January, almost. It is December 27th as I am writing this, and we have yet to see the first snowflake. The ground is still bare, and all the trees brace in anticipation of snow. One day we’ll wake up to find that we have transitioned into 2022. I have been trying to understand in my head and my heart that the year is coming to an end. Indeed we are all hoping to be greeted kindly and warmly as we anticipate the days to come. We can only hope.
I was wondering to myself why December feels so short. It was not so long ago that Christmas decorating commenced the holiday season and the arrival of winter. Alas, we’ve reached the grand finale of 2021, awaiting the chimes of midnight to reveal 2022 is here. Each year, I get better at noticing and enjoying the delicate moments I encounter.
Am I ready? January captures the theme of something new. There are many creatives that capture it well, and it is easy to think it’s merely about aesthetics. We can easily get swept up in the trends of making resolutions. This time of year, the world is restless. I try to savor the precious time of reflection while balancing out the heavier things; goals, resolutions, planning, etc. I’ve been thinking about simplification a lot lately. It’s been something I’ve struggled with for 2 years. There is no easy way to create it or attain it. It isn’t easy work; it’s a journey.
When something makes us frustrated or overwhelmed, it’s easy to get rid of it, from the simplest every day responsibilities to the most complex tasks. The closet you stand in front of is full of clothes, but nothing seems to fit; instead, it puts you in a bad mood. The unorganized overflow of old bills and used items are easy to get rid of when we don’t like them. But how about the things we like the most? And enjoyed? The truth is, we have to let go of the things we like to make room for the one thing we need more.
“You will never know the fullness of Christ until you know the emptiness of everything else.” Charles Spurgeon
There is a lot of areas in my life that are not in order, and disregarding them isn’t helping either. It pleases the LORD to see us living with some sense of order. After all, He is the God of order, not of chaos. If the simplest everyday task like folding the clothes, hanging up my coat, sweeping the floors, or cooking a meal begins to overwhelm me, that means my priorities are not aligned, and I need God’s help to sort things out. It is not rewarding to read 5 books at one time because it’s hard to commit to one. It’s not edifying to devote time on social media as much as I do while neglecting quiet time with God.
I need to re-evaluate all the areas that affect me. My digital life, wardrobe, books, journals, planners, social media, work…are worldly things, which are unavoidable parts of my daily life as a creator but are my responsibility to steward them well. Engaging in various tasks (living, working, and creating) requires discipline and some sense of order, or else everything can go awry. We need God to rest our hearts and the gospel to anchor our lives.
Lately, much of my creative energy has been put toward smoothing those areas out. The main focus is the mental work, learning to let go of perfection, and overthinking, while some of it is physically letting things go. I have a habit of adding new projects and tasks to my schedule, but there is never enough time to complete everything. I don’t like the “hustle” culture that’s trendy right now. Being busy and having a hustle lifestyle is glamorized and praised, but I refuse to be a part of that. It is time to put these myths to rest and purge our hearts, minds, and environment. Purging isn’t always easy, but necessary, like getting rid of some clothing options, organizing my digital files, reading one book, keeping one journal, and focusing on one creative project from start to finish. A good routine takes time to cultivate. It will require some flexibility, trial, and error, but there is a sense of freedom and transformation.
As January approaches, there is much that we need to accomplish. It’s the time where life picks up with new activities, and new commitments begin to pull us in different directions. But it is important to slow down. We must work to integrate our hearts to allow God space to show us how to steward our time well. Then we find that we can rest rather than recover from our toils. And when we do, we plant hope for the days to come.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Wishing you all a Happy New Year,
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