I have so many posts started that I want to finish writing out, and working out with God. Rich conversations about our thoughts that impact our everyday lives in ways we may not realize, and quiet confessions about what I’m discovering doesn’t work on the tumbling mat of becoming. Some writings I’ve started aren’t ready to be written yet. They may never get finished in this life.  I’ve heard it said you cannot write a life you haven’t felt, so I have feeling and trusting of Jesus yet to grow into. This is the root deep. Like in that exercise class, you know the class, and that position you really want to stick, you know the position; you have to sit deep into it but can’t because it still requires more time stretching before any real bending can happen.

I’m a cranky stretcher. Some call it being an over-thinker.

The hardest part of keeping up with this little writing house and other writing projects, for me, is deciding on which topic to write on next. It’s hard because it’s a discerning, not a checklist sort of thing. My desire is to write with Jesus, for Jesus, as best as I can in the midst of my me-driven ways. Like for today I prayed about whether to share how Shame has been showing up here lately, as I suspect she has been showing up for you. But after the showdown with Shame I’ve had lately, rather than talk about Shame directly and give her more space at the table, I think it’s just time to give myself, and you friend, a little hug. Or hygge. Or the permission to enjoy hygge.

Sometimes this is the best gift we can give one another on this slow, long, life-y life journey of growing up. We can pick up with Shame next week, she’ll definitely still be there. So. Hygge

First just know this about me. I am a nerd.

I love to read, though I didn’t grow up that way. At all.

I enjoy learning about everything and anything, it really doesn’t matter as long as I can listen to the process and imagine how it works. I’m not the smartest kind of person intellectually, all my learning doesn’t translate quite the way of winning loads of cash on Jeopardy or carrying on highly sophisticated conversations, but I do read books and watch documentaries on all kinds of things, and find interesting threads that reveal Holy in the ordinary.

I love finding Holy in the ordinary, especially.

So recently on a trip I wanted a candy book, you know, something that would dissolve deliciously in my mouth and be a real treat, but wouldn’t wreck me for days…so I bought The Little Book of Hygge (HOO-GA) – Danish Secrets To Happy Living. My grandfather is Danish, so it seemed like a good root-like move to make. And oh, how delicious this little candy book has been!

Here are a few words that are just fun to read after a discouraging day, or anytime really:

  • SKIBBERLABSKOVS (SKIP-ER-LAP-SCOWS) – Skipper Stew, recipe on p. 68

  • FREDAGSHYGGE (FREDASHOOGA) – After a long week, curling up on the couch with the family watching TV. See p.26 (I’m not even footnoting today because it’s more hygge to just tell you where to find this stuff as I go…)

  • HYGGEBUKSER (HOOGABUCKSR) – That one pair of pants you would never wear in public but are so comfortable that they are likely to be, secretly, your favorite. (And are on my person now.) By the way, this is on p. 26 too.

Author, Meik Wiking, goes to a fascinating detailed length to describe hygge because it doesn’t translate perfectly in other languages, but comes close for us to homey, or cozy for the soul.

I love the idea of soul coziness because in my 40 years of living and tending to my body and mind, I’ve only been tending my soul intentionally for less than half that time. Had I known what I know now about my soul, I would have begun a relationship with her much earlier. Afterall, Jesus sure wanted to, he never put the pressure on me to neglect her for the sake of performing, like I did. But even without knowing what hygge was those many years ago, it was cozy space for my soul that led me to growing in closeness to him.

But let’s take a step back, because maybe relating to Jesus and our souls in a homey, or cozy way, seems abstract. Or weird. That is absolutely understandable.

Instead consider, how do you create a space for a date night at home? (Date night, what?? Let’s pause a minute again, if this is you, and either (1) you cannot afford a sitter, or (2) don’t know where a reliable one may be, friend this is common, so consider the quiet space after your kid(s) are sleeping – you know, when all you want to do is sleep and Netflix until tomorrow. Or, and this is even better, call your local church for direction in meeting this need, if for nothing else ever! And if you’re single, now is the BEST time to practice hygge with Jesus, I was single and 28 when I started creating cozy spaces for me to connect with Jesus, and the goodness is still showing up in my life!)

So for those who have the space marked, maybe you get candles (Dollar Tree ya’ll, firelight is firelight), music (Pandora FREE jams all night long), food with a little more prep time (herbs, buy the green leafy version, it really adds hygge), or splurge from a local restaurant? Maybe you spritz that perfume lodged behind all the disposable razors, then dry shampoo that ‘do because, girl you know I know. He won’t hold it against you though, I promise.

