I don’t really “do” resolutions. But, with a new year ahead of us — yes, I realize we’re almost a full month in — it is a good time to look back and look ahead. In looking back over the past few years, I sometimes don’t know how I made it out. In ways, I’m surprised I survived. There have been a lot of times I could have just closed my door, crawled under the covers and waved the white flag — honestly, I can’t say that anyone would have blamed me.
But if I had done that, I would have missed out on some of the most beautiful days of my life. Days when the love of friends, family and strangers warmed up the coldest parts of my heart. Days when the sun glistened just so on the snow, reminding me of the life that lives even when everything around it appears dead. Days when a little girl looked up at me with wide eyes and said “Mama, up!” and leaned her head in for a kiss — “mmmmmwah!”
Even in living — and loving — those moments, I sometimes find myself living on the periphery, struggling to be present. To appreciate today without looking to tomorrow and what may be. To set aside the things that are stressing me out in the moment to sit on the floor and read a book (for the 100th, 1,000th, millionth time) with Dottie Lou. To sit quietly with Mr. B and enjoy the stillness of our house when Dottie actually (!) goes down for a nap.
It was with this in mind that I joined an online study/support/inspiration group of like-minded Christian women, seeking to live a more intentional life — to “grow what matters.”
Each month we’ll be reading a book and discussing it in an online/Facebook forum. Our first book is “The Fringe Hours” by Jessica Turner. It talks about how to make time in your schedule for yourself — to make sure your cup (your spirit) is full as you help to fill the cups of those around you.
Boy do I struggle with this. I tend to fill all of my down time: I say “yes” more often than I should and I take on projects because I can, not because I should. I also turn down “fun” nights out with friends out of the fear (guilt?) of leaving Dottie and Mr. B alone after we’ve been apart all day long.
Mind you, this is no one’s fault but my own. Mr. B is very generous with his time and offers to make sure that I get some “me” time, even if it’s just a half hour for me to take a bubble bath. And we have plenty of offers from babysitters. My inability to set aside time for me is a problem I’ve created for myself.
In reading “The Fringe Hours” (during my fringe hours) I’m finding myself taking out my highlighter and pen to make notes to myself — sure am glad I opted for the hard copy rather than my Kindle on this one.
In one section, the book asks us to list the roles we have in our life: mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, publisher.
It then goes on to list the things that excite us, that make our hearts race: being Dottie’s mom, being Mr. B’s wife, writing things people enjoy reading, helping people thrive, learning new things.
The point is not to say the roles/jobs listed in the first question don’t matter. Because they do. Rather, it is to make sure we’re also filling our lives with more of the things that make our hearts race.
So, that’s my goal for myself — not just for the new year, but for … forever: to fill my life with more things that truly excite me, to focus on those things in my life that make my heart race and to better use my “yes” and “no.” I want to spend more time being present with Dottie and Mr. B. I need to do more writing and become a better servant. I am challenging myself to take time for the things that fill my cup — I want to live a life that fulfills me. And I want to show Dottie, by my example, that she can have that, too.
If you haven’t thought about it yet, I’d encourage you to make a couple lists of your own. What are the roles you have? What are the things that make your heart race?