(Taken in July at the Warrior Dash. It was not fun, but my friends pulled me through to the finish. Then I smiled. We were wearing 80's aerobic outfits.)
This past year has been about overcoming for me. Overcoming fears and anxieties and the exhaustion that accompanies all that worry.
My friend Kristen wrote a lovely post here about being confronted with the condition of our hearts under pressure. It made sense to me when she said,
"...when I am squeezed, the contents of my heart will come out."
I think that fear/worry/anxiety has always been a part of my life but I've always been able to cope with it and manage it well. This past year I found it bubbling just under the surface and sometimes spilling over. With four busy children (whom I love, but at this stage of their lives are doing more "taking" than "giving") and little sleep, I was struggling to relegate the anxiety into the corners of my life. It began to take center stage and brought some physical symptoms along with it. It alarmed me enough to really dig in and find some healing for my heart. I read this book which helped me so much. I also read this book over and over again. I sought out some counseling, and most of all...I just learned to let some things go.
You know what's funny? Do you know what was the most freeing thing to let go of?
The unrealistic expectations that I had for myself.
It was such a revelation to realize that no one else expects me to cloth diaper my child. No one else cares if I feed my family 3 made-from-scratch-and-completely-organic meals a day. No one else expects me to weigh 120 lbs and be in tip-top shape. It's not realistic for me to expect that I would be capable of patient and creative parenting at every turn. My friends don't expect thoughtful gifts/emails/phone calls weekly. I had to lay down boundaries with those who thought it was reasonable to expect that I would have all the towels washed, smelling fresh, AND be free from resentment.
I know that it sounds silly, but I had a lot of my personal internal value attached to "being" these kinds of external things. Who could ever do all of that? And if you could, why would you have any need for a Savior? I was putting myself under this huge weight of burden.
My value does not and will never come from what I do. It is never enough...it will just never be enough. Broken, imperfect, marred by sin, Jesus thought me valuable enough to lay down his life for me. His grace towards me-- that's where I find my value. I've known this up in my head for all of my life... but last year I really had the opportunity to flesh it out- to let it settle down into my heart.
It's a processes. Little by little I'm getting there.
Twenty Twelve is going to be about: reinventing, reigniting, dusting off, peeling layers, walking upright, smiling, laughing, trusting, and loving with an open hand.
Happy New Year! Adventures await.