more info I have a little secret for you: I wore these pants all morning with the button and fly down. 😉 They definitely don’t fit around the waist anymore, but I was a little chilly and I wanted to wear jeans so I went with it ha!
Thank goodness for a roomy t-shirt that hides it all. I actually really love how this outfit came together with the beige bookends and the washed black in the middle. I’m excited to wear it after pregnancy with the t-shirt tucked in. It’s one of those effortlessly chic outfits, and it’s a combo I could come back to over and over.
I’ve been reading the book Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, and it has been a stunning read. I feel as if she is speaking to the very core of who I am and what I long for, and I find myself convicted on almost every single page. I highly recommend it.
But one thing she wrote about completely floored me. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it… and in a way I’m a bit embarrassed that I was so blown away… because it seems like this should be a common sense thing to understand. But what she wrote is the exact opposite of how most people operate when they are reaching for success in their endeavors that I truly had to absorb her words over and over to accept them as truth. Here’s what she said:
“Years ago, Aaron and I were talking with the pastor of a fast-growing church, and another friend, a more seasoned pastor. The first pastor was telling the story of how the church had exploded, how they couldn’t stop the growth, how it was utterly out of their control, an inexplicable, unstoppable phenomenon. The seasoned pastor pushed him gently: “You’ve built this, and it’s okay to say that. You’ve intentionally and strategically built a very large church. It’s okay to say that.” The young pastor kept protesting, preferring the narrative of wild and unexplained growth. “We had nothing to do with it,” he insisted. “Well, not nothing,” said the older pastor. “You kept putting up more chairs.” And then our minds sort of exploded, because it didn’t occur to us that there was another option. We were all raised to build, build, build. Bigger is better, more is better, faster is better. It had never occurred to us, in church-building or any other part of life, that someone would intentionally keep something small.”
I completely understand why her mind “exploded” because mine did too. Because I WANT to be intentional with the people I love most, but I also want to grow and build and see momentum in my work. But at what cost?
I realized, when I read her words, that it’s OKAY to keep my work small so that I can be fully present with my inner circle. I’d been buying into the idea that success equals big… that success equals growth. But what if it doesn’t?
What if success equals availability to loved ones? What if success means being mentally able to be present?
It’s tempting to see growth as the definition of success because it’s easy to gauge. It’s not so easy to gauge how much of an impact your 15 minutes with your toddler had on their collective life. It’s tempting to pursue the growth that offers quick satisfaction and ignore the slow trickle of depositing present moment after present moment into the lives of your loved ones.
I fail at this constantly. I focus on the things that make me feel good right away. I want that mega church instead of the small, intentional (but healthy) congregation. It’s so easy to get swept up in big, fast, more… it’s easy to keep putting up chairs.
But what if I’m being called to small? What if I’m called to stop putting up more chairs… to define my success by something other than the immediately visible?
I think I am. I know I am.
And this knowledge has led me to simplify things here and on Instagram. I’m making decisions based on what works for my family and not what works for quick turnaround. It’s refreshing. It’s hard to take that risk, but it’s right to take that risk.
I wonder if you are being called to this too? I wonder if a bunch of us are getting it wrong. Maybe not. We DO need to have a mix of big and small.
But my guess is that there are a lot of us that need to be reminded that it’s okay to stop putting up chairs.
So my friend, here is your reminder: put down the chairs, and lock them up for future use.
Focus on hard to measure, messy, frustrating, and meaningful growth with the people who matter the most.
To see the rest of my 30 Days of Summer Style Series go here
Denim: Vintage | Similar Option Here (sustainable)