The holidays are my favorite time of the year. Not just for the quality family time creating traditions and sharing in each other’s joy as we anticipate the magic of Christmas. Not just for the guilt-free pleasure of eating my weight in food or gathering special and meaningful gifts for loved ones. But also because the holiday’s signal an end before an always much needed fresh start.
At the end of each year, I spend a good majority of my free time reflecting and planning. When it comes to my day-to-day life, I am the person who never knows what she’s doing tomorrow. “Planner” is never the title used to define me. But when it comes to the BIG PICTURE planning, I can get lost (in a good way). I have high hopes during my big picture dreaming sessions.
This week, I was flipping through the pages of my old planner as I was preparing my new one for the new year. Planted at the front of my old planner were goal setting pages that gave me room for dream casting. To be honest, I was afraid to read through my lists. They were written boldly and confidently, and I was afraid of disappointment. Which parts did I fail? How much do I need to shove into these last few months to meet at least one of my goals?
But I was pleasantly surprised.
I had not only met most of my goals; I had surpassed them! This is not a “look-at-me” post. Some dreams are still on hold as I was in survival mode most days. But I wholeheartedly believe it’s important to remind ourselves that we came further than we think.
In addition to digging through my planner, I came across my prayer journal. This past year my prayers were a lot less gracious and a lot more desperate. I prayed fervently for the healing of my best friend who bravely went through a terrible year of trials. I prayed heavily through feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. And I prayed fiercely for joy that I so lacked.
This past year, I didn’t go through anything defined as particularly hard. In fact, in all my years of marriage, I would say this was the ‘easiest” year yet, as far as burdens or pressures. But the battle fought was internal. My thoughts and I were left alone more than usual. The adjustments to two kids and a job (I LOVE!) became a balancing act that often left me isolated. And I spent way too much of my time doubting God’s goodness rather than getting to know His Truth.
During the sacred fringe hours of the next year, I plan to cultivate gratitude, be okay with not always being productive, and welcoming mistakes as lessons learned. I will better accept the unwanted messes in my home, burnt dinners, endless toddler questions, and surface level conversations with friends, because I know these things will one day lead to teaching my kids responsibility, learning to cook for my family, childhood discovery, and eventual deep-rooted friendships.
So, needless to say, I’m ready for a fresh start. The holidays will be seen as a transition piece between a dark and lonely year into a year I will intentionally treasure. A year where I will tend to my heart and will refuse to sit stuck.
“It’s not that I’m doing work I hate or that I’m ill-fit for the life we’ve made. It’s that for all sorts of reasons, I default to hustle mode all too often. Hustle is the opposite of heart…My jam these days is wasting time, playing, becoming aware of that internal engine that always wants to go faster, faster, faster. That engine is not the best part of me. My heart is the best part of me.”
Remember, your heart is the best part of you too. Treasure it, and let’s welcome our fresh start together! Until then, enjoy the holidays!
Need some help with planning 2017? I recommend this tool called Start Where You Are.
“Start Where You Are is an interactive journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, mindfulness, and self-motivation. It helps readers navigate the confusion and chaos of daily life with a simple reminder: that by taking the time to know ourselves and what those dreams are, we can appreciate the world around us and achieve our dreams.”
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