Friday, January 12, 2018

Missing: JOY

Inevitably, this time of year seems to bring me down.  I forget year to year until it hits.  This time, it appeared on my birthday and has seemed to linger most of the week.  Joy is missing.

Probably a mixture of many things but weather and the aches and pains that go with it certainly don't help my mood.  We had unusually high temps the past two days and a sneak peek at sunshine, which I can tell improved me some. 

But, although I was feeling better, I must have not looked it.  Multiple times this week, I've been asked if I'm sick.  While a cough is still lingering from Christmas, I am physically well.  I'm just a little ho-hum.

Have you been there, friends?

When joy doesn't leap in your lap, what's a girl to do? 

Well, you just have to dust yourself off and seek it out.  Sometimes joy is a fight.  I think I borrowed that from Chewbacca Mom but, knowing her spirit, she won't mind.  Because it is so true.

Joy doesn't always come easy, even for a joy-seeker.  And sometimes joy is missing even when there isn't anything "wrong."  When joy is absent, in times of grief or trauma, it is expected but when things are relatively good, yet joy still hides, it can be frustrating.

Where are you, JOY?

What I know from my child-loss journey is you often have to search out joy.  When you are unable to feel it with ease, pause and reflect on simple joys.  They are always there.  A hot cup of coffee, gas in the fireplace, and time with God are the joyful ways I started my morning.  Watching the doggies slip and scatter across the deck might have also given me a chuckle but I rewarded them with a treat when they returned.

I could focus on the negative - the worries of the winter storm and my husband making it home safely.  Or that he'll more than likely have to work all weekend, due to being one of the closest to the store who could make it in.  Or, the fact that my joints are fully reporting the ice and snow that will arrive today.  And the many other issues Satan will undoubtedly hiss in my ear.  Or, I can focus on the good.  Joy is about choosing where you will focus your heart and mind.

In seasons where I struggle, practicing self-care is a must. Even if I don't "feel" like it, taking time to care for myself has to be a priority.  Putting on a face mask and drenching myself in lotion before bed restores my skin but also gives a boost to my soul.  Planning to dust off the walking DVD and move my body this wintery weekend will benefit my health and my spirit.  Cooking nutritious foods for my family, instead of calorie-ridden comfort casseroles will give us energy instead of increasing our need to hibernate.  And using essential oils that are meant to uplift, calm and soothe is a natural way to help myself.  Playing positive music and praying is also a given, even if I'm not struggling for joy.

Should tears fall anyway, despite my efforts, sometimes letting go and having a cry can be healing. And allowed.  Just don't linger there long.

Pat those tears off your cheeks, breathe deep and get back in the search for JOY.

Monday, January 1, 2018

One Word 2018

The past several years I've chosen a #oneword to focus on for the year instead of a resolution.  With resolutions, at least for me, they tend to fall away after the first month.  One word has a way of seeping in and settling among you throughout the year.  Even when I forget my one word (and I do) it never fails to remind me - usually when I need to hear it most.

Rather than choosing a word randomly or the first that comes to mind, I tend to dwell and pray on it over the last week of the year. Sometimes I'll be torn or worried the #oneword won't arrive in time but it always does.  This year it came quickly, was confirmed immediately, and just for good measure, God sprinkled it in the message I would hear New Year's Eve morning.

Being so certain about the #oneword that will guide 2018 has me brimming with excitement, yet also anxious for all that could be in store. 

I look forward to the final week of December all year long.  It is my time to disconnect and recharge, to soak up moments with family, and to savor the season. 

Though I've always been fortunate to have a job that closes for the holidays, I do have to save vacation days for the time off - because bills don't stop come January.

When the flu hit me right after Christmas, I saw those days go up in smoke.  All the plans I had were suddenly turned upside down and I had a bit of a pity party for myself.  Being that it is Noah's last official year as a "kid" for the holiday added to the sting of missed opportunities and memories we didn't get to share.

After three solid days living in my recliner, I realized maybe God's plan was for me to deeply rest and recharge. 

Instead of using the time to rest in Him though, I whined when I didn't have the energy to complete tasks and tested my family's patience.  Rather than using those days to soak up His word, I let it slip by and missed the full meaning of this season.

I read my Bible daily but somehow when I had the most time I failed to give Him any.

Saturday was my come-to-Jesus moment and I came out with a clear focus on where I have failed Him and others in the past.  And thus, revealed my #oneword for 2018.

Unless I truly invest, I won't get the full value of anything.
If it's important to me, it deserves my best.  My all.
100% invested.

For 2018, I want to be invested...

in my Relationships
-with God, my marriage, motherhood, family, and friendships

In my Health
-this year sparked a change and I want to see it to fruition

In my Passions
-dreams can no longer be dusty from sitting unrealized

In my Priorities
-does it make a difference? bring me joy and Him glory?

In my Future
-and remember investments sometimes take years to reap rewards

In Service to Others
-if I'm deeply invested in each day, help me notice those with the greatest needs

If it is worthy of my time, I want to honor it fully. 
I'll dig deeper into each of these in future posts.

Less Projects, More Focus
Less Tech, More Personal
Less Scattered, More Strategic

Infuse, Devote, Provide, Endow, Plunge, Entrust

What's your #oneword for the year?  I'd love to hear from you!

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