Sep 30, 2016

LITTLE BY LITTLE / Time to Pause

Share [Sassy_Social_Share]
img_5308

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.

img_5308

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.

FullSizeRender

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.

img_4915

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.

Lara Casey signature

P.S. I’m about to do my October PowerSheets (and Goal Refresh) live on Instagram stories. The ladies in my office are also doing theirs live on the shop account. Join us today!

24 Comments

  1. Chalyse Meiklejohn on September 30, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Ugh I SO needed to read this! We’re in a hard season right now… waiting. We’re in the middle (it feels like middle but I guess more of the end) of an international double adoption. Two of our kids live in Africa and we haven’t seen them for months but they SHOULD be home by now… and yet we wait for final paperwork to be able to bring them home to our family and make us a family of 6. It’s so hard waiting… we got another “not today” this morning. I’m ANGRY… THAT’S how I’m really doing. Because they should be home by now, yet these unexpected delays are keeping them from us, their new family… keeping them from safety and health and comfort. And for what?? God knows. But, I don’t. And that’s hard for me. Patience has never been easy for me so the obvious answer to all of this is that God is teaching me patience. But my husband is the most patient person ever to exist, and yet he’s stuck waiting too. So I’m confused. I’m angry. I’m impatient. I miss my two kids like crazy; I’m heartbroken. So that’s how I’m really doing. I’m trying trying TRYING to see God in this… to trust even when I don’t understand. I know all the verses, I’ve read all the devotionals that remind me to just wait and trust. But that doesn’t make it easy to do! 😉 My fear is that I’ll never be “good enough” and my other fear is that my kids will never come home. Can I be really honest? I feel like I’m praying the wrong things, or not praying enough, or like God is waiting for me to be a “good enough” mom to bring our other 2 kids home to us. That’s my truth right now. I know it’s silly and wrong but that’s how I feel. I resonate with what you said about feeling distant from God right now. So in the next 3 months, I want to grow in trusting God. He’s already taught me so SO much in these past nearly 12 months of this adoption process but I think I have more learning to do… and more growing. I want to be patient, wait for and trust for His BEST. And SERVE HIM while I’m waiting, instead of wallowing in self pity and confusion. 😉 Ahhh… thanks for giving me an outlet to vent. <3

    • Emily D. on September 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      Praying for you, Chalyse! Hugs!

  2. Cathy Van de Casteele on September 30, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I love that your family is using the Jewish New Year to symbolize a shift for your family.
    When I was in counseling a few years ago after two miscarriages, my counselor talked about praying and asking God for bookends for my grief. Not saying that I would no longer be sad for those lost babies, but that there would be a tangible sign or thing from God to indicate that my season of healing was over. For me, it was a camping trip with my family. I came back refreshed and more alive. I still miss those two babies, but having that “bookend” to that season was so valuable for me.

  3. Emily D. on September 30, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I’m going on a silent church retreat this weekend, so that going to be my pause! I will pray for all of you while I’m there!
    When I was doing the Powersheet refresh, the word “Authenticity” leapt up at me and became my word for the next three months. I want to live an authentic, Christ-centered life. I want to do what he put me here to do.
    But at the same time, I’m afraid of being that vulnerable. What if I put it all out there and no one responds? Or worse, people respond negatively? One of my monthly goals is to send out another book proposal. Hopefully this time I’ll get the response I want, but….I know I have to be authentic, vulnerable. I have to be the person God created me to be and do what He created me to do. But it’s a scary thought!

  4. Lara on September 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    How I’m doing: a little nervous today about the next three months, and all we have going on—implementing new changes in our business, new company name, new titles, new roles, new products we are launching, new blog launching, and continuing to be deeply rooted with my family. But I am typing this before doing my PowerSheets. I’ll check back in to tell you how I’m feeling after.

    My fear: succeeding at things that don’t matter. Growing things that don’t point to God. Making decisions that aren’t based on His wisdom. Those are my fears!

    The one thing I want to grow over the next three months: willingness to be changed, and to live differently than we ever have. I want a more rooted, mature faith life. Also, I’ve been trying to make our house more of a home. Our house wasn’t prepared to have this many kids so close in age, and it we’ve had so many makeshift spaces, things that don’t work, and lots of things that felt off-limits to the kids. So, I’ve been working on changing that. I want this little space to be a place of, as Sally Clarkson says, “belonging and becoming.”

    • Emily Enockson on November 30, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Amen friend! I am praying for your right now. May God’s peach and presence cover your household today. <3 u!

  5. Tiffany on September 30, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Having just turned 25 a few weeks ago, I am at a place where I can finally admit that I have no clue as to what to do with my life – and that is a hard thing to admit for a girl that has had plans for her life since she was a little girl! I just left my job earlier this month after months of prayer and with the green light from my husband, but I still don’t know if I made the right decision. So right now, my dear is this season and the unknown: will I find another job, what is truly my passion, how can I make a difference in this world? So many questions! I think I am having a true quarter-life crisis here, ha! Also, we had a miscarriage late last year, and we still aren’t pregnant. So I have this nagging fear that I won’t ever get pregnant. With all of that being said, I really want to grow quiet in my heart, spirit and home. Lately, my thoughts have been going a mile a minute (even in my sleep!), and I know that in order to hear God clearly and to be obedient, I need to calm my anxious heart.

