i am not much of a new years’ resolution kind of girl, but i do appreciate the newness that a new year can bring. (how many times can YOU use the word “new” in a sentence?!)
i like the feeling of a blank slate. of an easy to utilize way to being truly following hard after what has been serving your heart well, and easing off the things that were holding you back the previous year. it just feels like a fresh start when you look at it that way, and a good bench mark to feel yourself out- where am i? where is my heart? what am i striving towards?
ever heard that phrase before? it is something i have hanging on my corkboard above our home computer. it is something i need constant reminding of. i can, almost instantly, go from “ohhh, i feel beyond thankful and want to serve others, etc etc!” to “ahhh! i’m discontent! i am not good enough, smart enough, busy enough, a good enough mom, a good enough wife, a good enough friend, i don’t have enough cute clothes!” woah. that’s quite the shift, right?! all from how i choose to look at things. when i am coveting things, when i have pieces of envy and jealousy that are shrouding my view on the world, i immediately am small. not good enough. i don’t measure up. but guess what? that’s not where my heart should be focused at all, and i don’t need to believe the lies. but what i do need is to take my thoughts captive. to CHOOSE my outlook, to CHOOSE joy, to CHOOSE contentment.
i have been thinking about just that recently- taking my thoughts captive. i was washing the dishes the other night and was kind of bitter about it- why are there ALWAYS dishes?! why do i always end up doing them?! ohhh poor me, why oh why?! and then i asked myself why i am doing them in the first place. yeah, i don’t like a messy kitchen…but really…why. well, it’s because it serves my family well. it allows for our family to focus on being together. sometimes the things that we need to do aren’t the most fun, but they need to get done. when i started thinking about the fact that even the act of doing the dishes, something i was bitter about just moments ago, was actually serving my family well- woah! i was done with the dishes in no time and off to find another project to help keep the flow of our household going. this is a small example, but a huge heart change.
i am not always the greatest at taking my thoughts captive on my own. i am GREAT at encouraging others to do so- family, friends, students, doula clients- I can remind them that they can get to a place where they are focusing on the truths instead of the lies. and they often do. but i’m not so great at doing that on my own. but guess what?! more great news! we weren’t meant to do this all on our own! travel partners were created for this journey.
i’m learning more and more about my need for community. not just friends or people i chat about things with, but real authentic community that builds me up and i help build up too. the type of relationships where you come to serve but in the process are also served, and even if that had previously made you a little uncomfortable (raising hand), you accept it because that’s what we are there for…serving each other well. i’m not always great at (i swear this isn’t a “i’m not always great at!” post!!) asking for help when i need it. i can do a lot of things on my own, i CAN do it…but should i? that’s a question that’s been on my heart. 2013 is going to be for focusing on contentment. contentment found in this kind of community. i’m thankful for a church that focuses so hard on community and doing life with one another, without that i think it would be easy for me to feign this. fake it a little, pretend like friendships are real community, and call it a day. that’s not what i want! real, authentic community. and in that, an encouragement towards contentment.
contentment, as i mentioned, is such a choice. for me, another way to actually CHOOSE this kind of joy and contentment is to notice the little things, to HONOR the little things. like soaking up the times when keaton gets a case of the giggles and can’t stop laughing. or when i see trevor and keaton running around the house- keaton chasing him growling and saying “i’m a lioooonnn!!”, or even the bigger things like the big conversations trev and i have about our future, our family, mission work, whatever (or the asinine conversations we have that leave us both cracking up for no apparent reason). soaking up those things. enjoying those things. when you soak up that, there’s much less time to think about what is lacking. and honestly, in those moments- there isn’t much that’s lacking at all!
i’m not saying i don’t want to strive for more. or that learning or gaining new skills or knowledge is bad. not at all. or that i don’t want MORE from life. because i do, and i will. but the MORE just looks different to me than what conventionally it might look like to others. contentment is not complacency.
i know i will struggle and fail at this, and while i am encouraged by the first couple weeks of the year, i know that there will be weeks where i am just not. i hope by simply pressing “publish” here this serves as a reminder to me of where i’ve been and where i want to go. and what i hope for your hearts as well.
how are you doing? what are you hoping for this year? where is your heart focused? let’s get real here and encourage each other in this.
and, i leave you with some of the small things that make my heart full. just a small conversation, but a sweet part of my heart. contentment in this giggle.