About a year ago I did the study Present Over Perfect. During one of the journaling assignments we were asked to write out words that were used to define me–labels, that others put on me and that I put on myself. Then the study asked me to choose a word that I would like to redefine as me. My chance to re-label myself. I wore many labels: mom, wife, sister, friend, blogger, church leader, responsible one, smart one, “the burden carrier”. Each were part of me. Each had made me. Some were light and some were heavy.
Next we were asked to pick a new label, a new word for a new season of life.
The word that immediately came to my mind was “VIBRANCE”.
I felt miles away from vibrance. I felt spent, tired, and oh, so pregnant. My third baby in three and a half years. And oh my goodness I love my babies, but let’s just acknowledge that spit-up, leggings, an oversized t-shirt and 3 day dry shampoo hair don’t exactly scream “vibrance or “my best life now.” And I had done that back to back to back. I was exhausted–spiritually, emotionally, physically.
I could picture the vibrant version of myself. I knew her once. She spent time doing her hair. She laughed. She thought about what she was going to wear the night before. She ran half marathons. She read books. She went skinny dipping, crashed a wedding and wasn’t afraid to ask for anything. I felt like I remembered her, but I wasn’t her anymore.
But I wanted to be.
I wanted to feel vibrant again.
I didn’t know how or even if I could at that point…. I was actually 33 weeks pregnant, parenting a 3 year old and 1 year old and moving houses. It’s safe to say I was a hot, anxious mess; with a new baby on the horizon it didn’t feel like that was going to change anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I felt like I was gearing up for the hardest time of my life.
About a month or so after I had my third baby (read that birth story here!) I was breastfeeding in our living room as the kids watched a show about a little green alien who loves art. Amid the burp clothes strewn everywhere, pumping supplies, and vague aroma of poop, I closed my eyes. For a second amidst the chaos we were all ok. Not vibrant, but ok. We were surviving and that was enough, for now.
“That lights me up!” the little blue alien chirped.
I opened my eyes.
He was taking his little alien antenna self and little alien sidekicks on an adventure creating art, learning about pointillism or something (a far cry from the things I learned from power rangers as a kid, but I digress).
“Wow, that painting really lights me up!” his high pitch voice squeaked.
I sat up a little. The little green alien had given me an epiphany. This vibrance thing? Could it be so simple?
I would do something today that lit me up.
I wasn’t even sure what it would be. Did I even know anymore what brought me joy, what made me feel alive? That first day it was a cup of hot chai tea. Another day I painted my toenails.
Another night I took some precious, precious non-kid, non-baby moments and cleaned my house. I realized that having a sink free of dishes and a floor not crunchy with cereal really lit me up.
That was one of the weirdest things I’ve learned…that sometimes doing the boring “have to” stuff lights me up. When I stopped to notice I realized there was joy and satisfaction and vibrance in the things like working out, having a morning routine, planning and cooking meals, organizing a cupboard, clothes folded and put in drawers and picking up the living room at the end of the day.
I kept a small list. It’s not conclusive.
But now, almost a year later I know what lights me up.
I chased vibrance. I’m still chasing it today.
My pursuit of vibrance caused me to stop some things (like even writing for a bit), it pushed me to new places, it helped me love my everyday, ordinary better.
I don’t do this because its good for me or I’m obsessed with myself and selfish. I’ve actually found quite the opposite. Me being lit up is what is best for my kids. Me being lit up reduces conflict and fosters joy in my marriage. My vibrant self leans into Jesus more, not less.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” -John 10:10
Satan is here to steal from you. He wants to steal your joy away. The world is here to kill your peace and gratitude by reminding you with the click of an amazon prime button your life could get better. It’s here to trap you with social media: to trick you into feeling less than about yourself and your family and what God is doing in your life. It’s feeding you “likes” and crass “opinions”, but you’re starving for friends who will hold you and bring you casserole and love you enough to tell you when you’re wrong.
Your own flesh is here to destroy you; it’s whispering that you aren’t enough, that you’re alone, that you can’t, that you should. You–you–you. Its’ biggest trick is parading your own kingdom in front of you so often you forget; you forget you are part of a different Kingdom and you aren’t the King (or Queen) there.
Jesus invites you to abundance, joy, vibrance.
I’m taking Him up on the offer.
The Chasing Vibrance Challenge
I don’t want to do this alone. I want you to come with me. Let’s grab hands and chase down this vibrant, joyful life together. Will you join me in a 5 Day Chasing Vibrance Challenge!?!!
I’ll send you an email every morning with a short pep talk and simple “to-do” to help you discover how YOU can start #chasingvibrance in your own unique way.
I can’t wait to see you there!
I love this, Kate! And I can relate to so much of what you wrote about your days of feeling less than vibrant and then realizing how that doing just a few “little” things can help me feel more alive. I’m now in a season where I feel like I’m starting to figure out who I am again and am putting more energy into self care- physically, emotionally and spiritually. And it feels so good! Here’s to more vibrancy! And I can’t wait to see where this journey continues to lead you. I love your message!
Yes! Sometimes that loss is just seasonal, but it does feel good to be able to take time to nurture yourself.
I got teary when I read this. I remember days, weeks, months, years like this – just trying to make it day-to-day and always feeling behind or less-than. Now that my “baby” is 20, my life is different. Now I help other mid-life women who, like me, didn’t figure it out when they were younger. One of the things I coach on is making a list of things that light you up. I love that you’re doing this for mamas that are trying so hard and giving so much and sometimes losing themselves in the process. These little things can make such a huge difference in their lives and for their families! Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s taking a little time to take care of YOU so you can be the best version of yourself for others. God bless you – you’re doing great things!