Giving Yourself Permission

“How about mango?” I ask.

And even though the question is delivered entirely without context, she knows exactly what I’m talking about.

So we skip off to my room and pore over paint chips (she prefers spiced pumpkin, by the way, and I think she may be right), and somewhere in the midst of all the scheming, a simple statement slips off my tongue.

“I feel better.”

And again, my mother is awesome enough to know I’m not just talking about paint chips.

“I’m glad,” she says. And then… “Do you think it’s because you gave yourself permission?”

I’m ashamed to say her summary was absolutely right. Ashamed to say it took me eight long months to finally give myself permission to be happy in this time and place. Eight long months before I learned to tell myself, “Rebekah, stop fighting. Stop striving, stop trying, stop hoping for something different when different is so very far away.”

I’m the kind of person who thrives on productivity. I have to produce something. I have to feel like something has been accomplished during my day. I have to have tangible evidence that I’m doing something worthwhile.

But evidence isn’t always tangible. We can’t always see what we have accomplished, and that’s where things start to get complicated. That’s where I start to doubt myself and my purpose and a hundred other stupid things.

I’m reading a book called A Million Little Ways. And in this book, the author said something that has completely revolutionized my way of thinking. When talking about her life, her gifts and passions, she comes to this realization:

My goal is a finished book—I call that my art. Yet there is a deeper work happening. I chase what I think is the art, but really that’s just the evidence… The real art is the invisible work happening in the depths of my soul as I uncover, sink, see, listen, and wait.

The book is just the souvenir.

Thank you, Emily Freeman, for turning my world on its head. For reminding me that I am more than this project that has me so completely frustrated. For reminding me that it’s not about the book. It has never been about the book.

I’m realizing that now. And little by little, I’m learning to give myself permission to live right where I’m at. One day, one minute, one ever-faithful brushstroke at a time.


Dreaming or Discontent?

A Guest Post By Julianna Morlet…

Born to Fly — Sara Evans


This was my song all throughout high school. I sang it over and over and over and it even made it into my graduation montage. I have always been a girl who lives off the ground. Always dreaming about what could be. My pastor once titled it, The Architect of Vision: one who dreams the future.

I dream the future a lot. Much to my demise, but I can’t help it. Though I love my life now and I love living “in” the now, I can’t seem to keep my mind here. It seems as beautiful as everything is, it could always be so much more; it’s getting there that always stumps me.

We all, I believe, have that dreamer living inside us and, like most things in life, she can either be an inspirer or a killer.

Recently, I have recognized there is a very thin line between discontentment and dreaming. One that I’d never seen before. I’d fallen into the trap of writing my discontentment off as dreaming, when in reality, dreaming is meant to enhance your morale, not decrease it.

Dreaming makes you feel like the world is your oyster.
 makes you feel like the world is against you.

My dreams can sometimes lead to discontentment with my current season of life. But I don’t think the guard against that is to stop dreaming. Below are some safeguards against discontentment I’ve gleaned from older women in my life who I consider “Wise and Reckless Dreamers.”

1. Talk to God
If you’re a Christian and you believe (or are learning to believe) that God has a purpose for your existence, than asking Him to plant dreams and passions in your heart is the best thing you could do! And He will do one of two things: a) Either He will give you your requests, in His timing, because they are what He has planned for you OR b) He will begin to mold and fashion and reshape your dreams and desires to fit His purpose and plan for you. I’ve experienced both, and in both circumstances, I was over the moon excited about living out the dreams God had let come to fruition.

2. Talk to Your Mentor
Having older Christian women in my life as spiritual mothers, in addition to my own amazing mother, has benefited my life immensely. They reground me when I’m about to take flight on a harmful dream, they pray over me asking that God’s grace and love will be fulfilled in my life, and they are open to talk about anything and everything I have questions about as a woman growing up. They never let me complain (for too long) and they always work out a game plan with me. Mentorship is biblical, and so beneficial for life.

*If you don’t have a mentor and want one, Good Women Project has an awesome program set up for you!

3. Start a Journal
Keep it with you and list all your dreams as they come. Sometimes little ridiculous ideas that come to us in the middle of the night aren’t necessarily the dream. But sometimes they are markers, or arrows, pointing to the bigger picture. Kind of like a road map. An idea you were all worked up and excited about last week might seem crazy and boring next week. If I had $1 for every time I said, “I wanted to do WHAT?!” while reading back over my journals, I’d be a gazillionaire! Keep track and see what sticks.

– – – – –

Lately, my prayers have been about keeping me grounded, grateful, and gracious. The magnificent thing about dreams is that they create this hope and excitement, but the curse of them is that sometimes they have the very real possibility of breeding discontentment. I’m not discontented yet, but I can easily see my thoughts going that way. Can you?

We must stop the discontent by asking what God wants for us, talking to other women who have been in our shoes, and remembering that dreaming will always be a magical part of who we are.

Juliannais a 20-something girl who spends her time either writing, singing or talking. If you could sum her up in one sentence it would be, a visionary idealist who wishes to conquer the world before her 25th birthday. She is married to her very own music man and their love story is a mix between soap opera and fairytale. She documents nearly everything in hopes to someday make a mark on this world. She is the writer behind the blog, The Girl that Sings.