Monday night I returned from London, and our long weekend there was all things good: great time at a church I think the world of, rich memory-making with my dear friend Emily, and all the inspiration and energy and texture of a big bright beautiful city. It was the perfect finish line–the last trip of this season, the last of 10 in two months, and the last of around 40 this year.
I’ve loved these trips. And I love that this month we’re going up to the lake, like we do every year, and we’re going to live a different rhythm and pace entirely.
You won’t hear from me much this month—no blogging, no podcasting, no speaking at events or churches or anywhere. In fact, when I finished speaking on Saturday night in London, it was the last time I’ll speak for more than two months. That feels just exactly right for this season.
I’m so deeply, totally thankful for that part of my life, for the opportunity to tell stories I believe in, stories about God and hope and grace and friendship. I’m thankful for the opportunity to hug and talk with and connect with real human people. I love traveling, and it’s a gift to get to see so many amazing parts of the world and the different ways people are living with faith and creativity and grace.
Some seasons are full of airplanes and high heels and microphones, mascara and hotels and telling stories on stages. I’m thankful for them. I’m honored to do those things. I feel blessed and thankful every time.
But this season is about little boys and books and swimsuits. It’s about grilled corn and early bedtimes and trading the heels for Chuck Taylors. It’s about sitting on the porch with my favorite person on earth and making memories on the same stretch of beach that my dad played on as a boy, the same stretch my brother and I played on as children.
When it’s time to travel and speak again, I’ll do it with great joy and passion. But for now, the speaking I will do will be in the course of conversations with my friends and family, and the traveling I do will be to the farmer’s market.
There’s a certain amount of pressure for all of us, I think, to be endlessly productive, to create content around the clock, to say big things every day, if you’re a blogger, or every Sunday if you’re a preacher.
Let’s resist that. It’s not how nature works. It’s not how seasons work. There’s planting and reaping and harvesting, and there’s the practice of letting a field lay fallow for a while, allowing it to prepare again to produce. For the first time in a long time, I’m practicing silence, laying fallow, trusting that the world will keep spinning quite happily without quite so many words from me.
I’m going to listen more than I speak, rest more than I produce, read more than I write, say “no, thank you” more than I say “yes, please, and quick, and more!”
We go to the lake every summer…but I confess that some years it’s less a true rest and more a change of venue, where I end up less relaxed and more annoyed that I have so much work to do, but without an office or childcare or reliable internet. I confess that in some weeks in this lakeshore town we love, I’ve spent more time slamming out emails on my phone than playing in the sand with my little ones. Technology allows us to work from anywhere, which is a blessing and a curse.
There’s one project I’ll work on this month, one I’m excited about, one I’ll tell you more about soon. The timing couldn’t be avoided, and it’s something I believe in. In order to work on that, and to really be present to the people I love most, there will be silence here, and you won’t hear much from me via email. If something needs an urgent reply, it will get one, but most things will wait till August, because I’m practicing the discipline of not living and dying by my inbox.
I’ll post on Instagram, because summer at the lake is so photogenic I can’t help it, but I’ll be making a concerted effort to spend more time with my people, and less on my phone.
You know that I have a long standing love affair with summer, and one of the things I love most about summer is the wardrobe. I was with a friend recently, and she said, “Don’t you just love the kind of vacations where you can wear no makeup and a ponytail?” And I thought to myself, “There’s another kind of vacation?”
I grew up spending summers on the beach and at summer camp, and there is a serious soul exhale inside me when I get to pack away the pencil skirts and dry-clean-onlys. I feel the most truly myself when I’m on the water, in shorts and a t shirt and not one speck of makeup. My real face, my favorite face, is a little sunburned but not at all eyelinered or lipsticked, and my favorite hair is a ponytail, not a blowout.
My friend Bianca says she should have been born in Dallas—she loves big hair and false lashes and high heels. I’m happy to have been born in the Midwestern summer, and I wish I could stay in it all year round, where my must-have accessories are life jackets and flip flops.
In the fall I’ll begin writing a new book. I can’t wait for that. In the meantime, though, I’m laying low, very intentionally. I have a little repair work to do, on my own self and with my people, reconnecting, rebuilding what gets scraped away with a little too much coming and going.
Creative, meaningful work comes from a strong soul, one that’s been fed and nurtured enough to be bold and honest and fearless. This summer I’m building my family and building up my soul—those are the two things I need to be intact in order to write well and deeply come September.
I’m praying the same for each of you, whatever summer looks like in your corner, whatever soul-building looks like in your world.
Let’s be courageous enough to stop producing for a while, and trust that there is great soul value in stillness, in play, in beach walks. Let’s starve our addictions to noise, to action, to being noticed and heard.
As ever, I’m so thankful for each of you, for reading and caring and commenting. You encourage me, challenge me, push me to do better writing and better living, and I’m thankful for that.
Until August, my dear friends. Praying these weeks are filled with much, much love and ice cream.