    • Lauren on September 30, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Tiffany, may I let you know that you are being prayed over. That your womb would be filled with Gods blessing and that your hearts desire would be met. After two VERY long seasons of infertility with no luck from medical assistance we were gifted with two healthy miracle boys and now pregnant with our third after waiting to adopt for two years. If I may remind you of one small token that carried me through our years of infertility, There are times God knows that all that is left is faith the size of a mustard seed. And he doesn’t expect faith the size of mountains in our weak moments. Let Him be the mighty one! Bring your seed and He will add it to all He brings.

    • Kristina on October 1, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      Tiffany, I feel you! I will turn 25 at the end of November and I am nowhere near where I thought I would be at this age. Not married, not done with my education, haven’t found my “dream job” yet and I could go on and on. BUT what I know is that I am truly and unconditionally loved by God and that He is a good good father who will guide me in the right direction. His timing is always perfect and even when I am frustrated and impatient I know that He sees the big picture where I only see what is going on right now. I need to remind myself of this often so I pray for you that this would be a reminder for you too – you are LOVED and God is good and His timing for your life is PERFECT!

  6. Lauren on September 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    How am I doing: to total strangers may I be real honest. I am a mess. 34 weeks pregnant with blood pressure complications a breech lil one and contractions. Which has made me pause even though I didn’t and don’t want to. Because I own a salon, I have my own client base, and am the wife of a pastor of a new church plant. I feel out of control and like I am free falling.
    My fear: letting go of what I know and love only to find out the calling I think I have is all wrong for me.
    The one thing I want to grow: my ability to find my value outside of worldly success, and redefine me through the lense of scripture and Gods perspective.

  7. Rasheda on September 30, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    How I’m doing- I’m growing and I love it. Of course we never actually see ourselves as growing. But then something happens and we get to reflect on if that would’ve happened before and how we may have reacted. Growing definitely hurts sometimes, but again, I love it.

    My fear: Starting my blog at the end of October. I want to make sure that it gives glory to God. Sometimes I too feel as though I’m not enough.

    What I want to grow in over the next 3 months: It’s hard to narrow down to 1 thing. I definitely want to desperately grow closer to God more and more. Honestly, with that I feel like everything will fall into place. But to be more specific, I would like to grow in managing my finances better, being more disciplined, managing time, and grow in patience.

  8. Jillian Schweitzer on September 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I just wanted to say that every week, there is something wonderful in your post Lara, that I didn’t know I needed. Thank you.

  9. Madeleine on September 30, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    How I’m doing. I feel a little lost. I’m trying to juggle so many things right now–work, graduate school, planning a wedding, quality time with friends and family, and time with God–and as soon as I succeed in one area another goes to the wayside. It’s been a joyful season but I have days where I feel so disconnected from God and so far from who He is calling me to be.

    My fear: That people will only see me for what I was or what I have done in my past, and not as a child of God.

    What I want to grow: I want to be intentional about mornings. Instead of pressing “snooze” 4 times, I want to get to the point where I can get up, eat something healthy, and spend time in the word.

    And thank you so much Lara for all of the encouragement that you and your team pour out. It is such an inspiration and has made such a positive impact on my life!

  10. Sally on October 1, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Unmotivated and in a rut with everything – spiritual life, weight, relationships.. Feeling very stuck with our current situation and wanting to be nearer to family. Even looking at the power sheets makes me feel uncomfortable because I feel like if I even set a goal I just won’t achieve it and will give up / give in due to lack of motivation.

  11. Abigeya on October 1, 2016 at 7:06 am

    The one thing I would like to grow on in the next three months is to be able to be calm; to embrace the moment (now) in whatever situation I go through.

  12. lindsay on October 1, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Lara,
    I opened Instagram this morning and watched you work through your Powersheets. It made me tear up. I have been feeling a little lost and frazzled in this season. Seeing you purposefully planning and dreaming inspired me that I need to do the same to gain clarity. You are a gift 🙂
    How I’m doing: I’m feeling stretched thin as I try to wade through responsibilities at home, church, and community. This has been a year of change in many ways for us too. I need to pray for God’s wisdom and guidance to make space for the things that really matter and let go of the rest.
    My fear: letting down my family because I tried to please everyone else.
    What I want to grow: a peaceful home and intentional community outreach ministry. This will mean letting go of several other responsibilities and some hard choices. I am also going to be working through The Life Giving Home in an effort to bring more peace and love to our space. I am excited about how God is working in my heart these days and know His plans are far greater than mine.

