To say that I'm a dreamer is as true a label as I can force myself into. Ask anyone who knows me deeply, and they'll tell you that I'm constantly filled with expectations, new ideas, start-ups, far fetched travel ideas, or thrown-together business plans. And while generally, this trait is a good thing — it certainly creates a vivid imagination, and a life that doesn't feel bound by "rules" — oftentimes my expectations get the best of me.
I have a habit of cycling through my old issues of Darling magazine as the seasons change and as I was reading last year's Fall edition, I read a piece that spoke so accurately to where I'm at in my life right now that I couldn't help but share my reaction. Titled Waiting for the Spark, the piece spoke about the benefits of "traveling in darkness", instead of always needing to know our next step.
Life right now, as it so often is, is very "up in the air" for my family. We recently put our house up for sale in a town where— though we've enjoyed living here— we knew would never be our "forever home". We spent the past two years fixing up our 1925 home in the hopes that it would sell quickly and would give us the funds to buy our dream home in the mountains (where both my husband and I feel truly at home). But it's been almost three weeks, and nothing. A few showings and calls here and there, but nothing. Things aren't happening quickly, and the dreamer inside me is starting to feel squelched.
We are stuck in the limbo of not knowing our next step, and as someone who loves to dream big but also relishes in having a plan, this is hard. It's difficult to accept that we might be here longer than we had planned, and it's equally hard accepting the fact that my dream may be further away than we hoped.
But as I read through the article, one quote struck me.
The danger for dreamers who plan is that we often end up clinging too tightly to our expectations about how life ought to unfold, rushing our way toward dreamed-of destinations at the expense of simply savoring the journey.
Talk about speaking exactly to where I'm at. And as I read on, I realized that my tight expectations I've been clutching to since we made our plans to move have been crippling me, causing my inner-life to be anything but simple.
There is a certain beauty and freedom that comes when you relinquish control of your life and simply allow yourself to be led, opening doors when they're presented; not rushing or expecting too much. The simple moments become the moments— tucking my girls in at night, waiting anxiously for my husband to return home from work, sitting together at the end of the day talking about our dreams. Instead of living for the "next big thing" in life, I'm convicted to take the small moments as they come, embracing them for the back-bone of life that they truly are.
Contentment is a choice, and one that anyone who has been reading my blog (in it's many forms over the years) knows to be a struggle for me. But I'm convinced that there is a way to mesh my "dreamer" personality with contentment in the moment. And I think simple living is the answer.
In it's bones, simplicity says that what I have now is enough. It simultaneously frees you from the material to dream about the future, and make plans much bigger than simply getting more stuff. Practically, it says that the choices we make everyday matter and that choosing contentment with where we are now (waiting expectantly for "the light at the end of the tunnel") frees you from the stress of forcing life into the rigid molds we've constructed for ourselves.
So while it's great to plan, dream, build and take action, sometimes the beauty of waiting for the mystery to unfold is where the real, life-building happens. And that is the mindset I'm seeking to cultivate in seasons when I'm walking in the unknown.