Well, this week’s post is a little different, but this week has been a little different, too.
Sunday night marks the start of the Jewish new year: Rosh Hashanah. In our house, we celebrate many of the Jewish holidays, as Jesus himself had likely done. We blow a shofar, or ram’s horn, (yes we have one stored away in our closet!). And, this isn’t a part of the Biblical holiday, but it’s a long-standing tradition to eat apples and honey to signify a sweet new year. Grace likes the horn blowing and apple + honey eating : )
This year, in particular, is perfect timing for me. And perhaps for you too.
I shared this week that I have been feeling a shift. I thought the dust had settled from our year of change (having two babies, our adoption, wanting to quit my business earlier this year, and lots more), but it seems to keep settling. Even Sarah and the ladies in our office have noticed. We are feeling more like ourselves but changed. And the more the dust settles, Ari and I are seeing just how challenging this year really was. I’m still trying to make sense of the emotions we experienced.
And then Rosh Hashanah began to approach. And it got me thinking. Just as nothing is ever truly wrapped up at the end of a calendar year, I don’t feel like I have a perfect ending on this season. But, holidays and milestones can help us move forward because they make us pause.
Did you just feel that? A little pang of anxiety about the word, “pause.” Yes, I felt it too. It’s a good word, but it’s hard to do, isn’t it? We sometimes don’t want to face what’s waiting for us in the pause. And for me, I know the pause means more change. Good change. But, boy howdy there has been a lot of change this year.
But, pausing is life-giving. Pausing invites the tangled ties of tension, fear, anxiety, and worries, to have space to unravel. It gives us margin to let the dust fully settle. And in that settling and stillness, something happens. We are finally able to see clearly. We can see where we are, in order to move to what’s next. Pausing helps us stop to ask, “Is this the direction I should be going, or should I set my foot on new ground?”
And that’s why we blow the shofar. It makes us all stop and listen.
The end of a year leaves me part sad to let go, and part really grateful for the fresh start ahead. But, there’s nothing magical about January 1st. Sundown on Sunday, whether you have a shofar or not, could indeed be the start of something new for you, too.
So my first tip this week for making progress on what matters, little by little, is:
1. Pause. Even briefly. Let your dust settle a bit more, too. Let whatever you’ve been carrying settle in, and answer this question: How you are doing? I often fear answering this question. I’m afraid of burdening people, or being too much, or–even in times when I’m genuinely content and great–I sometimes fear discouraging people who aren’t feeling that way too. But, I know for sure that starting where we are allows us to move to what’s next… even if that means staying, abiding, or becoming more content in the wait for something. I want to know your real answer, and I’ll give you mine below too. Pause. Feel whatever it is. Give it words. How are you really doing?
2. Name your fear. In the same vein, what fear has been swimming in your heart lately? Often we fear success. The kind of success I fear is the bigger/more/doing it all kind. To me, right now, success means smaller, and yet more alive. My biggest fear is succeeding at things that don’t matter. What’s yours? There are no wrong answers here. Whatever it is, give it words. Get it out of your head and heart.
3. Press in. I loved my friend Jess’ “No Filter” newsletter this week about what to do when you aren’t feeling God. I said this exact phrase to Ari several times last weekend. He prayed over me, and I kept reminding myself that a lack of feeling doesn’t mean a lack of faith. This restlessness caused me to shake things up and lay all my feelings at God’s feet. It went something like this, “God, I feel like you are distant from me. I want to be close to you so much. I am here. I am willing. I want to know you more. Can you help me figure this out?” One of Jess’s tips is to reach out and tell someone if you’re feeling this way–like I did with Ari. If you don’t have an Ari, I’d love to be your listening ear, and I’d love to pray alongside you. Let me know in the comments if you are feeling this way.
4. Listen in. I didn’t know this radio interview was going to be live on air till five minutes beforehand (I am used to doing them pre-recorded), but it was refreshing to let go and recount some of the hardest parts of my story with Lynne. The hard things ended up bringing me the most joy. Beauty came from ashes.
5. Stop talking about it, and just do it. I love my friend Val’s post on creating a habit of prayer–particularly tip number 6. We often say, “I need to pray more.” Her advice: instead of saying you need to pray, just start praying right then and there.
6. Get it done, right then and there. No, I didn’t accidentally type the same tip twice. As we move into our busy season, we’re doing this with our work too. We’re trying something new: doing things in meetings. If we talk about emailing someone, we start writing the email during the meeting. Need to update out Instagram bio? Do it in the meeting. Need to write text for a video? Let’s do it together right then. Done, and done! We have re-titled our meetings “Team Doin’s.” If you don’t have a team and work solo, this still applies to you. Instead of writing everything down on a list to do later, do some of them. Up your efficiency, and skip the list.
7. What’s your one thing? On Facebook live this week, I asked what your one thing is that you’d like to grow over the next three months. I’d love to hear your answer. I’ll post mine below too. I always love reading your thoughts.
I just have seven things this week, so I’ll use the last three spots as simple reminders for both of us : )
8. Tell me how you are really doing. I’ll tell you too.
9. Name your fear—whatever it is. There are no wrong answers.
10. What’s your the one thing you want to grow over the next three months?
Here’s to our sweet new year, friends.