Non-Negotiables of Wholehearted Living {Day 22}

by | Oct 22, 2013 | Uncategorized


Looking at the time on my clock, I feel anxiety rise to the surface. It’s already 10:00 in the morning and I’m still sitting in my pajamas, aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. My tea is cold in my favorite cup. Two hours past the time I usually take a morning walk, I’ve missed the window of neighborhood stillness. Island sun sets in a vast expanse of marble blue but my soul is cloudy.

Singing has turned into mumbling over the past few weeks. I’m exhausted.

But time is a bully, only if I allow it. Covering up three days of dirty hair under a ball cap, I exchange my pajamas for sweats and take an impromptu jaunt with my camera strapped over my shoulder.

Fall brings a pleasant shift from summer’s brightness, a beautiful slant illuminating what was hidden and washed out, the same way a walk clears the cobwebs of insular thinking.

I used to think that taking walks, practicing photography and spending hours curled up on the couch with the treasure of story in my lap is an extravagance of riches. But I don’t believe that anymore.

It’s not irresponsible to cultivate the passion God creates within each one of us.

Looking through my lens brings perspective and reading the pages of a good book cures anxiety and listlessness. These are some of the non-negotiables in my make-up. Things I do that untangle the knots of wishful thinking. They aren’t electives, they are my life blood.  And God knows that.

When I push off my non-negiotables, trading them for what makes me feel less guilty, I become a vapor of my former self.

Meandering bike rides and walks, photography, reading a variety of books, and writing down my daily thoughts in a journal are part of my customized prescription for wholehearted living.

A daily dose transforms my humming into singing.

I’m noticing how leaves cascade like a chameleon carpet on the pier. And look, there’s a raccoon crossing the road, galloping into the forest. Light and shadow are no longer wallflowers on my porch; they’re doing the waltz as the world tilts.  The view looks good from here.

What are your non-negotiables for wholehearted living?

Some art  from the collection informing my thinking this week (outside of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown of course):

rb31daysdeepbutton2Join us in the comments and for further discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown as we talk this week about Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol & Productivity as Self-Worth  and  Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle. This is day 22 of 31 Days of Letting Go in the Deep End. Find out more here and join us for daily posts delivered to your inbox by adding your email address to Subscribe in the sidebar. It only takes a few seconds and it’s painless, I promise.

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  1. Lori Harris

    oh wow, I love so many of your book choices, but Bird By Bird is really talking to me right this minute. I laugh and cry and then scratch out words.

    I went for a quick walk right before dinner tonight. Not my norm, but all day I really knew I needed to get out of the house as soon as the Man came home. I turned up Hillsong and walked for just 30 minutes to clear my head and guess what?! I came home filled up, ready to be poured out.

    Wholehearted…not yet. But I’m getting there…

    • Shelly Miller

      It sounds like you are enjoying your break Lori. Walks do that for me too.They’re the magic pill for gaining perspective for me. I missed mine today, time got away from me. Tomorrow!

  2. Anna White

    Are you doing the Brene Brown ecourse? It just started yesterday. The Gifts of Imperfection is my favorite of her books. So powerful.

    • Shelly Miller

      Anna, are you enjoying it? I looked into it but decided it would be too much with writing every day this month. I agree, Daring Greatly really impacted my life tremendously and I am enjoying The Gifts of Imperfection just as much.

  3. Kris Camealy

    Love these books. I’m reading the Gift of Imperfection, The Right To Write, The Irrational Season (L’engle) I just finished Emily’s book, and I am reading Bonhoeffer’s Meditations on The Cross. I need to add some fiction in there… My reading is always so serious.

    • Shelly Miller

      I know Kris, my reading can be that way too. Of course we’re alike in that way too.I always have a fiction book I’m reading alongside the serious stuff. Have one I’m dying to break into after the Wiley Cash book. I’ll let you know if I like it. I’m reading a few memoirs, forgot those.

      • Kris Camealy

        Yes, I try to add fiction in there, maybe I need to go check one of Christie Purifoy’s book posts for a good fiction recommendation. She’s so good about that! And do tell me if you know of a good one. I don’t like junky fiction. Not even for the sake of distraction. My time is too limited to waste.

  4. Elizabeth Stewart

    I so agree with you…if I’m not frequently doing something that causes me to catch myself humming while I’m doing it, then I know I’m not feeding the creative part of me.

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, I love the way you said that Elizabeth. Are you going to Allume? Wondering if I’ll see you there.

      • Elizabeth Stewart

        Unfortunately not.

  5. Bridget

    Shelly, your series on Letting Go is really resonating with me.

    For most of my life, my “non-negotiables” (I never acknowledged them as such) were the last thing on my list, things to get to after I finished everything else. But I’ve been practicing being myself — guilt free. I started tentatively, painting a little, writing. It has been a journey of discovery that scares me sometimes.

    Lately my creativity has taken on a life of its own. I’m a fish returning to water. I had forgotten how delicious it was to swim. I keep wondering if anyone is supposed to have this much fun.

    • Shelly Miller

      This blesses me Bridget. First, I’m so glad that you are finding a path of empathy here, what a gift. But most of all, that you are revisiting parts of your life that have been dormant — what a gift! And guilt free? Even more so. Thanks for letting me know, I’m thankful.

  6. DeanneMoore

    I bought both of Emily’s books on Friday–Grace for the Good Girl and A Million Little Ways. I know the grace book has been out for awhile but I sent it to a friend on her Kindle as a gift, a prompting from the Holy Spirit. She loved it and it spoke the words she needed. I am thinking i need to read books I send to people :). But God knew! When I read your non-neogiables I think freedom—the kind of freedom that Christ wants for us. I read them and I rejoice in your redemption and mine…that God would love us so to bring us to this place–even with the wild uncertainty, we grab hold of the minutes, the hours, the day we have been given and we breath—and we live who really are, even with unwashed hair. 🙂 I sent a text to my love yesterday that said “I want you to know that I know you love me.” He loved it. I think when we can live the life you described above (or similar in our bents) and do it with a similar attitude concerning God’s love for us—a deep knowing, that the greatest “force” in the world is Love. When we assured of God’s love, then we give ourselves permission to love ourselves, to live our authentic lives. This I believe gives our Creator glory…

    (BTW Bought an $18 novel that Laura Boggess read and loved. Haven’t started it. Hardback–old school. A Land With No Sin. Praying it is redemptive— I am so into redemption stories 🙂 )

    • Shelly Miller

      If Laura said it was good, then I trust it is. She and I are rooming together at Allume. How did I get so lucky?

      I was pondering that simple text and thought about how our men don’t really ask or require much from us and how a simple line of text can be like Christmas. Love that.

  7. Laura

    “When I push off my non-negiotables, trading them for what makes me feel less guilty, I become a vapor of my former self.”

    How true this really is and why have I allowed myself to get to that point? I do so few of the things I enjoy anymore because there is always work that demands doing. I used to be so much “more” than I now am. Some days I feel just like a robot. If only I could quiet those voices inside that make me feel guilty when I do something “just for me”.

  8. Janet

    My non-negotiables are attending church service every weekend, reading some of a good book every day, hugging & kissing my husband & telling him I love him every day several times a day, eating healthy meals, taking vitamins, praying before breakfast every day for all the people I care about, putting on the Armor of God every morning. These things I do without fail. I am trying to add in exercise daily, but I am still working on that one.

  9. Jean Wise

    It’s not irresponsible to cultivate the passion God creates within each one of us. – wow what permission that statement gives me. Thanks Shelly

  10. Janet from FL

    On what is on my night stand that inspires me — “I am Malala”! My husband and I are reading it.

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