Why are there always such crazy emotions that go with January 1st? There’s an excitement and even a sadness of letting go of the previous year, but yet an anticipation of the new days to come.
Last year was a year like none other. There were so many beautiful highlights from a daughter’s wedding, to our first grand babies (yes, there were 2 in one year), to travels. But amid all those events to celebrate there was also sadnesses — tears of loss, frustration, and separation.
Trying to juggle all those emotions, I can now say, threw me off course.
I found myself running down the path of striving.
Striving to be the best wife and mom, despite all the changes. Striving to plan the best events. Even charging ahead as quickly as possible hoping frustrations would end. And even diverting and running a different race than what has been laid out for me in hopes that all sorrow could be avoided.
And as I look back, I can easily say that the striving almost killed me. Of course not in a physical sense, but more so in a spiritual sense.
In my striving I forgot about the one thing I love and treasure more than anything, living in God’s presence. Listening to His sweet voice and going where ever He nudges.
I also forgot about the simple. The daily ordinary things that make up the holiness, beauty and memories of days as they pass.
To be blunt, striving sucked the life right out of me. As the new year rolled in, I stood at it’s brink looking as a stretched out deflated balloon. Totally not a pretty sight, if you are wondering.
Emails I subscribe to flooded in: Top 3 Goal Setting Mistakes, 9 Ways to Make this Your Year, How to Hustle, Everything You Need to Know to Get What you Want, and even Act Now to Make 2016 Your Best. The pressure was rising. I love hearing from each of the authors. But with each note I opened the pressure to strive was sucking the life out of my soul.
Be still and be filled.
Here we are a week into the new year. I’ve not set goals. I’ve not read the above notes to insure that this coming year is the best. But what I have done is to be still. To be silent. To rest and be filled with a newness of purpose and cause.
We lose sight of the stillness and simplicity of God when we are running ninety-nine miles an hour.
To sit and breathe in God’s life-giving words has truly revived me. And as my deflated self was being refreshed, I wondered how I let myself get to this point. How did I not see it?
From striving to surrender.
While the new year is a great time to refocus and strive towards those goals, these days you’ll find me surrendering. And I might say that surrendering is even harder than striving, but I’m loving that fact that freedom and peace are accompanying my letting go.
It was painful to realize that to cope with the crazy year behind, I had began following my own plans. Following the path God had set aside for me seemed too painful. So in Alene’s great mind carving a new path seemed the best answer. Striving to become more and do more will always leave you feeling like that sucked-out shriveled up balloon. I’ve corrected course. I’ve surrendered my plans and I’m now back on God’s.
Friendships that derail.
When you are stressed and looking for a breathe to keep you going, you will take that breathe anywhere you can. You will hang to people and habits that will bring you down. I love friendships. I’m a people lover and pleaser by nature. But realizing that not all friends are a great asset to where God has called you was hard. This year I’m surrendering the need for approval, putting up boundaries, and staying on my path.
Lies of Social Media.
Have you ever noticed when you are down-in-the-dumps or stressed out and you go to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram it seems that everyone else has the perfect life? Everyone. I’ve realized social media is not real. It is not a truth teller. It is however a dramatic storyboard of imperfect perfections. While I’m imperfect all I see are your perfections as they scroll through my feed. And your perfect post cause me to doubt myself and long for a different path than what God has called me to. (I’m sure this goes both ways for what I post too) I’m surrendering — I will not be ran, influenced or held hostage by social media. (NOTE: this is an election year, we might all do well by surrendering the crazy we will be exposed to and vow to not be a part of it)
Emails that Cause Comparison.
I subscribe to many websites and blogs that crank out great information. Information that helps me as a leader, writer, and dream-chaser. I love the authors and their words of inspiration. But I’ve found myself playing the comparison game — I want to write like them, lead like others, and create new paths for myself because of their words. This comparison brain of mine will not stop. Out of all that I’m cutting away to get back on track this is the hardest. It’s the letting go. Silly because I know if I need their inspiration I can go straight to them or their websites. I’m surrendering and unsubscribing to my daily dose of comparison.
Surrendering is hard.
While these four acts might not seem much to you, they are extremely hard for me. But the peace and renewal that is being restored with each act of letting go is much needed.
What can you surrender to bring back the peace and joy to your days ahead?