Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's Talk | Inspiration VS Imagination

Hey y'all! This summer as I've been re-evaluating Fresh Modesty--the directions to take it and it's place in my life--I've been changing up some of the places I spend time at on the internet and hopefully have been more purposeful about the content I consume. As young women, we are often guided by our emotions and one happy thought or one sad thought can ruin our day and the days of those around us. We try not to let it, but it happens. And with so many blogs, social media pages, and Pinterest boards at our disposal all the time, we can swing from one mood to the next in a matter of seconds.

 I'm sure there's a psychological analysis that says how unhealthy this is somewhere on the WWW, but the aspect of this that I've been contemplating lately is this:


We all have hopes, dreams, aspirations, goals, and "one day" scenarios in our minds. The online world is incredible in that it can inspire us with quotes, provide motivation through watching and learning from others, and give us a huge head-start on our goals by providing simple "how-to" articles. There is so.much.content. online and it can really be a time, emotion, and energy sucker if we don't discern between what is helpful and what is hopeful in our perusing.

I don't know about you, but as a Christian, I'm on a mission. I am inspired, motivated, enthusiastic to help make visible Christ's dominion over all the earth. That's a big task, and I feel daily how precious every moment is, but often don't realize that I am wasting time imagining instead of doing. Don't get me wrong, imagination is wonderful for children and their stuffed animals. It's great for getting in the creative groove and working out a business problem. But I don't want to live in my imagination. It's not reality; it's just hopes that distract from our real, raw, work.

For several years of my life, I was excited about what I wanted to do with adulthood. I was 100% sure my calling was to be a world-renowned interior designer. I spent hoooooours every day designing fake houses, drawing sketches of the rooms and furniture, pulling swatches I collected from Lowes out of my fancy filing cabinet... my point is, I LOVE interior decorating and design. I could spend hours pouring over Pinterest boards of fancy houses, IKEA furniture, the latest Pantone colors, and the exciting developments in floor covering options. I would be inspired to create and implement these things in my family's house and I would be so happy dreaming up ways to make life more beautiful.

Buuuuuuut... when I scroll through those boards or subscribe to those magazines, a spirit of discontent comes over me. Not in a "oh, I wish I had that house!" way, but in a "oh, if only I had time to create that!" way and I put energy into wishing it could happen. Same thing with sewing blogs these days... I love to sew, love creating my own clothes, love working with my hands in that way. But, it's not something I have time for right now and filling my mind with "somedays" is hopeful, not helpful. Do I ever scroll through "home dec" websites? Yes. Do I do it often? No.
In the first "Let's Talk" post, I ruminated on being known by what you are for instead of being known for what you are against. So, in this situation, instead of imagining, I want to be inspired. Inspired to change now. For the purposes of distinction just here as I'm thinking through this, things which cause you to imagine are wishing-encouragers. Things which inspire encourage you to make your wishes happen.

  • Imagination causes thoughts of "One day I'll create cute paper mache lanterns for the mantle."
  • Inspiration causes me to get off the couch and dust the mantle.
  • Imagination causes thoughts of feeding my growing little family Paleo someday.
  • Inspiration has me taking the extra 15 seconds to put coconut oil in my coffee.
  • Imagination causes thoughts of "My closet could look that good if I could just get all the excess out of there!"
  • Inspiration causes me to roll off my bed and throw the dirty clothes in the hamper and sweep the floor.

It's a really odd line I'm trying to draw/explain, but basically, I've been seeking content online that motivates me and weeding out the blogs/pin boards that do not. So, what inspires me? These quotes:




{ I used to avoid motivational quotes like the plague, thinking they were too self-centered and never put the focus on Christ. I'm realizing, however, that dreams can totally be God-given and when I "believe in myself" I'm really believing in Him who made me who I am. But that's a totally different point to be made at a later date. ;) }

How to stay inspired without losing yourself in imagination? Here's some questions to ask yourself about what you are consuming:

Does this motivate me to DO or does it make me wish for better days?
For example, I follow the instagram account of "I'm Kristen". She's a young wife, mother, and awesome photographer. She posts pictures of her daily life and it inspires me to capture the moments around me even when it may not be perfect. Her posts motivate me to DO. In contrast, I unfollowed a beautiful mother of 4 or 5 a few months ago because although she has absolutely amazing pictures and has chickens like us, it was making me feel like I didn't have enough hours in the day because she was doing all this awesome stuff with her kids and I was just happy if I remind my siblings to get dressed before noon, ya know?

