On a Living a Larger Life (ironically unrelated to my pregnancy journey)

One of my goals this year is to hone in on my writing skills.  I decided months ago I would blog at least once a month in hopes of challenging myself to process things more deeply and to get back into a hobby I really enjoyed.  However, I've been finding it harder and harder to find inspiration.  It's not that good or challenging or inspiring things aren't happening around me.  They definitely are.  But in the midst of seeing God move, I've lost my confidence in being able to be "____________ enough" to communicate it.

Whitty enough.  Eloquent enough. Smart enough. Bold enough. Brave enough. You name it.

I tend to be a person that trusts in things outside myself, often times believing that my own instincts aren't reliable or that my ideas and opinions are going to lead me in the wrong direction.  I operate off of words of affirmation and encouragement from others, subconsciously believing that how others view me and their opinions hold greater value that what I believe about myself.  

Operating this way isn't always bad.  I believe I work hard at my job and within my home and try to maintain the relationships that I have both locally and globally because of the care I have for others.  And yet, there are times where I find myself frozen and drained by caring about things that don't always feed my soul.  I mean, its important to care about my home and the food I feed my family, however, it doesn't quite feed my spirit like working with students or being a part of a deep conversations or dreaming about the future with my husband.  

Those things are my life blood.  

I've been slowly and painfully realizing that for months, maybe longer, I've been living small, playing it safe, and living inauthentically.  

Like I said, I've been wanting to grow and expand my writing and I've been thinking about the authors who inspire me, challenge me, and resonate with me. They are women and men who unapologetically write from their convictions and boldly communicate the things they feel and the ways God is challenging them.  They don't shy away from being real and being bold.  They write and live large.  I recently started re-reading "Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist, a book that calls out those being painfully exhausted by comparison, competition, and invites readers into a more intentional way of living. 

Shauna writes

"And in the same way, I've always given my best energy to things outside myself, believing that I'd be find, that I was a workhorse, that I didn't need special treatment or babying or, heaven help me, self-care.  Self-care was for the fragile, the special, the dainty.  I was a linebacker, a utility player, a worker bee.  I ate on the run, slept in my clothes, worshiped at the alter of my to-do list, ignored the crying out of my body and soul like they were nothing more than the buzz of pesky mosquitoes.

Now I know that in the same way I've always believed God's Spirit dwells deeply in this world, it also dwells deeply in me."

Preach girl.

I'm beginning to see that not only am I stifled by living small, but by living a small life, one that hides ideas and covers up what is going on deep within me, I'm making God out to be small as well.  I'm making myself a poor conduit some of Jesus' greatest forms of transformation, and with a little girl on the way, I want my life to be a model of how I want her to live.  I want her to live a life that doesn't cower to fear or shy away from mistakes, but celebrates and embraces chaos.  I want her life to invite others to be genuine and authentic, unapologetic of the story God is creating within them.  I want her to live large and brave and deep.  

Jesus, let it start today, and let it begin with me.

Ashley Sider