It is important to stop from time to time so that we can take an inventory. It is good for your soul to stop and rest, and in that rest to count and recount. I don’t do it enough and certainly not with any regularity. So when a friend pointed me to Emily P. Freeman‘s seasonal practice of counting the things she has learned. I loved it. I sat down and looked through my photos and instagram to see what stands out to me, the things that I noted in the moment that are bigger than just that moment. I made my own list of things I’ve learned this fall and this is what I have come up with:
1. Just Do It! is more than a great slogan.
I have been struggling with all the little details of blogging. I have been writing lots and posting nothing, The list of impediments comes in columns of busy work lists of what each post needs before it is ready to be published. I need to have the graphics. I need to have the right pictures to make the graphics. I need to add affiliate links. I need to link to other articles. I can’t start writing without an outline. I can’t publish without rereading and editing one more time. SEO, don’t even get me started on that one. The list is long and exhausting and one day I just said I will post this article TODAY! I will take the photos, make the graphics then edit and publish, TODAY. And I did, until there was a technical glitch that required some outside help. But that was resolved and instead of panicking and giving up I JUST DID IT. I made it happen. It felt so good that did it again and again over the next three days. And guess what, I am doing it today with this article.
2. Purging is not one big job, it is a million little jobs.
I have been in the middle of purging and cleaning out the attic, my school room and the bonus room for months now. I have gotten rid of tons of stuff I don’t need and that feels great. But now I have boxes of books and supplies that can go to another homeschool family. So I am systematically taking them to the local Homeschool store to sell in their used section. In the mean time, I still have boxes waiting to go and boxes with things they rejected coming back. So that great idea, ‘Let’s clean out’ is now a months long saga that has required so many decisions I can’t even keep track of each step in the process and I am growing weary. But next week I am going to implement lesson #1 and finish the school room. I am going to hang my curtains and finish cleaning off my desk and style the book shelves. I am JUST going to DO IT! Ill let you know how it is going on instagram.
3. This world is not all there is.
We are so saturated in the philosophy of materialism, and I am talking about more than the world view that says nothing exists outside the matter that we can touch or that physical comfort is more important that spiritual values. Beyond that I am giving myself room to think about a spiritual world that is unseen by us. Christians are so quick to sanitize and demystify the Bible with lots of equations and certainties that I am no longer convinced are true. The Bible is a supernatural book and that makes people uncomfortable. Since I read The Screwtape letters in October, I have been thinking more about the war that rages for humanity and I have found several resources that have made me think in a different way about scripture and why I don’t understand parts of it. I’ve been listening to podcasts by Dr Michael Hieser and I just got his book, The Unseen Realm. After I get my school room in order, and bake all the Christmas cookies, and wrap all the presents, and do all the things required for making merry, I am hoping to read it.
4. Change is good.
As I am changing my mind on matters of theology so much in my world is changing. I am doing all this purging because my girls are growing up and they are leaving to start their own lives very soon. They started down the road to independence years ago and now I am looking at young women who will go out into the world without me. They will take what I have taught them and make something new and I can’t wait to see it. I imagine it will be like this maple tree in my yard. I walked out one day and all of a sudden it was red, beautiful and arresting. We all commented on how beautiful it was, we came back and took pictures of it, we commented on it for days. It surprised us in the best way. The thing is, it happens every year, and every year we are surprised and delighted. It reminds me of how often I have been surprised by my children and it won’t be over when they move out. It will continue to happen even when they are not planted in my home and their radiance will not only be for me to enjoy.
This has been a great exercise to think about what I have learned this fall and why it matters. I encourage you to give it a try. My friend Erica is the one who mentioned this to me so I want to send you over to her blog to read her list. We started blogging at around the same time and I have learned so much from her as we have met over coffee and donuts and pimento cheese biscuits. We call our meetings, The Writer’s Block because it is important to name a thing. She has a lot to say about suffering and God’s goodness.
Now tell me what you have learned. I can’t wait to hear it.