You may remember back in November when I wrote about my constant eye twitching. I tried to relax a bit, sleep more, and give myself space to rest, but truthfully, none of those things really happened. I had a twitch in my eye up until Christmas Day.
Yesterday, I got real with myself. I decided I needed to sit down and evaluate how 2016 was great and also really hard. If 2017 was going to be better, if I was going to grow, I needed to know what worked and what didn’t.
Here’s what didn’t work for me:
- Eating fast food more than once a week and neglecting to meal plan.
- Never asking for help.
- Trying to work whenever I got the chance, and never really resting from it.
- Being busy instead of intentional about my time.
- Spending money unnecessarily (this goes with fast food!).
- Ignoring my stress rather than facing it.
Phew. Just getting those things out of my head felt like pulling my own teeth. I didn’t want to admit that I had stumbled a lot, especially in the last few months of 2016. My eye twitch, although really not that detrimental, felt like a constant reminder of failure.
There were some great things about this year, too. I certainly can’t overlook them.
Here’s what did work:
- Doing yoga after my boys were in bed.
- Flossing everyday.
- Waking up early to get with God.
- Using several different calendars/planners to arrange our family schedule.
- Going to bed early (on the rare occasions it happened).
- Drinking a liter of water every morning.
- Telling Evan how I feel, even if it feels awful.
- Budgeting before the month begins.
- Putting my phone away. Resting with Evan & the boys. Giving myself space to enjoy my people and not give a care about what the rest of the world is doing. AKA, vacation time.
This past week, I decided to do a lot of the above. I decided to pick up the stress I’ve been carrying and just look at it in the face. Writing can wait; this blog can wait. I needed to rest, disconnect, and let the world go on so I could collect myself again.
Today, I started reading about Saul in 1 Samuel. I read about the part where Samuel is about to introduce the new king to all the Israelites, and Saul is hiding in the supplies. I’ve read it a handful of times, and it always makes me giggle a bit because the guy is so huge. He probably stuck out like a sore thumb.
Except this time, I felt like Saul. I get it now, knowing God has called you and feeling absolutely afraid and unsure. Wanting to hide from everything.
I went on to read the Bible commentary about Saul, and it says this:
From Saul, we learn that while our strengths and abilities make us useful, it is our weaknesses that make us usable. Our skills and talents make us tools, but our failures and shortcomings remind us that we need a Craftsman in control of our lives. Whatever we accomplish on our own is only a hint of what God could do through our lives.
I mean. Yes, Lord, to that.
I’ve been looking back on 2016, what worked, what didn’t, what I struggled through, what felt good and purposeful, and this feels like my anthem for 2017:
It is my weaknesses that make me usable.
How often I have read 2 Corinthians 12:9 that says “…my power is made perfect in weakness” and never fully understood. I take God at His word but never absorb the truth behind it. His power is perfected in MY weakness.
So, 2016, you’ve been real. You’ve been hard. You’ve taught me many things about myself and about what God can do, and for that, I am thankful. I’m gathering up my stress, my stuff, and my work, and I am going to lug it into the next year anticipating God to perfect His power in the places I am weakest. I want to move, one foot in front of the other, towards the goal of doing more for His glory, less for my own, and with more intention.
What worked for you this year? What didn’t work?
I’m using Cultivate What Matters 2017 Powersheets to start off the year. I can’t recommend them enough!
I’m also using a planner similar to this one for work, family, and personal obligations.
I also have a wall calendar similar to this one hanging in our kitchen that lists bill due dates, meetings, family obligations, and other important church, ministry, or people-centered occasions.