How's it going with the New Year's resolutions? I didn't really make any. I did, however, jump on the bandwagon of choosing one word to define and direct my goals for this year.
(Before I share it, though, I want to say an early 'Happy Birthday' to my kid... Happy birthday, Evan! I love you and miss you! Can't wait to have you back home. Praying that God has some exciting things just around the corner for you and that this year is going to be YOUR year!)
The word I've chosen for 2013 is DECLUTTER. And that's a doozy of a word. For me, anyway, it encompasses a-whole-heckuva-lot.
My hopes to declutter in 2013 (if all goes according to plan) will affect every area of my life, not just my home (although that will be a big part of it). This isn't just a "I'm finally gonna get organized" kind of thing, although I certainly hope that will happen. It's more of a "I'm gonna achieve peace and contentment if it kills me" kind of thing.
Here are the specifics, in a long, rambly nutshell.
DECLUTTER my home
This will actually be the easiest (although not easy), so I'll start here. My housemates and I do not need 49 t-shirts that are suitable only for sleeping or cleaning house, or 17 pairs of jeans that no longer fit, so that's where I'll start, with decluttering our closets and drawers.
Ever since getting "sick" (I was diagnosed in 2008), my deep cleaning skills (aw, who are we kidding? Deep? Snort! My cleaning skills, period) have really suffered. I just don't get down on my hands and knees for anything anymore... Unless someone drops M&Ms at my feet. And even then... It's gotta be a pretty good handful. So, I'm envisioning something akin to entering a wardrobe and suddenly finding myself in Narnia. Some of our closets haven't been investigated in a long time and God only knows what I'll find, is what I'm trying to convey. I don't know if I should expect the process to be tedious, exciting, terrifying, or a combination of all three.
I'll have to remind myself not to feel wasteful when it's time to say goodbye to a "perfectly good" piece of clothing, or fearful that I may get rid of something I'll need in the future. God will see to my future needs. But He will not clean out my closets (believe me, I've asked). Apparently, only I can do that.
I hope to blissfully and thankfully let go of the things that no longer serve us, instead of fearfully clinging to stuff, "just in case." When I begin to worry that I'm letting go of too much- that I'm really, really going to need these things, I will remind myself of the wise words in Matthew 6:25-34.
When I daydream (and I will), that I may someday wriggle my buttocks back into the size 8 jeans I've been hanging onto for 22 years, I will declutter my thinking by reminding myself that if I succeed in becoming a size 8 again (heck, even a 10) that accomplishment will deserve a brand new pair of jeans, not some tired, old, out-of-style pair (...My way-too-small Wonder Woman t shirt is not going anywhere, however. Let's just make that clear right now. You will not even pry it from my cold, dead fingers, because I will be buried in it... even if it has to be slit up the back to make it fit).
Anyhoo... The unnecessary, material CRAP in my life- It's all going. And I hope, by the end of the year, I'll have a whole slew of posts showing my progress.
DECLUTTER my head
This is a biggie, because the success of this one will determine the outcome of every other goal I've set. I want to rid my head of the centuries-old (okay, maybe not that old, but "half-a-century-old" doesn't roll off the tongue), self-destructive patterns of thinking that bring me down every day.
While writing this post, I had the pleasure of reading a post called Drops of Awesome, which was shared on Facebook by a friend. If you didn't see it there, I hope you'll read it here. Honestly... If you're prone to beating yourself up the way I do, reading this will be one of those epiphany-inducing, life-changing things. For me, it was pure serendipity... or not. The timing of it was more like a "God thing," as it so closely reflected the new direction my own thoughts have been taking.
I want to be kinder to myself; cut myself the same amount of slack I'd give you... Stop looking at myself with a destructive, self-sabotaging throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water mentality that says I'm either perfect, or I absolutely suck. Cuz guess what? I'm never, ever perfect.
I hope to focus more on the little, but good things I do- the "drops of awesome"- instead of constantly beating myself up for all the ways I fail each day.
DECLUTTER my time
This one doesn't need much chit-chat, does it? I mean... just that fact that I'm sitting here blogging right now with laundry to be done, or bills to pay tells you I could find more productive ways to spend my time. On the other hand? What would the two of you do without me?
I definitely want to carve out more meaningful time with my kids, though. Not just homeschool time. Not time spent together watching tv. But memory-making, fun, REAL time.
DECLUTTER my body
I want to be healthy. I want more energy. I also want to be smaller, but mostly, it's the health thing. I want those things so badly, yet I never achieve them.
I think we've established that I'm a picky, horribly unhealthy eater, right? Seriously, I'm like a 4 year old. I'd say at least half the foods offered on healthy meal plans are ones I think of as gross (Fish? No. I don't do fish. Veggies? Sure. I love loaded baked potatoes, corn on the cob- covered in butter and salt, or a nice healthy salad... topped with bacon, cheddar cheese and blue cheese dressing. Legumes and beans? I'll eat beans in chili, but that's about it. Hummus? I don't even know what that is. Never had it. Don't want it... See? I'm ridiculous). So, when I do try to "eat healthy?" I get hungry and feel deprived... which becomes overwhelming, depressing and, ultimately, unrealistic.
