Self-care, risk, and the courage to rise

I have been in the blogging witness protection program for a bit.  It has been refreshing, and also a bit lonely.

Raising littles is an endeavor that, for lack of a better term, has made me feel…mortal.  I know it sounds odd, but they grow so fast, and it is all fleeting.  I am not going all “enjoy every minute” on you, but we really are here for a limited period of time.  Short-term needs have pulled me to unimportant tasks and it has left me feeling flat.

The following is my encouragement to myself to reorient my focus.  It just may resonate with you also.

Invest in self-care.

For me, the very first thing that comes to mind is seeking solitude.  God speaks to me in the quiet; however, I am very rarely able to carve out the time necessary to listen.   The introvert in me needs space to think, dream and reflect.  On the surface, it seems impossible to give myself the space when I have little time to spare.

What I continue to find with a little self-reflection is that much of the “crazy” is manufactured by a poor use of time, and a lack of focus on the important things.  Balancing important/unimportant remains God’s holy work in me.

For you, maybe self-care means that it is time to really decide that you have to change a few things to get healthy?  Like, changing your diet for real this time, or actually stepping into the gym you pay for monthly?  Maybe for you it means making the doctor appointment that you have been avoiding?  My appointment with my thyroid doc is finally scheduled for next week. I may not want to hear what he has to say, and will certainly not enjoy the tests that I will have to endure, but it is still LONG overdue.  There are a few appointments that remain unscheduled.  Time to face that music.

Take the risk.

I have been going through an exercise the last few months to really evaluate my “why”.  What is it that keeps me moving in a particular direction?  Do I want to look back and be grateful to have just survived?  What if I was intended to thrive?  How do I get from survive to thrive?  I often use my kids as the excuse for being in the here and now.  They are tiny little bundles of need, and the fires they create are very real.  (I mean… they have to eat three.times.a.day!)  But honestly, are they not the REASON that I want more?  Are they not my true WHY?  Are they not worth the risk?

I urge you…take the risk.  Make a way to achieve something that is on your bucket list.  It is never too late and there is never going to be a better time.  Go after the degree you have always wanted.  Start that scary and exciting business.  Train for, and finish YOUR marathon.

People will tell you that you are nuts by the way; that you cannot succeed.  The dream stealers are many.  Seek out the cheerleaders instead.  They are waiting to run alongside you on your journey or embrace you at the finish.

The unimportant distractions will fade away when you resolve to chase the meaningful.  Run.  It will be worth it.  We really can do hard things.

You will fall.   When you do…forgive quickly, and rise.

I have written previously about my struggle to quiet the “noise” in my mind.  The tapes play on repeat and spew lies about my value, rewinding conversations and encounters to remind me of how I should have behaved, or spoken.  They speak tauntingly about my previous commitments and failures.  For me, the noise is exhaustion in the truest form.

There are times when the noise is so loud it does not allow me to refocus my gaze on my goals.  Looking ahead to my true why seems too far out of reach, and the doubt creeps in.

Dwelling allows the cycle of wallowing to last too long.  It is WAY more difficult to rise from so low a place.  Guard this timing closely.  When you fall, or others let you down…forgive swiftly.  Failure is the very best teacher, and an opportunity to course correct.  It is a gift.  Be grateful.

I am certain that when I am in my final days, I will not wish that I spent more time at work, more time with my face in my phone, or wish that I collected more earthly things.  While my physical presence, heart and finances are in an epic, daily tug-of-war battle to determine value, focusing on the true priority it is a daily choice.  I have to choose.  We all have to choose.

Be courageous.  Resolve to rise.

 

Courage

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflections on 2013, and the choices of 2014

I started my blog in January of 2013 as a way to journal about my personal struggles to determine my value.  Value as a woman, wife, mom, employee, friend…you get the picture.  These particular struggles stem from old tapes that play in my head that try to tell me that my value is limited.  I have to continually remind myself that these lies do not define me.

As I mentioned last year, I do not typically make resolutions, though it worked really well in 2013 for me to have a “theme”.   I closed my very first blog entry with the following statement:  “So 2013, be good and gentle with me and my family, and may I be met with constant reminders of my declaration to return.”  I cannot tell you how many times throughout the year I was reminded that I declared to return.    Here is very brief summary of how well I did in my return to these areas in 2013.

Sanity:  Depends on how much I sleep, and what I eat, but the fog continues to lift.

Sensibility:  We are acutely aware of our chemical burden.  This continues to be an area of passion and research for me.  We made a huge change in April of 2013 to cut processed food from our diet, and switch to what is considered “Real Food”.  Still a battle to eat wisely each day.  Budget…continues to be a struggle.  More to come on this in 2014.

Service:  In early 2013, I began serving on the board of a large local mother’s club.  I am coordinating a program which organizes meals and other service-related tasks for moms that welcome new babies.  Food, and new mamas.  Perfect fit.

My God:  I wander.  Therefore, I am not sure that God will ever stop calling me to return.  It is something that I hope to be a life-long pursuit.  Both Him calling me back, and me chasing hard after His goodness, love and scandalous grace.

This new year, I plan to pursue more perspective in the things that really matter in my life.  Often, it takes a great sacrifice or tragedy to put life into perspective, but I am not waiting.  I am choosing over the next 12 months to sacrifice selfishness in search of character development.  I will not always get to control my circumstances, or the outcome of my trials, but  I do have a choice about my attitude, and response.  This will be my 2014 theme.  The ability to choose.

I plan to begin 2014 in January by choosing stillness.  This will initially mean developing a discipline of giving the first portion of my day to God in quiet and prayer.  I LOVE sleep, so when I tell you that this is a sacrifice, please believe me.

Honestly though, this is about SO much more than morning quiet time or prayer.  How will my relationships, parenting, work/business life, budget change if I choose to be still?  Can I be a better listener, think/pray before making a decision or purchase, pause before speaking, consider others before acting?  Will the manufactured hustle that I create in my life subside?  What will I learn about myself in the silence?  What will God speak to me in the quiet?

Looking forward to January’s journey and the insight.

~S