Is this a time enhancer (ideas to improve work-flow, cooking tips, etc) or a non-helpful time consumer?
Lately I have been listening to a lot of podcasts, most of which are geared toward entrepreneurs and encouraging small business owners. These give me great ideas to improve my blogging process, further my business, and help me maintain my sanity by giving me action steps for all my ideas. This has been a great way to redeem my time instead of listening to music on car rides or scrolling through Pinterest as I rest mid-day.

Does this cause me to step or to stumble? 
What I'm talking about isn't necessarily just blog post or Pinterest board related. For instance, there's a song called, "Big Love In A Small Town" by High Road that is about working hard and "raising beans and babies". Yes, it's a love song, but it motivates me to make my life happy and healthy now. Unlike other country songs which can cause me to stumble and get impatient for my cowboy to show up, this one instead encourages me. That's probably weird, but it's true. Evaluating which effect something has on you is important.

Does this make me look to myself or to Christ?
I, oddly enough, really love "Mommy" blogs. I love watching and learning from other women (in addition to my mom ;) who save money, feed their kids well, and know their stuff when it comes to homemade cleaning products. But, there are some blogs which make me look to myself and imagine what I would/will do, or in some strange way make me think, "hey, if she can do it, so can I" in a prideful way. But then, there are other blogs, like Angela's Wool and Wanderlust, that make me reflect on simplifying life and living it for Christ exactly where I am today.

Oh, boy, do I have dreams, hopes, plans, and aspirations of spreading the Good News throughout my life! I pray that by surrounding ourselves with "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable..." (Phil 4:8) that we will be be inspired to live out our lives for His glory, in His strength, focusing our emotions on the work that is before us. :)


28 comments :

  1. Hey, Olivia! Awesome, encouraging post! I think it's so cool that you wrote this one now. Because I have been working on not day dreaming and imagining things etc because I found that they distracted me from working in the now. It was like I had too many worlds to live, if that makes sense.

    Thanks so much for posting this! It reinforces what I had told myself!

    Love,
    Ruth

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  2. Beautiful post, Olivia. Thanks for sharing. <3

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  3. Ah! I loved this post. So many wonderful points made. I too find myself reading a lot of 'Mom' blogs and appreciate your point about keeping our focus on Christ. I can get too caught up reading those and thinking about 'what I will do'. Thanks for sharing your heart with us and keeping things real. And oh, did I did laugh at loud at your "siblings to get dressed before noon, ya know?" comment. :)

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    1. I laughed at that one to, having 8 youger siblings its true!

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  4. This is a wonderful post, and an issue I have been dealing with lately. So much truth here, with one light-hearted caveat:

    You said... " Don't get me wrong, imagination is wonderful for children and their stuffed animals."

    Or for those of us who are aspiring children's authors/illustrators! :)

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  5. Very timely for me, and well put. I have recently started making changes about this issue in my life, and this was encouragement to keep at it. One thing that has helped me, is that I had followed a lot of blogs through facebook when I entered certain giveaways. Many of them were good "mommy" blogs (I like them too even though I'm not a mommy, yet) or real food blogs, but they were eating away my time. I've unfollowed all but a small handful and I'm not spending nearly the amount of time I was on facebook.

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  6. GREAT post! I absolutely loved it! Thank you so much for taking the time to post it. :D
    ~ Grace Pierpont

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  7. Lovely!
    My husband and I homeschool and have been chatting about ideals and goals for the coming year and what kind of commitments need to go because {while good} they don't line up with our priorities right now. In addition, I also drastically, drastically pared down my online reading. Everything you wrote today just put into words what I felt in my heart!

