Not many people will have heard of Kristen Bell and she probably prefers it that way. Her husband, on the other hand, is a renowned and sometimes controversial figure in the American Christian subculture. He was once a mega church pastor but he left that role, moved to California and is now an inspirational speaker who’s contemporaries and colleagues include Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. He’s a writer and a podcaster and I’m not ashamed to say that I respect and admire him very much. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a fangirl.
But I’m not just a fan of him. I’m a total fangirl of his wife. Kristen has been on the journey with him the whole way and their joint publication on marriage The Zim Zum of Love is as much her work as his. (I actually recommend the audio version of the book because it’s the two of them talking and they are so amazing to listen to.) While he is clearly the ‘front man’ of their band, she’s as much an equal part in all the work that he puts out and the man is nothing if not prolific.
I listen to Rob’s weekly podcast and look forward to it but I get very excited when Kristen joins him because I know I’m going to get some very powerful inspiration because when they talk together, and I think often they forget the mic is recording, their ZimZum is on fire!
I took them with me on my walk this morning, because Rob has just released his first novel as a hardback edition and Kristen was to interview him. Their beautifully intimate conversation, while it did have the new book as a starting point, meandered into the reality of burn out, the necessity of rhythm in life, the beauty of Sabbath and the discovery of enough in the every day.
I’ve been wrestling recently with how to manage all the things I want to do at the moment with the reality that my physical energy is pretty low. One of my driving motivations is the need to be productive and, although I’ve written in recent weeks about dropping the ball and letting winter be a breathing space, I’ve fought the urge to go into the quiet. It’s a major case of FOMO! What if I switch of social media and miss out on something? What if I decrease my output on the blog? What if I lose traction, momentum or followers?
But listening to Rob and Kristen muse on the difference having a rhythm and incorporating proper rest into their lives, really felt like the affirmation that my body is speaking wisdom and I need to slow. the hell. down.
It’s the first of December. Advent begins on Sunday, when we Christians focus on the hope that one day all things will be made new even as we live in the muck and mire of life. Christmas is the reminder that there is light to be found in the ordinary, sacredness in the mundane. Advent is the reminder that the end of the story is that love wins. We live in the tension of the now and the not yet. In that space, we can choose to do small things that show a different way of being human – a life of joy, peace, hope and love.
So thank you Kristen (and Rob) Bell for your transparency and your positive leadership at this frantic time of year and for showing the way to a more wholesome way of being human in the world.