November 8, 2013
I am in the shower, daydreaming as usual, taking full advantage of eight quiet minutes standing under hot water. Somewhere between combing minty conditioner through the ends of my hair and drizzling body wash all over my yellow loofa, I start thinking of writing ideas, book ideas, essay ideas, all kinds of ideas. And then my mind wanders to a concept I have toyed with for months, a nudge in my heart, a thought I cannot—for the life of me—get out of my head.
The idea starts taking shape a little more clearly, like a handful of playdoh forming into a ball.
This idea feels pressing, important, imperative to act on. I rinse the conditioner out, turn off the water, and step onto the bathmat. After twisting my sopping wet hair into a towel, I throw on a bathrobe and speak the dream out loud to my husband, who is sitting at the corner desk in our bedroom working on his computer.
“I want to make a website about motherhood,” I say confidently.
“I want to make a website about motherhood. Like a blog or something. I want it to be pretty, but I want it to be about the writing. Real stories about motherhood.”
He smiles and says, “Cool, babe” before returning to his screen. I grab my laptop, sit down on the bed with a towel on my head, and send an e-mail to a handful of women who I know like to write.
A week later, I am sitting in my living room on the floor with two friends, three babies, and a dozen toys scattered around us. I say the dream out loud for the second time and ask, “What do you think about the name Coffee + Crumbs?”
“You know, it describes our days,” I continue, “It represents the dichotomy of calm and chaos.”
They both say they like it.
(Note: I had a few other ideas for names that I can barely remember now, but I think they were mostly terrible.)
A few days later, I e-mail the woman who owns www.coffeeandcrumbs.com and ask if I can buy the domain from her since she isn’t using it. She says she will consider selling it to me. I offer to pay her $100, but she never e-mails me back.
I want you to know something.
That thing you are reading right now, those words, those posts, that shop, those Facebook shares, that Instagram account, those writers, those readers, those feelings…..all of that was born during five uninterrupted minutes in the shower, followed by thousands of hours of hard work.
But I want to get back to the shower, because the shower is a really big part of the story. You see, I had the inspiration for Coffee + Crumbs before that day in the shower, but I never gave myself thirty seconds to form it into anything substantial. The idea had just been a lump of playdoh in my heart until that point, anxious for me to slow down and spend one minute holding it in my hand.
Before that day in the shower, I had never spoken the dream out loud.
I’ve had a lot of dreams that have died over time because I never gave them one full minute to develop. I simply let them fester, and stir, and then I piled laundry and dishes on top of them, and had two kids, and they were simply…..forgotten about.
Is this a cycle? Do you do this, too? Do women do this often? Do mothers do this the most? Do we keep dreams in our hearts like lumps of playdoh, never giving them a fair shot to be formed into anything substantial? Never showing them to anyone? Never speaking of these dreams out loud?
I understand the tension here. Our days are full to the brim with babies and diapers and goldfish crackers and trips to Costco and maybe a full-time job or a part-time job or a volunteer commitment or a community group. When we think about the fringe hours of our day, we can barely identify those hours because they are gone as soon as they come and we can’t even remember how we spent them. We wrapped a birthday present? We ate lunch over the sink? We scrolled Instagram and half-napped through an episode of Scandal? I don’t know where the time goes from Monday to Friday.
Pretty soon the weeks are turning into months and those months are turning into years and our dreams are slipping down the garbage disposal along with Tuesday’s moldy leftovers.
I want to encourage you today, from someone who is still in the process of turning her playdoh into something. Sometimes I wonder…..what if I had made a to-do list in the shower that day, as I often do? What if I had thought about all the ways I was failing as a mom? As a wife? As a friend? What if I had never sent that e-mail to those writers? What if this whole thing never happened? No site, no writers, no stories, no Huffington Post, no comments, anything? What if none of this ever got started? What if it was all just a literal dream?
Do you have a dream burning a hole in your heart?
Maybe you want to be a writer, maybe you want to start a blog, maybe you want to learn to paint. Maybe you want to open a bakery or maybe you want to sell jewelry or maybe you want to go back to school. Maybe you want to adopt, maybe you want to travel to India, maybe you want to start a nonprofit to serve a need in your community. Maybe you want to be a teacher, or a nurse, or a life coach, or maybe you want to start your own business and be a #girlboss. Maybe you want to write a book or record a song or start a podcast.
Do you think about these things in the shower? Do you wake up at 3am to a busy mind that can’t stop? Do you ever say your dreams out loud? Or do you cower and shrink behind those piles of laundry and watch other people chase their dreams with envy?
Here’s the thing: nobody is going to give you the quiet you need to form your playdoh. You need to give that to yourself. And you need to do it in prayer. And you need to do it now. Because the crazy thing is: when you silence your to-do list and pray for the Holy Spirit to form your playdoh, He Does. I believe this with my whole heart.
Your homework assignment for the week:
Pray for your playdoh.
Take a shower. Listen.
Leave a comment below with Your Dream.
Pray for the comment above you.
I am praying for every single one.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10