Two posts in one month? It's a blogging miracle!
Let's keep moving with guideposts for the Year of Brave.
Seize the morning.
At 18, I could stay up all night gorging on Nintendo and Kevin Smith movies, then take an 8 a.m. lit exam with the energy of a spider monkey. (Truth: I don't know anything about spider monkeys, but they sound like a perky bunch, yes?) Today, as a 35-year-old working mom with three children ages seven and under who barrel down the hall before six almost. every. day., I'm apologizing to my tomorrow self if the lights aren't out by eleven. And by eleven I mean ten-thirty, because apparently I've reached the point where flannel nightgowns and teeth in a glass are more accurate depictions of my nocturnal hours than gleefully ignorant college student.
Unfortunately, I relearn this lesson every two or three days because of the stopping problem I mentioned in my last post. (See also: the time stamp on this entry.) Also, the morning is such a wild card because the kids have no respect for the zzzz's. Seriously, the click of my night lamp is the same as yelling COCKLE DOODLE DOO directly into their sleep-intolerant eardrums. I haven't figured out how to address this, but I'm going to do it this year. I do seize the morning with my friend Jen twice a week to hit the gym before work, so at least there's a starting point for making progress.
Plus, if nothing else, there's always the john, right? I may or may not have camped out in "the library" to read respectable portions of the Old Testament for my Bible class this way.
Make the call.
One of my biggest literary finds last year was Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (thank you, Molly!), which got me thinking about weighty concepts like shame, vulnerability and connection. I'm in the middle of The Gifts of Imperfection, and one of Brene's observations on compassion really struck a chord with me:
I don't believe that compassion is our default response. I think our first response to pain - ours or someone else's - is to self-protect. We protect ourselves by looking for someone or something to blame. Or sometimes we shield ourselves by turning to judgment or by immediately going into fix-it mode.
I so identify with this. It's hard for me to sit with pain. When I talked about the pastor transition at my church last week, I kept it light-hearted, but I really did sob quietly in worship for several months, and it was so embarrassing, because the last thing I wanted was to draw attention to myself, but I could not get it together. If ignoring the obvious is an example of self-protection, you are looking at THA MASTA, right here.
But it's not limited to me. When it comes to other people in pain - particularly those who aren't in my daily circle - I can get so paralyzed by the idea of doing the wrong thing or overestimating the comfort I can give that oftentimes I don't do anything at all. Which is bad, obvs. So making the call is about taking that first step to meet someone where they are, even knowing I could eff it up or, yes, overestimate the comfort I can give.
Allow for slack.
I continue to fight the good fight against the busy trap, which continues to involve being selective with our commitments. But I updated the wording this year to place the emphasis on leisure - on the yes to filling the days with even more reading, creating, praying, and all those other restorative pursuits that get done only when we make the time. There's lots of room for better.
Last fall, I attended my first canvas painting class at our local UPaint studio to paint what I hoped would be a soothing fall scene, but what materialized into a smattering of dots and series of trees that probably sprouted from Freddy Krueger's nightmares. Don't worry, I'm being all Stuart Smalley about it and have nothing but love for my amatuer artistic abilities, but that big tree on the left was scaring the bejeezus out of me. So over winter break, Luke, the kids and I painted over it with a happy little snowman. It was so much fun.
We created this guy after Christmas, but I covered the canvas in white soon after Thanksgiving. I look at this as a (tiny, First World Problems) example of brave - chasing an idea even if I don't know where it'll take me and embracing the process. I want so many (bigger, more meaningful versions) of these moments in 2015.
Next up: 2014 highlights! Or maybe a reading year in review. Let's not too crazy around here!