The rainbow lit up my hand and lingered there for a moment. I had been so immersed in a deadline for work that I didn’t realize sunlight was streaming through the window, making the hanging prisms scatter tiny rainbows across the room. As I typed, the colorful streak kept traveling back to my hand — its placement a beautiful reminder that these hands are made to write. It was the slightest inkling that God’s calling me into a new season and a new promise. The little rainbow tattooed itself to my hand every few seconds as if to whisper, “There is fire here. There is color. There is life. Share it.”
For what seems to be the better part of a year, I’ve had writer’s block. Not for lack of ideas, but for lack of confidence and grace for myself. While many things were going “right” in my life, I, as a person, still felt like one big question mark — a mystery I just couldn’t solve. There are so many many many things I wanted to say about health and food and image and mindset and life, but I didn’t know how to say them. Or if I’d change my mind. Or if I wasn’t qualified enough. Or if I would embarrass myself. And now I find myself slowly digging my way out of this very deep rubble of doubt and discontentment. Because I need to move forward, but first I must make my way up and out.
In this time of excavation, I thought I’d share ways to make the most of what you think may be a lackluster time in your life. Because the more I think about the rainbow on my hand, the more I understand how my season of silence equipped me for what’s to come. Here’s what I’ve done in seasons when I feel blocked or stuck:
I pray as much as I can. When I wake up, in the shower, while I cook dinner, while I sit in my backyard, while I drive, while I fall asleep. Some days are better than others. It’s never very eloquent, but it changes me.
I enjoy eating good food. I often choose food that nourishes my body — colorful, real, satisfying food that makes me feel vibrant from the inside. And sometimes I choose food that may not be “healthy,” but really nourishes my heart. Either way, I make sure I enjoy the process and really savor whatever I eat. If it’s not incredibly delicious, it’s not worth it.
I walk every day. Such a simple thing has such a huge impact on my day. On days I’m not able to fit in at least a 20-minute walk, I feel restless and underwhelmed. Walking in silence can be freeing some days, but most of the time I use that time to learn. Which leads me to my next tip…
I listen to podcasts. Anything and everything goes. I search iTunes and cherry-pick free podcasts or I get recommendations from friends. At the moment, my go-tos are The Jillian Michaels Show, The City Church with Judah Smith, The Birthful Podcast, and The Nourished Podcast.
I’m gentle with myself. I don’t respond well to tough love (whether self or otherwise inflicted), so this one is so important to me. And it’s crucial for you too because only you know the best ways to be gentle with yourself. For me right now it means being OK with silence, letting my body wake up without an alarm clock (I realize this is a privilege), empowering myself to choose balance/moderation when it comes to food and fitness, and letting go of preconceived notions about what my body should look like.
I look for and make beauty. This is one of those “make or break” things for me because much of my livelihood is caught up in noticing and appreciating my surroundings. I love hanging crystal prisms in a window that gets a lot of sun so that the room is flooded with rainbows every day at a certain time. Or taking a million pictures of the sunset with no intention of ever sharing on social media. Or making sure my bedroom is clean enough so that it can become a sleepy, wonderful haven of soft blankets and squishy pillows. Or concentrating on how comforting my husband’s laughter sounds at the end of a long day. Or realizing how much friendships can teach you about grace and God.
If you’re in a season of silence like I’ve been, know that it will pass eventually. And know you’re allowed to enjoy the silence because the “block” you feel might not be the concrete barricade you’ve dreamt up after all. You’re likely being prepped and primed in a way that’s unique to you. Because somebody, somewhere will need your words. Somebody will need your art. Somebody will need your knack for listening or leadership or loving others. This is your invitation to stay sane in whatever season of life you’re in, and to be OK with a little mystery.