My point is, we create space for connection using everyday elements that add to our relaxation. In order to connect we need to feel safe, and in order to feel safe, well…sometimes a little mood lighting helps.

We also slow our roll, we don’t rush and hustle through a date night, we linger. We sit, we sip, we listen and respond. It takes a while to transition into this rhythm from our frantic day-pace, but we instinctively know that no rich soul openness will happen if someone has an agenda. “Hygge is humble and slow, simple and modest”, it is “wearing your pajamas and watching Lord of the Rings the day before Christmas…” This goodness and more is on p. 138 where he essentially writes out all my secret soul delights, because I think he knows me and lives on the adjoining property.

Now, what if we created space for our souls with Jesus that was less like Sunday school or the Principal’s office and more like hygge. Maybe for you that means like a spa, or secluded chalet in the Smokies, or tropical oceanside villa, or Nana’s kitchen table. This is my hyggekrog these days (cozy nook):

We remodeled our basement (a.k.a. the spiders’ house) and did all the design ourselves with this in mind: coastal (I grew up on the Emerald Coast of Florida), rustic (we live on a farm in the foothills of the Appalachians), and soul cozy (hygge all the way!) You’ll see more about this space in the future…but this little view is from my hyggekrog (cozy nook) of choice this season to write.

Whatever for you creates that inner cozy, channel your inner Corinne Bailey Rae, give your soul a hug, or hygge.

We may find ourselves more open to communing with Jesus if we realize he is wanting to meet with us, wanting to connect, and has life to give us. Our souls may be more open to hearing true things, good things, hard things, and sharing what needs to get off our chests if we intentionally create this space with him.

I’m not promising that everything you discover in this place will feel cozy.

Don’t get me wrong here.

This isn’t about pleasure for pleasure sake, it’s for relationship sake, for healing, for coming clean and connecting deeply.

In fact, in my quiet cozy space with Jesus today, he revealed to me habits I’ve become trapped in as a way of deriving essential happiness they were never meant to deliver. These habits are causing me anguish in fact, and the truth is I am losing hope of ever being free of them in this life. The path of losing hope leads to not good places friends. I needed this revealing, it was a kindness of God because I’m moving in a new direction now, toward confession and surrender, a hard but life-giving path. And, surprisingly, it is not paralyzing me like I imagined it would. I neglected this space with Jesus recently for fear of this very thing, but as I risked being seen by him I find that his love and acceptance is unchanged by my ugly exposed. He already knew it, but I may never have opened it up for release had I not known his heart toward me is hygge not hate.

Jesus longs to welcome me into the safety of his love, into togetherness, but because of this same love he will not leave me stuck in my damaging habits. Hope is coming back, though the road ain’t looking cozy, but I’ve found another treasure in this space with him today.

I’m reminded that I don’t go this road of becoming alone.

He is providing a friend, so I’m bravely choosing to bring confession to our time today because she is a woman who creates hygge with her heart and with her words for me. And when we feel safe, welcome, cozy in our soul, we can share our ugly with one another and change direction. We can do this for one another, as Mama Bears, as women who root deep with Jesus. We can create hygge for a friend, using words that speak life, affirm, remind us we are already loved, already pursued, still right where we need to be even in our crying, our enslavements and our unfinished ways. We welcome and make room, we create homey for each other’s souls, but speak uncompromising Truth because being trapped in sin is opposite of cozy.

And we can do this anywhere, on any budget. We can create hygge for our own souls, our families, the ones we are planting small in – in our homes, in local spaces, even in our church. But more than comfortable blankets, candles and fireplaces, we create it with our hearts, our words, our silent listening, our eye contact, our hugs, our confessions and wisdom shared, and our Mama Bear prayers.

Jesus loves us girls, so very much, he wants to meet with us anywhere, this is his heart for us. Put your records on, sit a while in that cozy nook with the Creator who has the whole world in his hands. Your fears, sins, the wild rockets firing and all.

Now for one last hygge scene to inspire, until next week…

Hygge elements: candles, cold temp outside, surrounded by cushions on an antique couch I bought at Habitat Restore for $75 and had re-covered in deep purple velvet. That’s right. Plushy fur-lined slippers, a cup of espresso with Italian sweet cream and the latest from @MagnoliaMarket because. You know.