Monday, August 3, 2015

celebrate smallness

When I opened my eyes they were still there - the mountains -
just beyond the miles and miles of pine tops.

I sat like a bird perched in a tree on the deck that was ours for the night.  In honor of eleven years of marriage, we had exchanged the humidity of home for 24 hours away where the air was thiner.  The conditions were perfect to see the ridges painted blue rolled out on the horizon in front of me.

I grew up in the shadows of those mountains - someone so small next to something so big.
Just the sight of them feels like home.
And so I marvel at the very thing that feels
safe and familiar,
yet leaves me feeling small and weak.

Small can be scary or frustrating, but it can also be lovely and full of freedom.
When you don't fear the big things or try to compete with them but choose, instead, to appreciate that their lot in life is to be magnificent, you find that your smallness is just as important as their bigness.
The fan above me kept offering a breath of relief on that last July day and I kept staring at them - the Blue Ridge mountains.  If they had eyes of their own looking back at me - searching eyes - they would never find me.  I would be hidden in a mountain landscape.

Sometimes I like being hidden.

To hide here among the pines is to become a part of what surrounds me,
and leaf
and bloom,
every bit of us small -
but together we are something.

Perhaps it's what I was created for -
     to be small enough to fit into something bigger,
     to be transparent enough to allow beauty and grace to be seen through me.
Part of the landscape.

I am not a mountain and so I will be small and still and cease striving for that.  I am not an ocean and so I will move slow and quiet to my own rhythm rather than frantically keeping up with another's.

The mountains and oceans have 'big' and 'magnificent' and 'grand' covered.  I will play my role of small, soft, and fragile, but I will carry big, bold truth - the kind that sits solid as a mountain and crashes loudly as the sea.  Big or small, we all have the truth of our Creator woven into our being and we reveal Him more completely when we each remember our part.

I will allow myself to be woven into the created technicolor landscape that reflects its Creator.
I will not be big.
I will be small.
But I will be a small part of something big.
What about you?

Do we let ambition and pride order our steps up a mountain made of sand that crumbles beneath us even as we climb,
or do we listen close for the whispers of kindness and humility leading us into a kingdom that will stand in glory and power forever?
For nearly a year now I have been committed to intentionally living a smaller and slower life, trusting God to bring big change and grace from my simple offerings.  True to his track record - he has not failed.  But living smaller and slower isn't easy in this world of bigger and faster, so I have been grateful for friends along the way who share the same desire to discover a beautiful, meaningful life in simple, unexpected ways.

Emily Freeman is one of those hope-filled souls I have locked arms with on this journey.  Her new book, Simply Tuesday, will be released in two weeks, but you can pre-order it today.

The way that Emily has written this book is nearly as important as what she has written.  It is like a song for your soul.  When you turn the last page you will look out into the big wide world full of mountains and oceans, full of joys and sorrows, and you will find yourself breathing slow and easy as you celebrate your smallness in it all.  And then you will take your small self and run with it, because being small brings freedom to run and dance and sing through the fields of this life no matter the season.
The moments, like us, are small, 
but they are still part of something big.

This week, because I love you so, I am doing a Celebrate Smallness giveaway.  One of you will win a copy of Emily's new book along with some other goodies to help you celebrate smallness.  Here's how you enter - easy peasy.
{1} Follow me on Instagram HERE 
{2} Leave a comment under the Celebrate Smallness post on my Instagram feed.
{3} As a bonus - keep posting your small moment pictures this week on your own Instagram feed.  I will enter your name every.single.time you post something and do these three things:
use the hashtag #celebratesmallness
tag me - @elizabethmaxon 
tag Emily - @emilypfreeman
NOTE: If you do not have an Instagram account - that's ok.  Seriously, it is.  You can just email me  HERE and I will enter you in the giveaway too! 
and the winner will be announced TUESDAY AUGUST 11.

{and P.S. - we totally recommend Three Pines View Lodge for a Celebrate Smallness getaway!}