HAPPY NEW YEAR, Y’ALL!
Yes, I know it’s September and we don’t actually turn the calendar to 2018 for four more months (2018!!!! I mean, what? When did that happen…). But honestly, between being in school myself, teaching school, and then having kids in school, September has always felt more like the start of something new to me than January ever has. Consequently, September has always been when the REAL New Year’s Resolutioning has happened for me.
This year, the resolutioning feels weighty in a way it never has before. See, we are at that point in the kid-raising where things are ramping up a notch for our family. Cam (our older) is starting full-day Kinder, Kenzie (our younger) is starting preschool, he’s doing soccer and she’s doing dance, so all of a sudden we have one kid in REAL SCHOOL, both kids in SOME KIND OF SCHOOL, AND evening activities. Feels like we are getting thrown into the deep end of the pool and we had very well better have our flotation devices ready or have finished swim lessons or something.
I’m self-aware enough to know that being regimented, scheduled, and super-organized is NOT among my spiritual gifts and so this is going to present a major challenge for me and for our family. Is anyone else in that place? Puh-LEEZE tell me that I am not the only one who feels intimidated by what lies ahead of me this year. My insecurity is envisioning everyone sitting reading this like, “Psssssh, girl what is wrong? With? You? For REAL women this is our MOMENT!” If that is you, I’m envious of you, happy for you, and praying you can love me even though I’m over here like this at the thought of what’s to come.
Recently (how recently I am slightly embarrassed to admit, it may or may not have been within the last 48 hours), I finally moved past the weeks of mounting dread, of fretting and Pinteresting, of “YOU DON’T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES” panic moments and into the actually PRODUCTIVE space of praying for discernment about what I need to get in place for our family for the coming months. Took me long enough, right? Always does. Bless my heart, God loves me just as I am…
As I prayed about what my New Year’s Resolutions should look like, God really surprised me with what He came back with. He didn’t talk to me about homework routines, organizing our space, making a family calendar or anything like that- although all of those are important and on His list. What He impressed upon my heart was that what this family was going to need more than anything was for ME to get MY game right inside of me, get my heart and head in order, because nothing was going to go the way it needed to if I’m all scattered and scrambling and adrift all the time.
He urged me to sit and think about (and also ask HIM about) what little things in my life I needed to change or firm up in order to put myself in a place of strength. As I mused and prayed, prayed and mused, I realized that my real question for myself was not what things about my life needed the most fixing, what things about me were the most contraindicative to success in the coming months and therefore needed to be rectified IMMEDIATELY, the question was
What are the things in my life that, when they are in place, make me feel the most like I’ve got my you-know-what together?
- Tighten up my Heavenly Connection Game– If I attempt to walk through my days not sufficiently connected to God, I basically end up like a piñata being battered, smacked around, and ripped wide open by the fallen world around me. It’s amazing what big things don’t even faze me when I’m rightly anchored and it’s equally as amazing what little things do get me down and set me off when I’m adrift. Truly there is no such thing as ENOUGH connection to heaven this side of eternity, but that’s part of what makes our faith journey such a refining fire- we are constantly working to get better at being closer. For now, two of my girlfriends and I are walking through the “Enjoying Jesus” study from IF:Gathering that unpacks the spiritual disciplines and guides us toward implementing them in our lives. I’m excited to try them out and really work on finding pieces that will strengthen my daily routines that anchor me to God and keep the lines of communication and connection open. I’m guessing I’ll be blogging about that.
- Commit to MY bedtime routine– In the book Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist (I love her, do you love her? We are besties. Only she doesn’t know it yet) talks about making a resolution NOT to sleep in her clothes. She decided that taking care of herself meant actually putting on jammies at the end of every day and I can relate to that on such a deep level. At the end of my days, I am usually EXHAUSTED and just ready to be done, I will throw on jammies, quickly brush teeth, and leave #allthethings just as they are in my desire to just be done. The problem there is that I wake up in the morning to a messy floor, mascara under my eyes, and basically start the day two steps behind. It makes A BIG DIFFERENCE to me if I taken ten minutes at the end of my day to pick up my room and bathroom, set the living room right for the morning, actually attend to my skincare routine, maybe throw some oils in the diffuser, and basically don’t neglect stuff. I wake in the morning feeling like I’m already all over it just by waking up.
- Meal. Plan.- This family runs on food. *I* run on food. I have discovered over the years that our entire life can be in ashambles, the house can be a mess, we can be MILES behind the 8 ball, and yet if our meals are easy and on time and locked down, it’s somehow manageable. And for me, if I have no idea what I’m doing for breakfast/lunch/dinner, the entire day seems like so much work. I LOATHE taking the time to meal plan. I am a Big Idea Person, I would rather be solving the problems of the world than taking my brain space to attend to painfully dull minutiae like PLANNING FRIDAY’S DINNER ON SUNDAY. But I like my life so much better when I do it. And also, if I plan ahead I can ORDER my groceries for the week from Fred Meyer and PICK! THEM! UP! Without even setting foot in the store with two children. So, meal planning it is.
- Exercise- If you know me at all, you know that physical activity is not my jam. I didn’t play sports in high school, I dislike exerting myself, I am not super into doing long stretches of repetitive things like CARDIO and STRENGTH TRAINING REPS- It’s not my thing. But, much like meal planning and washing my face at night, I feel better about my life when I do it. And also, I’m about to be 39 1/2. Which means in six months…well, you know what it means. I’m about to start needing things like regular mammograms and I already know I have several risk factors for bone loss- I basically need to start taking care of my body before stuff starts falling apart, actively working to maintain my health for my family. And if I just *happen* to look slimmer and trimmer as I put my childbearing years behind me, that also would not suck. So, 3-4 times a week it is. Uggggggggh…
So, there you have it. Four small things that are actually HARD things that if I do them, will make me feel like I have my ish together enough to run the show. If I do those things, they will lay a foundation for the other things. Allllll of the other things.
So, my sisters, what would be your Big Four? The things self-care items that you feel like will help you come from the place of strength your family needs from you as the coming months march on? Share them with me! Let’s hold each other accountable, encourage one another, commiserate when we fail, congratulate when we nail it, and be better people together.