized that creativity takes on many different forms. I also realized that my Enneagram 1 self didn’t have to do creative things perfectly. The wise words of Ira Glass transformed and inspired me to just do, because the more you do, the better you actually get.
After years of trying my hand at various creative outlets, not only did I realize that I was creative but that I needed creativity in my life. I went from stating that creativity could not be one of our organizational values to being one of the biggest advocates for it and incorporating it into our training programs. I realized just how life giving it was.
As seasons have ebbed and flowed, so have my creative ventures. I love learning new things (although I want to be perfect from the get go), so I recently decided to try my hand at refinishing furniture. It’s hot. It’s dirty. It’s a lot of work. But I love it. I think it’s the transformative process of taking something that’s seen better days and breathing new life into it that has me hooked. I still have a lot to learn, but I think I’m getting better every day!
I had a revelation recently. I realized that anger isn’t a bad emotion. Since I was young, I associated it as being a negative emotion and something to avoid. The problem with avoiding any emotion is that it doesn’t go away. It just grows and festers beneath the surface. Stuffing anger only leads to rage which isn’t good.
Here’s why it’s actually a good emotion. One, it shows you care, and caring is a good thing. Two, it also shows you are passionate about something. Three, it’s an indicator that something is going on inside which presents an opportunity to step back and take a look at what is causing it. Discovering the why can bring a lot of freedom.
We’ve been using a motto around our house recently. “Let me feel this emotion.” Letting ourselves feel anger and any other emotion that comes up is so healthy. Jesus leaned into his anger. We need to lean into ours, too. There is something so very healing and freeing about it.
I’ve been thinking about change a lot lately. Jeremy and I recently went to a weekend workshop where the focus was entirely on talking about change. Here’s the thing. Change is inevitable. We can either embrace it or dig our heels in and talk about “the way things were.”
I think the older you get, the harder change gets. You have a lot of life experiences. Technology is changing so much that it’s hard to keep up. Not only is it hard to “keep up with the times,” but it’s hard to change our ways and “how we’ve always done it.”
I recently read a devotional that referenced Matthew 3:2 where Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” I’ve always associated the word repent with shame and condemnation. I’ve done something wrong, so I need to repent. Did you know the Greek word here actually means to turn around, to change? That’s it. Just change. I can’t be so in love with my way of thinking and my way of doing that I’m not willing to turn away from myself and change. It doesn’t even have to mean that I’ve done something wrong. Maybe I just need to be brave enough to change the programs, thinking, and ways I’ve always relied on.
God calls us on a journey of faith to change, to let go. In Matthew 18:1-5, He even says that unless we change and become like little children, we won’t enter the kingdom of heaven. When I think of a child’s mind, they are open, curious, question askers. They are absorbing and learning, and their minds are so very impressionable. They aren’t closed to anything.
Change ain’t easy. I’m sure we can all agree on that. As I walk on this journey of faith, my goal is to keep that childlike open, pliable mind so that change doesn’t cause me to dig my heels in and live in the past. There’s freedom that comes from letting go. I’d rather use my energy experiencing what’s to come than dwelling on what was.
Several months ago, Jeremy and I decided to eliminate the word “should’ from our vocabulary. It’s not until you try to omit something that you realize just how much you use it. We were doing a lot of shoulding, and we had no idea. You might be wondering why we suddenly ostracized this innocent six letter word. Well, here’s why.
It only seemed to bring feelings of guilt, shame, regret, and obligation.
“I should have done that.” “You should do this.”
Do you hear it? My personality is notorious for being hard on myself, especially if I made a decision that turned out to have negative consequences. Should has never helped matters. I can’t go back to the past and do it different. Yes, I can learn from mistakes, but should was creating a permanent home in the past and leaving me feeling regretful. There’s nothing redeeming about regret. And telling someone you should do this or that creates a sense of obligation for them by telling them what to do, especially if it conflicts with the direction they were going.
So should had to go.
We’ve tried to replace it with other words like could. Could indicates possibility which has a much more hopeful ring to it. We are recovering should-ers, but we’re getting there…
My husband had a brilliant idea when our kids were little. He suggested taking each kid on a special trip when they turned 13 and then at 18. I’m all about celebrating birthdays (especially when it’s my own) and was totally on board to celebrate these milestones in such a special way. Being the savvy jet setters that we are, our kids started dreaming big when we told them of this grand idea. We quickly realized that we had to set a few boundaries for these trips.
For the 13th, we had to stay in country. We were living in South Africa at the time so Joshua and Jeremy hiked the southernmost tip of Africa to celebrate Joshua’s. For Emma Grace’s she opted for a trip to Durban to enjoy the beach, hotel life, and a little pampering.
For their 18th, we told them they could pick anywhere. At 13, Emma Grace chose Greece and never deviated from that decision. For five years, we planned and saved air miles until last Summer, just a couple of months before her eighteenth birthday when we boarded a plane to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
I will share our adventures in future posts, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from going on these trips, it’s this. The experience together is worth all the money you will spend to make this happen. It’s incredibly bonding and something your kids will remember forever. I have never once regretted spending money on a shared experience with someone.
Celebrate life. Celebrate milestones. Celebrate people. You’ll be oh so glad you did.