I suppose that since it’s a brand new year, I should write the proverbial New Year’s Resolution blog post. I’m one of those middle of the road peeps. I see some value in setting a public goal because then we’re accountable to ourselves and others. I also understand thinking that NY resolutions are silly because almost NO ONE follows through, despite wonderful and sincere intentions. I’m kind of a “make the vow to myself quietly’ kind of girl, not saying it out loud until I’ve research this life-changing goal and worked it consistently for a short time, mostly. If I’m afraid I won’t follow through because my flesh can be SO weak, and I really want to in my spirit, then I’ll share one-on-one with someone in my inner circle, being sure to mention how unlikely it is that I will accomplish my task.
I have all of these ideas of ways I want my life to change for the better, like most people do. As I was pondering this recently and throughout the past year, I’ve noticed I feel scattered and a bit overwhelmed, so I’ve broken it down into categories in order to see my goals more clearly and in a less complicated fashion.
I want to have healthy boundaries with some people who have hurt me on the regular over the years. This is tough because I am a 2 (enneagram), a hard 2, and I just want to meet everyone right where they are and love them with all that I am. When I don’t do this I feel like I’m letting God down, even though I know in my head that boundaries are healthy and I’ve spent WAY too much time standing in His way in the name of love. In addition to this, I would love to stop caring about the opinions of people who have misrepresented or misjudged my character. While entering my 50’s has helped dissipate much of this, occasionally, it still gets the best of me and I fantasize about the truth coming to light and having peace with those people. I’m SO ready to be an Elsa and completely “let it go!”
THIS is the tough one for me right now. My husband is such a lovely man. Of course, he has stuff like every human being, but because of our very opposite dispositions, my pessimistic McDowell part has bit-by-bit squelched the optimistic and joyful Honey I fell in love with. I find myself often overcompensating for my trespasses when I should simply ask for forgiveness, owning my junk and doing better because of it. It’s awful how something can be ingrained in you from birth and decades later still wreak havoc in adult relationships. It’s time to do better because I am capable of better, my husband deserves SO much better and my children deserve a better example.
This is the embarrassing one. I want to figure out why I continue to gain weight even though I am eating less food and more healthily than I ever have. I’m exercising regularly and getting enough rest (usually), so it’s discouraging that I’m seemingly getting less healthy day-by-day. I’ve spent an abundance of time and money on the pursuit of physical health, and while I am almost never sick and I am quite healthy, this weight gain, sudden onset of hot flashes, and lack of energy are disheartening. My hope is that I’ll figure out what is wrong with my adrenals and/or my thyroid and I can begin a plan that will bring them back to health – and that I can do this without breaking the bank…
This is a subject that is very near and dear to my Jesus-loving heart. There is little else that brings out my passionate side like racial injustice. However, I’ve got to confess that I am intimidated to step into this full throttle for a number of reasons. I feel like I have little to offer as a privileged white woman. This causes me to be terrified to say or do the wrong thing because of my ignorance or any scrap of prejudice that remains. I don’t want to appear to think I am some kind of savior or anything obnoxious. I want to stand by my brothers and sisters and use my voice so that we can start moving through repentance, then restitution and finally reconciliation. I’m not sure what that looks like, yet. I have an entire bookshelf of every suggestion my BtB group has ever mentioned and then some. I’ve read several of them, but I need to be more intentional. I need to stop taking advantage of my white privilege by doing the inconvenient and hard stuff even though it may seem I don’t have to. I am His daughter, which means I do, so I will.
My Honey and I would love to go away for a real vacation. It has been 16 years since we’ve gone away alone together for more than a night or two – and that was in September of 2001 during the week of 9/11, as well as experiencing a hurricane on Sanibel where we were vacationing, and returning to find out one of our children had gotten into some pretty serious trouble while we were away. We’re dreaming of a full week, all alone, somewhere we have to fly to. If we can’t do it this year, then next year is the goal. There are actually several other financial goals we have, but this is not our strong suit, so we’ll just leave it like this for now.
I’ve been praying about my word for this year. I’ve intentionally avoided words like “love,” “help,” “inspire,” because that’s what I’m naturally drawn to and one or two of those have been my word in past years. Yesterday, the word “Simplify” came to me. This is a good goal for me. It’s one I feel I’ve been working on for many years. It’s one of the things I tried to instill into my own children. I have successfully simplified many areas of my life, but I can see that in my desire to accomplish some of the above goals, I have complicated my life unnecessarily. While I believe it’s wise to read and educate oneself about God, health, finances, relationships, ultimately, I know the first place I need to turn is to Him.
I think this looks like taking each of my areas of growth and choosing ONE simple goal, just one baby step and following through. Breaking it down based on His leading and my strengths will produce a simplicity that will bring blessings into my life and those I serve and love.
In my marriage this looks like confessing to my husband first. The next step is unclear for me. I think we’ll need some kind of accountability, so asking him to join me in that is a definite possibility.
Emotionally, in my relationships I will continue to pray before I put myself out there. I will do my best to check my motives and remember that He is so much better at loving people than I could ever be. When He sends me, I will go, but I am finally ready to stop sending myself out of guilt or my icky savior complex, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at times.
My Honey and I have been researching the KETO diet and we are going to give it a whirl. A couple of months ago I bought a planner that keeps me on schedule with my magnesium protocol and that has been helping me stay on track and get back on track when I fall off now and then. My hope is that following these plans will jumpstart my adrenals and thyroid so that my body can start taking better care of itself naturally.
My goal is to read 2 books each month about racial reconciliation. I have started to collect children’s book by authors of color about people of color for the grandchildren I hope to have someday. I am going to purchase 1 book every 2 months and my hope is that I will have a library that will help another generation of my family to love and appreciate all of God’s people. I have other goals, but in the name of simplifying and succeeding, I am going to make this the first step. I am going to bathe each book in prayer and ask Him to show me what steps I take next.
Financially… Yep, not my strong suit. I’ll have to get back with you about this one.
Spiritually, I am going to keep spending time with Jesus. His Word speaks to me in life-changing ways and quiet time with Him is the best way for me to stay centered. I made a commitment to read my Bible daily a few months ago (again) and it’s going well. Sometimes I find myself checking the box, but more often I am slowing down and taking His Word in. I have decided to work through the 12 steps again, joining a group at my church that will keep me accountable and help me grow where He shows me I need to this time around. I bought myself a Christmas present from Cageless Birds that was a stretch for me. Cultivate is a series of 4 volumes that are full of writing prompts, contemplative thoughts, and encouragement for artists of all kinds – because we are ALL artists in one way or another. I bought all 4 of them and gave one to each our 3 youngest and gave myself volume 4, “Creativity Unlocked.” I’m intimidated and excited to see how God works through the pages to help me walk more fully in the identity He has for me.
So, I started this post a few days ago and then as I prayed and journaled I was able to simplify my proposed journey for this next year. I feel centered and hopeful. I’m also seasoned enough to be okay if the end doesn’t look exactly like I’m imagining at the beginning. New Year’s Resolutions are meant to help us move forward in hope, not to discourage us because we aren’t perfect. I pray you find your rhythm in this new year. I pray you find grace for yourself and others. I pray you find yourself walking in your full identity more and more as the days unfold. It’s okay to straight up fail or stumble to any degree, and it’s okay to get up and start again in February or July or December. It’s not okay to let perceived failure defeat you for too long. You’re worth a lot of effort and persistence is noble. Quitting, not so much.
Happy New Year!