Just. Be. Small.

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kelly christian -just be small3By Kelly Christian | Instagram: @kellychristianwrites

Virtually invisible on social media, rather unaccomplished in most any sense, and barely known in my own hometown, I’m a small person in this world. At 39, after not working for ten years, I feel my absolute smallest. A 23 year old director interviewed me and asked for my resume. I confidently said, “Sure!” yet all I could think was, Oh no. Where do I find one of those? I couldn’t even recall the last computer I had saved one on. It probably was such a worthless piece of aged machinery that it wasn’t even going to turn on once I located it.

I just started writing one and after some stretching and attempts at brainwashing my reader, a semi-acceptable one page resume came together, mostly from things my 18 to 26 year old self did. I kept thinking she’d better pull through for me because the-me-ever-since hasn’t been pulling any weight in the world’s becoming-something category.

Now that I’m looking for work and outlets to use my gifts, I’m finding something very interesting about this momentum. There’s an intense internal push to hurry up. Hurry up and arrive at being good at something. Hurry up to be known. Hurry up and be successful. Hurry up and be everything you hoped you’d be. Hurry up and be in a completely new stage.

What impossible expectations flood our fledgling aspirations.

In the midst of this surging struggle to start again, I talked to the Lord and I felt his Spirit whisper a message to me in the stillness. The message has been:

Don’t go a step further. Stop. Feel what it feels like to

Just. Be. Small.

At first I thought, I don’t want to sit in it. I want to move ON! I want to get somewhere. I’m tired of the waiting, the detours, the sacrifice. I had three children ages 8, 10 and 10 when we got pregnant with another baby. I told people, “She missed the stay-at-home-mom-boat.” I loved staying at home, but have known for a long time that getting back out there was my next step. Just be small? I was!

Yet, it was true that the second I decided to “do something,” all the internal freak out, inner insistence, and general dramatic concern began. I needed to find some grounding in the midst of these winds of change I had so warmly welcomed.

That’s why the Lord’s whisper to “just be small” began to feel like a relieving encouragement to this disenchanted daughter.

The building pressure to be big and amazing and to have arrived was coming up my throat and the idea of just letting myself feel my own place of smallness for a moment, as part of the process, seemed achievable. Real. Strong. Even interesting.

So I’ve begun to sit in the smallness–to not hate it or separate from it. Instead, to wonder at this raw, unseen place every person encounters, sometimes with twinges of discomfort and other times with bouts of trepidation that come with incessant squirming. Sometimes before I can sit, it takes some pacing-the-living-room-prayers to chase off the impossible expectations that prowl, but eventually I can. And I feel a strong sense of okay-ness wash over me. Not a giving-up-okayness, but a secure-in-my-journey-okayness.

We all start small. The starting is sometimes at 16 and sometimes at 39 and for all of us it happens many times over, for many reasons.

Whatever it is, the exact second in time we finally step towards it, we can absolutely despise that we’re not there right away. We lose our cool. We start praying threatening prayers. Or we stop praying at all and just wring out our thought life in a tumultuous assault.

But what if while we were making our awkward adult baby steps, we just accepted each step as right where we were supposed to be–an interesting place worthy of our time, and a point on our journey where we could find great reason to celebrate?

What if we let our small, fledgling aspirations sit on the table before us, all tiny and barely there? And instead of kneading them and choking them into something bigger with an impulsive, nearly hateful, impatience, we just sat with our darling start. What if we held our cupped mugs of coffee and felt glad for the hope of a new beginning? What if we let ourselves just. be. small.

About Kelly:

Kelly ChrisKelly Ctian is ever reckoning life through wonder and conversations, always wishful for the next chance to put everything that means anything into type. Her heart is riveted by faith, questions, beauty, creation, identity, and sparks in conversations with strangers and friends alike. Kelly resides in Charlotte, North Carolina where she writes nonfiction, teaches English as a second language, and enjoys loving on her four little dignified souls alongside her husband. She is on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

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  • Stacey Pardoe

    Oh how I can relate, Kelly! This really sounds like my story: accomplishing much for the resume between the ages of 16 and 29, embarking on a new journey of full-time parenting from 30-37, and wondering where in the world I might find my resume or how in the world to create a new one! Thanks for your honest words. I hadn’t considered the power and potential of embracing smallness. I’m not the woman I was at 29, and I hope – I deeply hope – that among the changes is that I no longer have anything at all to prove to the world. And this feels like the first step to a beautiful new way of stepping out into the wide world with hopes to make an impact . . .

    • Kelly Christian

      Thank you Stacey! YES, about the power of embracing smallness. It is really changing everything and has actually been a crucial ministry to my many, many internal conversations and attacks. I remember leaning so tensely into what I was trying to do, and then having these realizations was a little like leaning back in my seat. I was still going where I was going, but my posture was different. And so the ride everyday has been too. So thankful for your thoughts. Cheering for your journey too.

  • Reading these thoughts after the morning drop-off and a quiet-car-prayer on the way home that centered around Rilke’s admonition to be “patient with all that is unresolved” in my life and to “learn to love the questions.” Thanks for writing words that have fallen upon my heart at just the right time.

    • Kelly Christian

      I’ve very glad. there have been a number of just-the-right-time-encouragements in my life as well and i think they are kind stepping stones.

  • Colleen Reid

    Kelly, this is me too. After my last child heading to school I have so much time on my hands, and I should have something mastered by now right? I should have that book written and be at the top of my game. Yet, God keeps calling me back to wait, to listen, to hold fast to him and move with Him.

    • Kelly Christian

      I hear you. The struggle is that the things you want to do are beautiful and always tugging at you because they long to exist, and for you to be the one to create them. And yet instead of enjoying the process we beat ourselves up. I hope your journey to the things you want to do and be about is small when it needs to be and more when the time is right. Peace –

  • Erin Sarah Kennedy

    Dearest Kelly, this is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I am at the stage of wondering what I would like to do after I graduate from college in a couple of months (God-willing).
    I am scared by my dreams and don’t know if they are too big but there are so many times where I would rather just enjoy each and every moment by taking the time to see Jesus in everything.
    Thank you for your comfort and may God bless you and your family. Lots of love x

    • Kelly Christian

      Thank you Erin! I appreciate your feedback. Have you read A Million Little Ways (uncovering the art you were made to live), by Emily Freeman? It is a beautiful encouragement about living the way you were made. I would highly recommend it if you are in transition or if you are trying to step into your dreams. I re-read it recently as I am stepping into two of my dreams recently in a bigger way and needed the boost to be courageous. Let’s be bold together, wherever we may go 🙂

  • Tracy Haney

    I think so many of us can relate to your story. Our society tells us to go faster and faster, to be better and better. We are told that small is bad. I love the play on words from Be Still. Still is hard, but small is even harder. But you’re right – we start off small. And that’s ok. It’s probably even better – maybe we aren’t ready for big yet. Thank you for this wise word!!

    • Kelly Christian

      Thank you Tracy for your thoughts in return. I am thankful for this ongoing revelation that the Lord gave me too because it keeps carrying me (as I am starting that new job tomorrow actually!! First job in ELEVEN years oh my)

      • Tracy Haney

        Good luck on your new job – I know you will be great!! 🙂 One breath at a time.

  • Morgan Wolf

    “We start praying threatening prayers[…]or wring out our thought life into a threatening assault.” Absolutely true. And, choosing to be joyful and content in the midst of being small–whether it is a day into your new beginning or years down the road–will always be a pivotal battlefield in our thoughts.

    • Kelly Christian

      yes, morgan. thanks for your thoughts.