Wow! What a start to 2018. January was nuts. LONGEST MONTH EVER. Both Johnny and I rang in the new year with what we think was the flu. Not fun by any means and took a couple weeks to get back to somewhat normal – mentally and physically. All the down time over the holiday season sure gave me plenty of time to think about my goals for the new year.
In 2017 my resolution was to “Act with confidence in areas of truth.” I had so many opportunities to do just that. It was definitely a year of growth. My faith and confidence were stretched in a lot of areas. I had to really trust God and push past a lot of fear. That led me to thinking about what I wanted to work on this year. Over the past couple of months things have kind of settled into some normalcy, and I’ve been coming off the adrenaline rush of so many things changing in such a short amount of time. To be perfectly honest, I’ve had a swell of emotions as I’m really feeling the weight of life. Not only have I found myself worrying about some things specific to me and Johnny, like our health and things like that, but I’ve also been stressed out about some things with my immediate family – just burdens that when added all together weigh pretty heavily on my mind and heart.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve struggled with the back-and-forth of fear and faith. It all started when I was in kindergarten and we did our first fire drill at school. We watched a Donald Duck fire safety video, and as a five years old, the whole experience scared the crap out of me. From then on I was terrified that our house was going to burn down and I was going to lose everyone I loved. I would even pack a bag and put it by my bed at night in case there was a fire and we needed to get out of the house quickly. Over the years I have been scared of a lot of things: dogs, storms, bridges, being kidnapped, and even rust dust. [Okay. Let me explain “rust dust.” This last Christmas my dad was changing the batteries in an old toy, and the coils were all rusted. Johnny was watching him, and I immediately pulled him away from my dad and the toy because I was scared he was going to breath in the flakes of “rust dust.” My oh-so-sweet family teased me that no one else in the world is afraid of “rust dust.”]
I guess there is some benefit to always scanning for or being aware of danger. No kid ever hits their head on the corner of a table when I’m around, and I’m a fantastic planner and, for the most part, always prepared. Over the years I’ve made some great progress with my fears – trying to look for the truth, doing what I can, and trusting God. Oh, and not watching the news ‘cause I just can’t. I find a lot of security in being as prepared and aware as possible, but what about all the stuff I can’t control?
I mean, when there is a tornado, I’m glued to the TV and weather app. I’m aware of the severity and path of the storm, and I make sure my whole family is aware as well. I’m dressed in jeans, socks, athletic shoes, and hoodie because it’s cold after a tornado comes through. Pillows are in the tub, phone is charging, dog is in the travel kennel in the bathroom, and my baby is in a baby carrier. I do just about everything I can, but I still worry about all the stuff I can’t control or prepare for. It’s heavy. So what do you do when you reach that point where there is nothing more you can do? Nothing more to prepare? Nothing more to protect? You pray.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
At the beginning of the year, I decided to identify the major stress, the major burdens that weigh on my heart, and then pray for those things intentionally every day. What is it in each one of my family members’ lives do I wish I could fix for them – Health? Love? Happiness? A relationship with God? Protection? So I sat down and made a list. Then I decided that I needed to fast from something for the year. Last year I felt like God was putting it on my heart to take a break from coffee and alcohol. I literally said out loud, “Seriously? Are you trying to take away all my coping mechanisms?” Um… yeah. He is. I kept putting it off last year but decided to let those be the things I fast from this year with the intention of praying for the ones I love. No more relying on coffee to get me going in the morning or indulge in as an escape throughout the day. No more glass of wine in the evening or a beer when I go out with friends and just want to unwind. I’m not saying it’s forever, but at least for this year while I really try to discipline myself to take my thoughts captive and give things over to God, I need to give up something I want and like to prove to myself that I’m serious. I need to deny my flesh because there is something spiritual that is more important to me. This should be an interesting year!
I pray that everyone’s new year is off to a great start. I’d love to hear about what some of y’all’s resolutions are for 2018 and if you’ve already stopped sticking to them!