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  8. I had that thought the other day! "I just need to stop thinking about it, and start doing it!" As a result, I've made some ambitious decisions at 1AM this past week! Love reading your posts!

    craftswithoutborders.blogspot.com

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  9. Wow, really needed this tonight! I spend sooo much time just imagining... when I should be doing something productive off-line that I normally don't have time to do because I waste so much time.

    Thanks for posting this! :)

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  10. Thanks for the post, Olivia! Love your side note about motivational quotes and would be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on that topic. :)

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  11. I think this is something to think about.
    Kathryn

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  12. Wow, Olivia... this is SO. good. So encouraging, helpful, and *inspiring!*

    Just what I needed to motivate me to make some changes toward what I consume daily on the Internet. Thank you for writing and posting this!
    xo,
    Alison

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  13. I love these thoughts. You might not know it, but you have a mom of three (me!) reading your blog and at times wishing I had learned how to sew back when I had more time to make mistakes and still get the project done, time to figure out stuff like fit while my body was a bit easier to fit to, etc. Don't get me wrong; I get lots of good, encouraging things from your blog (that's why I'm here!), but like everyone, I have to intentionally put off discontent. That temptation certainly doesn't end when you get married and have kids. ;-)

    And boy, do I remember reading Mommy blogs before I had kids, and longing to be there; and then while my kids were babies, reading homeschooling blogs and feeling impatient for my kids to be school-aged. In many ways it was good for me to read these things and learn about them before I got there (see paragraph #1!), but I also developed habits of wasting time checking an endless list of blogs, and I also allowed those things to foster discontent. I am just now getting to a place where I have my Internet time a little more under control, and I am still working on it, but I feel like I have a pretty good list of blogs that I can count on to inspire me rather than suck me into that hole of imagination.

    Thanks for an inspiring post. :-)

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  14. Great points. This is something I've started working on myself. Your post was an encouragement to me.
    You write really well. Thanks for sharing.
    Bethany

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  15. Thank you, Olivia!! Very inspirational, now I'm planning to sit down and really think through some things myself. :)

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  16. LOVED the quotes! Great, useful post, thanks a lot! (And you're not alone...I like "mom" blogs too. :P)

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  17. You *rock*. And I mean that in it's most profound sense.

    Thank you for being such an inspiring sister. A day well spent in writing.

    :)

    -Emma (Olivia's first little sister)

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  18. So encouraging and inspiring! You'll be happy to know that I consider your blog to be very inspiring in many ways. I'm sure many others would agree.
    Blessings! :)
    Abby

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  19. One of the best posts you ever done! Thank you so much, this was HUGELY encouraging, especially to another girl who loves imagining and doing equally but values more and is a better person doing. This is exactly what I needed right now, too. Other posts like these would be just lovely in the future!

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  20. Thanks so much for the post <33

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  21. I LOVED this post! It was very inspiring. Thanks for taking the time to post this!
    Lauren

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  22. Thank you sooo much for this post! It was just what I needed to hear. Spot-on, inspiring, encouraging, and convicting, too!

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  23. nice blog i found you thrue other bloggers..will visit often...blessings

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  24. such great thoughts...I love this!

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  25. I'm new to Podcasts but from what I know it sounds like a great educational/ motivational source!...what are some you recommend? Entrepreneurship, Christian, Education...any category. :) Thanks!
    Jessica

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  26. Thanks! what a great, inspiring post!

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  27. I know what you mean and I said a pretty similar thing in the "About Me" section on my blog...that I enjoy a lot of Christian women's blogs, but some of them have the exact same effect that beauty and fashion magazines have on the average woman...that of making us feel less than adequate. Some ladies appear to be so saintly that it almost makes you want to say "OK, forget it--I'm not even in the same stratosphere; I'm not nearly the Christian I should be." And like you said, if it inspires you to do better, great--but if it makes you want to throw in the towel altogether, it's not a good thing. I appreciate your blog and am enjoying seeing the awesome things happening in your life!

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Fresh Modesty is fashion blog which encourages girls to "Dress outside your box, but inside His Book!" I allow anonymous comments so those without accounts can comment, but I would really appreciate it if you would identify yourself by some form of a name. :) Thank you for taking the time to comment!