2022 Goals: Consistency

31 Jan

Wait, what is this? A blog post that isn’t an update about a child? Yes!

With the turn of the calendar to a new year, I have felt God enabling me to do more than just survive. Because that’s what I have been doing since Neola was born last May—simply surviving. Part of doing more than surviving for me is reconnecting with the things that bring me joy. My husband and kids bring me joy for sure. But writing… writing has always been the thing that gives me the “I was made to do this” vibe.

So here I am. I have dreams of coming to this space (still, after starting this little ole blog back in 2008!) from a coffee shop table with a hot caramel latte, complete and coherent thoughts whirling from my fingers to screen via full-size keyboard. But in reality, I’m chicken-pecking and constantly recorrecting it on my phone while nursing a baby with a lukewarm cup of home brew, and my other 3 kids are watching screens. Because that’s my reality right now.

And that’s what I’m learning: to make my dreams, goals, desires work with MY life, with my REALITY.

It seemed that no sooner had I written down my goals than they were jeopardized by lack of sleep or a baby who wouldn’t go to sleep when she normally does. And I was reminded of why I haven’t made goals for many years. Really, since laying down my dream of writing a book.

Because I am not in charge of my own time. My family owns it right now. And truth be told, having goals or plans outside of being a mom and wife often leads me to resenting the fact that I am a mom and wife. I’m sure most moms have had the experience of planning to turn over a new leaf of getting up before the kids only to have them in turn randomly wake up earlier than normal.

I don’t, however, think the antidote to that uncanny conundrum is to just give up trying to do things. That’s what I had been doing, and also why I was burned out. And when I’m burned out, I hold on to my husband’s free time with a death grip. He has been trying to do more than survive for several months, and I pretty much told him that I just wanted him to acknowledge the ship was sinking, and to go down with it (and me) instead of trying to rise above. How ridiculous is that?? But when you’re underwater, breathing through a straw, you just. can’t.

I see in myself this pendulum, swinging from the extreme of determination on one end to the other end of giving up. I desire consistency, but it can so easily become a measuring post for failure. Like so many other things in the Christian life, only God can enable me to live in the middle, to hold it all in gracious balance. To pursue those things that give me life, but to not despair, wallow, or get angry when life happens. To hold desires in my heart, but not let them despotically rule my will.

What does that look like practically? One of several things I’ve learned from a mom on Instagram named Phylicia Masonheimer has been to have several slots during the day or week when something can be done. If Neola doesn’t go to bed until 9:00 on the night I was supposed to do the budget, it can slide to a different night that week, because I only have 2-3 things to do each week after the kids go to bed (instead of allotting a different thing each night so that if life happens, the wrench thrown in is a big one). (The other things I learned are: when you’re making a routine for your family, don’t add new stuff in, just arrange the stuff you’re already doing; and instead of following a schedule based on the clock, follow a routine — an order in which you do things.)

I also just read two great books by Dana K. White called How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and Decluttering at the Speed of Life. I’ve always been an organized person, and have done quite a bit of purging, but over the last year or two, I’ve let the things coming into our home greatly outpace the things leaving our home. Dana writes that anything that I can’t keep under control is clutter, and that habits are the way of routinely keeping that clutter under control.

We’ve had a good system down for dishes and laundry, and right now we hire a cleaning lady. But the areas in our house/lives that routinely get cluttered/neglected are: the kitchen counter (specifically, the paperwork that I shove into a big pile so that it doesn’t appear messy); the wall cubby/shelf area in our master bedroom (it’s out of the reach of the kids so it ends up being a dumping ground); our budget; and our photo memories. So far, I’ve determined to do the budget or work on a photo book once a week (alternating every other), and to sort through paperwork once a week.

And when life happens (like it did this week), I will type out blog posts on my phone, in the dark while waiting for my kids to fall asleep, which is what I’m doing now (nursing the baby only lasted for about half this post).

I will end this blog post with a thought I’ve had about why people like the feeling of a new year and resolutions. There’s just something about the feeling of a clean slate, right? God created us this way, to thrive on being made new, and experiencing His new mercies every morning:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

“[See] that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10)

Even if the goals and plans I typed out here lose steam or morph over the course of this year, I am thanking God for a constructive, motivated start to 2022. ❤️

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