Last December, I wrote about my word of the year.

I chose “within” because I felt the nagging at my heart to jump into the comparison game–focused around the business of blogging.

I admitted something:  Blogging (full-time) can be quite self-glorifying and overwhelming.

Even after I wrote about it, I began to feel a little weighed down, coming off the most successful year of blogging I’d had.  I had pushed and pushed…and loved every second of it, but I was beginning to tire.  While it has always been important to me to blog organically (i.e. blog about grayson’s wall art because I was making it for our home anyway), I could feel the pressure to blog project after project–for the sake of the blog and pageviews.  I would thoroughly enjoy my days, but I would sit down every night and feel weighted.

We were even dealing with a few personally challenging situations–and continued hearing some discouraging things some folks were saying about our decision to homeschool–and I just felt heavy.

Heavy with many responsibilities.

Heavy with the world.

While Matt and I pray constantly that this blog remain about helping, inspiring, and encouraging our readers–and that God be glorified in doing so–it is quite easy for me to unintentionally put pressure on myself.

Simply put, I was burned out.

I needed a break from all the projects and painting rooms–I wanted to live in our home.  It’s really funny how I had no idea how I felt about all of this at the time, but can see with perfect clarity what God was doing for me.

He was giving me a pass–a don’t-blog-about-it-unless-you-were-creating-it-anyway pass.  Therefore (yes, I just said “therefore”), we completed only a few home project goals from last year.  I started a million things and stopped when I grew tired of them or needed to live for weeks or months.  I stretched myself as a writer and focused more on content-based posts.

I reorganized my entire home from the deepest cabinets out–and am still doing so.  We made lots of messes living and yet, kept the place neater than it’s been in years.  We prayerfully followed God’s lead to focus on monetizing my business–on the profit.  We began to carry Chalk Paint™, opened an online store, hosted workshops in our home, began homeschooling, and have some exciting things in the works behind-the-scenes.

While you all told me how crazy I was and oh-my-word-you’re-so-busy, I felt free and quite lazy half the time, like I wasn’t doing very much at all.

P.S.  I haven’t felt lazy since October.

The point is…God showed me how wrapped up in me I could be–if for no other reason than my own passion-driven fuel for my work.  While I was breaking from too many projects, I couldn’t let Him take away the guilt for not doing them.  It ebbed and flowed, much like our Faith does.  Some weeks I’d feel confident and sure, and others I’d feel like a moron–almost like I was wasting this gift (blog) I’d been given.

It was a tough year–a year of humbling myself before Him.  And honestly, it just occurred to me this last week why my year looked like it did.

It took quite a while for the proverbial lightbulb to turn on.

He was shaping me and molding me to look just a bit more like Him.  He was giving me rest–despite my kicking and screaming the whole way.  He was teaching me to rely on Him to quiet my mind (which, by the way, is entirely different than Him shaping our outward actions).  While I felt a bit torn and in-between, He was humbling me so that I could look at Him, today, and breathe easily.

So I could sit down, talk with Him–instead of talking at myself.  We’re not done, He and I.  I can tell there’s much to learn, and I have more to sacrifice.

But the good news?

He was beginning to rebuild my ancient ruins, allowing me to walk through the temples I had built up before Him–He was letting me have them and find no comfort there.

Letting me examine “within.”

I feel the light, though, as the last stones fall away on this battleground for my Soul.

I said it before.

We’re not done, He and I.

“The Sprit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”

-Isaiah 61:1-4

**I’m so grateful I have friends like you to share myself with–to bare my ugly Soul to.  I can’t wait to share with you my words for 2013 very soon.

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