How Words Feed My Soul

The words we use and focus on say a lot about what is going on in our minds and hearts. In my art, I’ve found myself focusing on a lot of kinder, quieter words, but also words that are more playful. Why? Because in the day to day, I’m fighting for my soul. It's funny, I say them to my sons all the time and my friends because I know they are so important, but I don't really speak them to my own heart. If I'm not paying attention, I will get to the end of the day feeling "soul-tired" from words I speak to myself like "not enough," "too much" or "if only." Creating art from the words that I want in my life is just one way I feed my soul and fight for it. It's how I lean in to grace and love.

Even writing this is a battle. Oh, the resistance to saying where I want to go and the reality of where I’m at. Maybe you’ve felt that way too about moving in a new direction and the resistance you’ve felt from your brain that keeps telling you that you’re fooling yourself. This isn’t possible, these words aren't for you.

Don’t you dare listen to that.

You were made for more than hustle and striving and just surviving. I'm taking a stand on that and making it my own because I need this more than anything else. I need to know there is more and I might just be settling if I don't believe this idea. C.S. Lewis says it so brilliantly,

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

How do I know there is more? How could I have the audacity to think that I could have things like peace, joy, and love in my life? I know this because of the Creator that steps into my studio with me everyday and speaks these words into my heart and also reiterates them constantly in His Scriptures. Listen to your soul...what is it telling you? Even better, ask God what your soul needs. This takes courage and resolve, but it’s worth it, because you are more than your list of things you need to get done. You are more than the million responsibilities you are trying to balance. You are, and I am too.

What are some words I've found that give my soul permission to thrive?

Here's a couple:


Whew, feels good to SAY all that, but then I’m left wondering how I DO this work. Seriously, it feels big and nebulous and almost impossible. If you are in a cold sweat at this point, you are not alone. I’m right there with you.

How do you start to live out your year in response to these words? You practice them in small bits that help them grow more solid in your mind and heart. Here’s some examples: I physically sing in my studio. I physically dance while I’m making dinner ( and in small doses around my ten year old because it completely embarrasses him and I kind of love that). I try new things that could lead to failure with the understanding that I’m going to learn something from it. I get up an hour before my kids so I can sit and be with God. I write “trust” in my planner at the top of the page every morning.

These aren’t big things. They are small. But they add up and start changing who I am. Small things will change who you are too. When we start taking these softer, quieter words into our lives, there is room for the One who made us to start doing healing work. I want that. How about you?

These words have meant a lot to me as I’ve created them. They have helped me a lot as I get into this new year. They are each 6x6 and displayed in an elegant, black floater frame. Small but powerful. Click here to view the series.

“...we do not really grasp the meaning of any word or concept until we have a clear picture or image we can connect with it." --C.S. Lewis