I feel like a broken record saying this, but the past year has been hard. All that hard has threatened to harden my heart, too. I’ve waged battles with God, and within myself.
I needed to change my focus.
I’m beginning to understand eucharisteo: thanksgiving which leads to joy. (Haven’t read One Thousand Gifts? Well worth your time, even if you already read Ann’s blog. I’ll share more about the book in another post.) Over the holidays, I began anew counting my blessings with a new-found realization of the importance of thankfulness. Because of this, I thought my word for the year was going to be “joy.” Although that will be a big focus, I’ve realized my word for the year is something else.
This year’s word-focus: NOW.
First off, I feel compelled to explain this is absolutely NOT the “now” of those who make excuses to do whatever they want with no thought of consequences.
What living the “now” means to me:
1) Stop worrying.
I worry so much I’d earn a gold medal if it was an Olympic sport. For me “now” is the opposite of worrying about the future. God gives me what I need — strength, patience, wisdom — right now. I cannot stockpile what I’m going to need from Him down the road; it’s like manna that will crawl with maggots if I try to store it up. Instead, I need to learn to lean on Him day by day, moment by moment.
2) DO the things.
I get easily overwhelmed with the enormity of tasks ahead of me — like when we replaced the flooring downstairs and I knew we had to move ALL the furniture, books, etc., in order to do the job. That overwhelmed feeling paralyzes me, which is the cause of my tendency to procrastinate. The only solution is to break it down into less overwhelming tasks, and then DO the things! In regards to starting new routines, I must focus on one day at a time and choose to do it now rather than the ever-elusive “later.”
3) Make the most of the time.
With my dad gone, and with so many changes last year, I realize the fleeting-ness of life in a way I didn’t before. I want to make the most of whatever time I have. I want to live wisely.
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
4) Leave the past behind.
Of course we should learn from the past, and I believe our life experiences are largely what make us who we are. However, I tend to beat myself up for things I wish I could go back and change. It’s not a healthy way to live. I should thank God that I’m no longer who I once was, but beyond that, I need to leave the past in the past.
5) Don’t wish my life away.
Growing up, if I’d say something like, “I wish it was already Saturday,” my dad would tell me,
“Stop wishing your life away.”
In times of stress, or when looking forward to something exciting (vacation, new school year/end of school year, whatever…), I tend to want to fast-forward life. It’s easy to overlook the now. But this is the only “now” I have. Even when the kids drive me batty, there will come a day when I reminisce about things like a little boy who wears his cowboy hat and superhero mask too often — and when that day comes, I want to smile about it, instead of kicking myself for wishing away that time of life.