A few weeks ago, I only published one post on this blog (for the whole week). At any other point in my four-year “career” of blogging, I would have given myself a good long pep-talk, stayed up late, pushed through, and made something happen. I would not have let one post sit lonely on the home screen for the entire week.
The truth is that I wrote more than that one post that week, but the other pieces weren’t for my blog and they weren’t published yet. I had houseguests for a couple of days. I wasn’t feeling that great physically. And—this is the big one—I realized over my summer off how much healthier and happier I feel when I actually let myself rest from 8 to 10 at night, instead of pushing through deadlines and working like the wild-eyed writer I’d become after four years of blogging.
I’m kind of done with late nights, y’all.
If my summer away from writing taught me one thing (besides the fact that I like to rest and read and watch TV at night) it’s that it’s okay to embrace the realities of my life as the primary caregiver of my kids. Having a strong work ethic doesn't mean living up to impossible standards.
When I published the book last spring one of my favorite things to hear from others was, “Wow. How did you manage to write a book while your kids were so young?” Outwardly, I would shrug and smile. I’d say, “it was challenging!”, and warm my ego in the astonished glow of my well-wishers.
The truth was that writing a book was exhausting. I wept for the time I spent away from my kids. I wept for how out of control the rest of my life felt. I wept for the time I didn’t have to care for friends. I lived in a state of constant anxiety and shamefully passed that anxiety along to my children in our daily life.
That’s not the answer you hear when I say, “It was challenging.” You won’t hear from my husband about how much he sacrificed his own rest and leisure and friendships so I could be alone in the other room writing my book.
Does that mean I regret writing Found? Not at all. I felt called to that book and I knew it was a story I needed to tell while my kids were young. But that doesn’t mean I was wise in how I wrote it. Experience is always the great teacher, right?
Only in writing a book was I able to learn how to do it in a more healthy way. I am the one in control of my deadlines. I am the one in control of my health. I know what triggers my anxiety. I know what my children need and where they are sensitive.
And I now understand that my gritting my teeth and working through the pain is not enough. The choices I make in my writing life affect my entire family. I need to make wise ones.
What I’m trying to say is that you may have noticed a slower pace around here. I’m not blogging five times a week. I’m not even blogging three times a week (unless I’m super inspired!). And that’s okay.
Now, I know all the rules about blogging. Two posts a week doth not a popular blog make. But here’s the secret I’m accepting about myself and this blog: I have never had the makings of a “popular blogger.” I'm not a list maker in regular life, much less in blogging life. I am slow in my reading and writing and thinking, which means I'm not quick to have a strong opinion about the important issue everyone seems to be discussing on Twitter. I’d rather write at a slow pace. I'd rather write about the same spiritual disciplines that people have been working through for a couple thousand years.
She said, “I don’t say anything good fast. That’s the truth.” I totally agree. The things I write that I’m most proud of take a lot of thinking and time and revision. My style simply doesn’t fit so well with the frantic pace of blog-culture.
The fast pace of the blog world also doesn’t really line up with what I’m most passionate about writing. I love to think and write about theology, but I don't like to debate theological issues. Not here, on the Internet. I'll talk with you about them over coffee, though.
Maybe that's a cop-out. But I'm learning to understand the power and weight of words, especially those shared publicly. I don't want to toss them around. I don't want to claim knowledge where I'm still in process. I want to be a peacemaker. And in our particular culture of Christianity, in this moment, words are flung and hurled and slammed at one another---from both the left and the right. I long for my words to not lean right or left, but to sink down, to lie still and take root.
If you read my blog it might just be because you like that sort of thing. And, I’m starting to actually believe this: If you read my blog you’re not looking for a reaction to everything happening in the world. You’re probably okay with a two-time-a-week contemplative meditation.
I hope my slowing down around here reflects the slowing down in the rest of my life as well. I’m reading a huge pile of books about time-stress and rest and I’m doing battle with my overwhelmed nature.
So if there’s a moment you find yourself wondering why I’m not writing more, I hope you’ll picture that this slow-down is pressing its roots into the rest of my life as well. I’m walking slowly. I’m taking naps. I’m playing games and making dinners and reading books. I’m learning to live wholeheartedly.
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