I know I'll never be healthy if I don't tackle the pickiness problem. I need to learn to work around it, or with it- gradually, instead of expecting to change it over night. This goes back to that idea of throwing the baby out with the bath water. My approach to eating healthfully (like my approach to everything else) has always been too all or nothing. I throw out all the junk in the house, eat one "last meal" of good food (like taco pizza followed by chocolate sheet cake or peach cobbler... You have to really treat yourself the night before you meet your doom, y'know?), then go to bed full, but already feeling sad and deprived over the life I'm leaving behind, and plan to change my entire life beginning at 7:00 the next morning.
It's all about how quickly I can lose a certain number of pounds, instead of being about a sustainable life change. It boils down to too many radical changes too soon; too many yucky new foods that I don't know how to prepare. I'm defeated and eating ice cream by 3:30 pm. Then, I wait for the next Monday to begin again, because in my all-or-nothing head, diets always start on a Monday, so ultimately every Sunday night becomes a "last meal" night before the "fresh start" on Monday morning. Is it any wonder I'm fat?
This year, I'm going to focus on feeding myself the way I'd feed a toddler, since I'm so good at behaving like one. I'm trying to introduce new, healthy foods a little at a time. Making gradual, positive changes seems so much more doable to me than taking away all the bad foods I love so much. Right now, for example, I can't imagine a morning that begins without Diet Pepsi. I cannot envision drinking nothing but boring, plain water. Ick. So, for now, I will cling to my beloved DP, but also add a glass or two of water to my day. I will eat my taco pizza, but with a salad or handful of baby carrots.
This morning, I had a whole grain English muffin for breakfast. It had butter and jelly on it, but I ate something whole grain for breakfast. Yay, me! Usually, I don't eat breakfast at all, and when I do? It's chocolate. Progress, people!
It will be about ADDING, not TAKING AWAY. Drops of Awesome. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I will have a bucket full of awesome- those bad foods I adore and crave will have been replaced one by one as I learn to make and like healthier choices, and the process will not have seemed so overwhelming and difficult.
DECLUTTER my spirit
I want to rid myself of any activity, thought or thing that detracts from my relationship with God and is unhealthy for my soul. If my spirit suffers, my relationships with those I love will suffer, and of course, I suffer as well. I want more time in His Word and spent in prayer. Easier said than done, but that's the goal. Also? Maybe I need to think more carefully about what I spend my time watching and reading. What area(s) of my life am I still withholding from God? Maybe I need to look more carefully at the people in my life, which leads me to...
DECLUTTER my peeps
I've already touched on this topic a little in my last couple posts. I use up way too much time and energy dealing with people who do not add anything positive to my life. Those days are done (I hope). I do not wish to become more selfish, but maybe a little more self-focused (in a good way!); just in remembering to consider my own well-being and emotional/spiritual health, along with others' when choosing who and what deserves my time.
DECLUTTER my marriage/other relationships
This does not mean I'm getting a divorce or leaving my family. Nor am I devising ways (sinister or otherwise) to get rid of family members (heehee). I'm not even plotting ways to change their behavior. To me, this means choosing to lay aside my own behaviors that add nothing positive to my relationships.
Do you have anyone in your life with whom you argue? Do those arguments ever seem to be um... let's say "redundant," or unproductive? Do you ever feel as if you've been having the same, dang argument with someone- over and over and over- for years, with no resolution? Help me out here, guys. Surely, I can't be the only one, can I?
What's that oft-used saying about the definition of insanity? Isn't it "doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results?" I've thought of that expression quite a bit this last year, since I've pretty much been living it. Sometimes, it's like I'm in that movie Groundhog Day. That can start making you feel a little nuts, after a while, guys. It's not healthy.
When we know certain words, tones, attitudes will only lead to an argument (or all-out, knock-down-drag-out fight) that has no positive solution, what ultimate purpose does it serve? Arguing for the sake of "fixing" something can be healthy, but, there comes a point... A point when you know you're not arguing so you can solve or help. You're arguing so you can hurt. You're arguing just because that's what you do with this person. And that can't really even be called an "argument" anymore. It's bickering. Petty, obnoxious bickering.
Oftentimes in relationships, it seems we see a storm brewing and steer toward it; we say our well-rehearsed, destructive lines, with feet even more firmly planted in our already deeply held positions, then we walk away no closer to a solution; only more angry, bitter, and frustrated than before.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I want to be done with that. I want to feel like I'm moving forward and making progress, not spinning my wheels. My life is (at least) half over. Why waste one more day with anger or petty behaviors? Those things clog and clutter my relationship with God and affect people I love. Why give any person that kind of power over my life? I can't make someone else stop hurting me. But I can respond to hurt differently. I can't make other people get along with me. But I can stop actively participating in conversations that have no productive outcome or benefit.
This will be one of the harder goals to put into practice. It will mean biting my tongue... A LOT... And I'm not a tongue-biting kind of girl. I don't know if you've noticed that. It will mean refusing to take the bait. It will mean saying I'm wrong when I know I'm right. It will mean letting the other guy "win." So what? If I can live a calmer, happier, more peaceful life, am I not winning, too?
I think the theme of DECLUTTERING will be a frequent one here in this coming year, as I delve into all the areas of my life that need a little trimming. I hope I'll have heaps of progress to share.
What about you? Did you choose a word, theme, or goal for the year? Any words of wisdom to share as we all venture into this new year? If so, I'd love to hear it!
You know, you all have gotten very quiet and rarely comment. What gives? What's the fun in doing all this talking if no one talks back? Maybe your word for this year should be COMMENT!