Do you ever find yourself struggling to just take a deep satisfying breath? On a physiological level, I struggle with this if I’m dealing with stress or anxiety in my life, though thankfully it doesn’t happen as often as it used to in years past – which I hope to say means I’ve learned to let go of internalizing that stress and anxiety as often. But the sensation is real, and concerning, and you have to actually stop and try to really focus, breathe deep and get the satisfying amount of oxygen that you need. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but when that deep breath finally comes, you relax a little and are reminded that you are, in fact, ok and you have the air you need.
In so many of the same ways, I’ve found myself over the years at times struggling to find my grounding and take a deep, satisfying breath, trusting that the life I HAVE is all I NEED. That no matter what is swirling around me on social media, in my industry, on motherhood blogs, in the culture….that I am, actually, enough. That my vision for my life, my goals for my business, my “style” of parenting…it’s all enough. It may not be perfect, it may not be groundbreaking or industry-leading, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t fulfilling. Or that it isn’t perfect for me.
Sometimes I forget to take a step back and breathe in deeply a satisfying look at where I am, and where I’ve come. The business I’ve built imperfectly, but carefully, and with hard work, over almost 10 years. The marriage I’ve been humbled and blessed to walk in for almost 7 years. The journey of motherhood I’ve been gifted with for over 2 years, that is about to take on a new chapter. When there’s always temptation to believe the lie that it hasn’t been enough – cool enough, successful enough, popular enough, perfect enough, impressive enough – it can be so easy to lose site of what we actually have. And maybe for some of us, what we actually have IS enough, and IS all that we desire. Being told that if we’re not always striving for more then we’re just “settling” for average is plain old not true. Maybe for big dreamers and groundbreakers that IS true. But maybe for some of us, we work hard to build a life, slow and steady, with the most precious things to us maturing little by little, and all we truly desire is to continue maintaining them with steadfast faithfulness. Maybe what we’ve grown to deem as “average” is more precious than we stop to perceive because we’ve bought the lie that we need to be doing more. Growing faster. Gaining more followers. Making more money.
Something about being in my 30’s, hitting the 10-year milestone with my business next year, and about to have my 2nd child has made me stop, step back, breathe deeply and just take in what this life has been and is. I don’t know what having a second child to care for will change about my priorities with my life or business. I don’t know what my future vision is for my photography and whether I will change gears, or stay in my lane. There’s actually a lot I don’t know, and until recently I thought I needed to. But you know what? There aren’t nearly so many rules as we think. Not nearly so many urgent time frames as we perceive. I fear becoming “not relevant” if I can’t keep up. If I get too immersed in motherhood. As I continue to get older. But oh how silly it is. No one sets the rules for your life except for you. And there is incredible freedom in that. So breathe it in.
I don’t know who I will be a year from now, but I suspect my life won’t be crazy different. I probably won’t be traveling the world or making tons more money. But I might just be a happy mom of two, celebrating 10 years of pursuing my passion of photography and utilizing my business in a way that helps serve my family income. I might be a little wiser, hopefully humbler, more full of grace and even more comfortable in my own skin, my own life, and my own dreams…no matter how impressive they do or don’t seem. Breathing deeply the realty that who I am, what I have and living in the freedom of my own timeline for pursuing what God has for me is more than enough. It’s all I need, and at the end of the day, it’s all that matters. Those are the things that determine the legacy I’m building for my life.
So for anyone else who hyperventilates a little as you scroll through social media or sit through yet another conference that tells you what you SHOULD be doing….throw away your notes, shut off the noise, and inhale peace as you exhale all the woulds, coulds, and shoulds…and just be.