  13. Kristina on October 1, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    How I am doing: Good on the surface and a bit anxious below the surface. Lots of good stuff happening but also big things that are scary because they are unknowns.

    My fear: Not being able to prioritize well or in powersheets languagn: saying yes to the wrong things and not saying no enough times.

    What I want to grow: Discipline. Especially in my faith and my health.

    Praying for you Lara and the busy season that is ahead for y’all!

  14. Katie @ A Place to Dwell on October 3, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Oh, Lara, this post is so, so what I needed to read as I begin this next new week. I, too, feel like I need to pause and press in. And I LOVE what you said about a lack of feeling not being a lack of faith. Yes! Goodness, did I need that reminder.
    I have been feeling overwhelmed this morning and facing the lies of “not enough.” But thank goodness for His grace and reminder that I don’t have to be enough, because HE IS. The verse I was reflecting on this morning is 1 Philippians 6: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I also love the MSG translation: “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”

    And then in Jess’ newsletter that section about getting quiet…YES! So many times over. I so often meet and commune with God on the go, and this is something I really want to intentionally change. Even on weekend mornings where I think I’ll have lots of time just for me and Him, I end up filling it with all kinds of extra things and to-dos and that quiet time with Him becomes much too crowded. My biggest fear used to be being single and doing life alone, but I think it’s evolved to become living a life that isn’t making the most of where He has me for His glory. There will always be different seasons of life, and I can choose whether or not I press into Him, praise Him for how good and faithful He is always, in every season, and live in such a way that shines His light. Thank you for the encouragement today! 🙂

  15. Carol on October 4, 2016 at 12:35 am

    How I’m doing: I’m in pain and a mess, physically. Trying to be strong in myself instead of leaning into my Lord.

    My fear: that I’m never good enough, that my life is meaningless, that I will not have direction and meaning in this season, that my grandchildren will not remember me, that my family will fall away from faith

    To grow: prayer

  16. Amanda Bixler on October 5, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I love the simplicity challenge in this – it’s easy to be overwhelmed by wanting to change everything at once, to think that the more we add to our to do list, the more important we are or something silly like that. Thank you for the reminder to pause and breathe, to choose life over hustle, to choose joy over stress.

    – Amanda | amandabixler.com

  17. Monica on October 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    How I’m doing: Better, actually. Better than I have been in the past 18 months or so. And all the credit goes to me leaning on the Lord and really pursuing Him. I’ve had more peace in the midst of this busy season than I have had in a long while.

    What I want to grow in: Trusting God, and turning to Him with every little detail of my life. I know He is pruning me and I’m thankful, even when it doesn’t feel great. I also want to grow in cherishing my little family and our little space.

    My fear: Lara you actually put into words one of mine-fear of not making God-centered decisions. I’m so accustomed to fretting over a decision for what seems forever and then finally making a decision with a bit of people approval attached to it. So when I do make them on my own, I’m still anxious about it.

  18. Caroline W on October 6, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    How I’m doing: Better then yesterday. Yesterday I was in the ER all night with a blood clot after my tonsillectomy. God held me close. Luckily, I don’t need to go back to surgery. I’m tired. I go back to work next week, but God is good and so faithful.

    What I want to grow in: Prayer. Constant prayer. Praying for people when I tell them I will.

    My fear: Having a bland faith. Instead of a faith-filled,energy-filled, love-filled, passion-filled faith. So many prayers for that.

    I love you, Lara <3

  19. Adelyn on October 7, 2016 at 1:30 am

    How I’m doing: I am keeping on keeping on until God opens another door for me. This last 12 months have been incredible. The artistic journey I have been on and the connections with strong Christian women have been inspiring and often I’m awe stricken it is happening to me just because I had said a quiet “yes” to him about 2 years ago. It has been a busy season and my little fledgling art business is just that, fledgling. There is so much to learn and so much to do.

    What I want to grow in: I want to learn even more to the still small voice. Last year was marked with learning to listen and I want to continue to listen more because listening and the acting on what I hear has been emotionally, mentally and spiritually rewarding.

    My fear: Losing sight of why I started this art journey in the first place when and if the business does get busy. I started because I wanted to use whatever talents God gave me but I’m afraid that if I do become successful in my business, I will lose sight of that main purpose. I was given a reminder today through this quote: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck.

  20. April on October 31, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Lara, I have to say this is well written. I especially like the part about Press In….. I have a true faith in God however when bad things happen I find myself pressing out! I often have things happen that would test anyone’s faith irregardless if it directly affects me or not. At time of loss or illness such as Cancer , I find myself so upset how could God let it happen…… At times i answer it is free will and our choices or some dumb crumb like that. I realize these are the best times to Press In! I do not have someone i can discuss this with sometimes I feel alone in my christian faith even at church. I know sounds weird but I am an introvert and have trouble getting close to people. This is my new solution Press In! Thank you for sharing I like you from your blog and you inspire a close walk with God.

Leave a Comment