I do it all the time... I hear it in the voices of my friends. We talk about the things we love to do in hushed tones with sly smiles. We make these excuses to justify it, that we did them under cover of darkness because the laundry sat, or the bank statement wasn't balanced yet. These things that make our hearts sing and our lives bearable, we do as if it were guzzling a bottle of chardonnay in the closet while the kids play in the yard. For a woman, doing things for herself sometimes feel that forbidden, that selfish, that unexplainable.
My writing is like that. I have this beautiful studio and this drive to write, but yesterday I didn't scratch out a single word because the laundry had sat for two weeks and I no longer had pants... Ok, so letting it get that bad isn't what I mean. What I do mean is that every time I choose me and my God given gift, I feel a pang of guilt. Why? God has told me multiple times that this is the better choice than many other things I do. God has given me projects galore to complete and to immerse myself in. Has God also given me the guilty conscience that tells me this should come last because it is fun? Nope. I have robbed myself of it all on my own. Again, I ask why?
This world we live in has lied to us. As women from my generation were told that we could have it all, we bought in. We believed. We strive for the perfect career, we find things we are good at (even if we hate them) and we work a 60 hour week to bring home the bacon (... fry it up in a pan!). We bought the mantras that told us that we can have a career, a family, hobbies and a spiritually fulfilling life and if we didn't have all that and do it all well, there was something very wrong with us. We were failing if one piece of that puzzle was missing. If we decided to stay home with our kids we were told we were moving the entire female species back 100 years. We were told that if we had the smoking hot career, but no children, somehow we were incomplete. No hobbies? Why, we would go crazy! And you have to have spiritual balance... So we piled it all on!
It's a heavy load to bear. Under the weight of everything we were told we should want, we forgot what our God wanted for us. Peace. Peace that passes understanding. Peace in the midst of storms, in the joys of life, in the sorrows too. Peace. We traded our peace of who God created us to be for the lie that the World keeps feeding us.
I have made some decisions in my life. One of them is to stop trying to explain why I write. I realize it doesn't make me any money. I don't do it so I can supplement the income. I am afraid of that. If it made money, would I like it as much? Would it become a burdensome job then? I don't know. I do it because to not do it would be to rob God. God gave me this gift that feeds my soul. To not do it, to not use it, would be to tell God, "Thanks so much for the gift! I will use it just as soon as I take out the trash..." REALLY? If God were standing right here, before me, handing me the most amazing gift, would I really be crass enough to tell Him to wait? Lord, I beg of you, I hope not! I hope that You would smack me upside the head!
Stop thinking that you need to explain the things that you love to those around you. If they don't get that it is the blessing that feeds you, they will never get it from some lame explanation. Yes, yes... I know you think you can make sense of it and explain it to others, but here's the deal: When God plants something in your heart, it is rarely encompassed by mere words. Like the sunshine after a terrible storm, or the smell of fresh peach cobbler, or the feel of a baby's weight in your arms it just is and it feeds us. God is a rockstar that way. He alone knows what it is that will feed our souls and make us whole after the World roughs us up and makes us less than peaceful.
God waits for us to use our gifts, whether it is knitting, writing, having horses, or just listening when someone is talking, and He rejoices when we marvel at the peace it lays on our souls. We don't have to "get it" to enjoy it. We also don't have to explain it to others to justify it. When you feel the need to justify the gifts of God, they cease to be gifts. Those that love us for who we are, for all that we do, will not begrudge us our time in the sunshine and our absence from the laundry room for just a moment. For those that would question it, smile wanly and tell them, "I cannot explain the gifts of God, I just know how to thoroughly enjoy mine!"
What will you do this week that you have been putting off because there were too many chores to do? Leave me a note in the comments... I'd love to hear from you!