Hustle… Get it Done!… Busy, Busy, Busy!
These are stickers left in the booklets I often buy to decorate my planners with. Why would I leave them? Because I’ve learned something this past year that might just forever change my life.
As I’ve said in previous blogs, I’d grown weary and discouraged over the past couple of years. When January 2023 hit after a hectic holiday season, I fell on my face before God seeking direction. Something needed to change. My life had grown small…stagnant…desolate. Nothing I did flourished. It was like trying to hold sand in my hands while life blew away every last bit of hope and determination.
Then one day as I was scrolling through YouTube, I came across a video. A girl in a dress wandered through the woods, who then returned to her little home that was full of lace, plants, and crafty stuff. At first, I laughed, but then I listened to what she was saying. Next thing I knew, more people like her showed up in my video feed. Because, you know how YouTube is, if you pause on a video, they think it’s something you’re interested in, so they’ll show you more. And more. And more…
Despite the fairy-tale aesthetic these Jane Austen-loving, tea-drinking, women presented, what captivated me most was their calm demeanor as they talked about stepping out of the world’s race. They stopped striving to get more, work more, and stress more. They quit the race. They grew quiet and found a more peaceful way to live.
My interest was piqued.
The theory of more… I’d fallen into that. I’ll be happy if I can only make more money. I’ll be happy if I could sell more books, and gain a bigger following. Want to know something? First, I have no control over all of that, and second, what is truly enough? When do we get there? When do we find satisfaction in reaching a goal? Because, once we attain one goal, then there’s another and another to contend with, you know?
Can we ever gain enough to make us happy?
I’m not so sure.
I had time to notice because I slowed down and appreciated what had already been given to me.
At this point, come early February, I stopped everything I had been striving for. Dropped everything. Writing, social media, goals, wants, needs, desires… all of it. I started listening to what these women had to say about loving my home and making the most of what I had on hand. Isn’t that what the Bible says to do?
I enjoy gardening, but that dark year I had let it go and lost interest during my depression months. All the hard work we did to plant ended up as dried stalks and withered vines. I stopped caring about things that once held a great deal of joy for me. The joy was gone. I’d lost it.
As the holidays approached, I was determined to snap out of the fog I’d allowed to hem me in and ask God to help pull me out of the miry clay I was stuck in.
He did, in case you were wondering.
For as long as we've lived at this house, I’ve decorated according to what I thought others would find acceptable, trendy, whatever.
What I love is trailing vines draping over shelves full of books and odd knick-knacks. Flowers, lots of flowers, and little treasures from nature. I also enjoy finding figurines of animals, gnomes, and faeries. But I was always afraid of what people would think or say. So, I kept those kinds of decorations secluded to my writing room at the back of the house where few would see them.
Then, I decided all that didn’t matter. This was MY home. I would make it a comfortably cozy place where I'd love to be. Since I'm self-employed, I do spend a lot of time at home. Now, I enjoy shopping at thrift stores and have ended up finding all sorts of items that put a big smile on my face, and didn’t break my budget at all. My decor isn't trendy, or classy, but it's fun, whimsical, it's me.
Here’s the kicker. When people come over now, they always comment on how cozy and comfortable my home feels. Ha! BooYah!
Most important, is that when you walk into my house, you’ll see my love of nature, of gardens full of flowers, of whimsy and lots of books! I used to hide them in my study, too. Not anymore!
In all this learning how to slow down and appreciate the blessings my life already holds, I’ve truly found my joy again.
Truly. I love spending time in the mornings working on my garden when the weather permits. That’s something I wouldn’t do before because mornings are my best writing times. You know, I can still write in the middle of the day and even at night if I join a sprint. Working with other writers online fuels my energy and makes my work more fun.
I learned to become adaptable and not stuck in doing things only one way.
I’ve learned to take what I have and make the best of it.
I’m learning to be more flexible and to trust that God has my days. Each and every one. He will not bring harm to me, but only good things that will help me grow and thrive in Him. I’m learning to trust. I’m learning to make the most of what I have. And I’m learning to find joy and beauty in the simplest things all around me.
His blessings are all around us, every day if we’ll only look with our spirits and not our minds. Not our logic. God is not logical. He’s beyond all that. He will use foolish things to confound the wise, right?
Slow down, my friends. Life is too short to rush through it. I hope my words will strike a chord in your hearts and encourage you to find joy in your every waking moment. It’s there for us if we’ll only be willing to find it and take a firm hold of what life truly has to offer.
Blessings to all of you.
Author & Artist Jackie Castle