Monday, January 2, 2012
2011 In the Rear View Mirror
The New Year arrived quietly in our home. We celebrated by picking up take-out at Pei Wei and then driving through Sleepy Hollow with our 3 year old granddaughter, Ruby, on-board. We wanted to enjoy one last look at the truly amazing display of this winter wonderland of Christmas lights. Enroute home, we made a stop at McDonalds for ice cream cones and still got home in time to read Madeline, not once, but, twice before bedtime prayers and sleep for Ruby before 9. We were all sleeping soundly long before the midnight hour struck, with no ill effects the next morning. Yes, we are growing older, and, I must say, it feels fine.
Between Ruby falling asleep and succumbing myself, I pulled out a binder filled with our family Christmas letters, going back two decades, and I methodically read through them all. Mike's dear Uncle Gene, aka, Brother John, wisely suggested to me years ago that I keep them all so that they would become a recorded history of our family life we could look back on and enjoy. He was so right.
What fun it was to relive the milestones, the births, the weddings, the growth of our kids, the vacations and the time spent with those we love...the transitions from job to job, the projects we've taken on and the fruit of that labor realized.
What I didn't expect, but, saw clearly, was a pattern that troubled me. Year after year, I shared how busy I was, how many hours I was putting in and how I wanted to cut back. What troubled me was that while my employer has changed and my job titles have changed and my responsibilities have changed, I still am working more and harder than I say I want to.
I'm not a brain surgeon, but, it doesn't take one to figure out the common denominator here is me. I guess I come by my work ethic honestly. My father was the most hardworking man I've ever known. He worked night and day to provide for us and rarely took a day off. Clearly, more than a little of that rubbed off on me--perhaps to a fault.
Over the last couple of months I've been reading One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, as well as a lot of other posts with a common theme, that of simplifying life and living intentionally. I want to sign on. I need to sign on. That said, I don't just want to say it, yet again. This year, I want to do something significant so that as I write my 2012 year end letter, I can truthfully and thankfully attest to meaningful changes that have improved our quality of life.
I know this means more than noting a list of resolutions in my journal. I realize this must be a process and that I have to be accountable. My prayer is that the Lord will help me to slow down, to work less and to live more wisely, using my time at work, at home and at leisure to honor Him and those He has entrusted me to live and walk with. My intent is to seriously back off in the areas where I've taken on responsibilities that aren't truly mine- to allow others to do their jobs, and to focus on my own. I will still do my job to the best of my ability and to trust Him for the outcomes vs believing no one can do it as well as I can. I am seeing this for what it was-false pride. It's not pretty.
So, it begins. Travel with me and call me to task. If you hear me say "I'm too busy", feel free to remind me who manages my schedule. And, if I say "no" to something you've asked of me, please know it didn't come easily. I may have to say "no" to some good things in order to say yes to what's most important.
What does this mean in a practical sense? It means I will be working closer to 40 hours a week than I have in years. It means I will honor my personal commitments, dinner with my husband, classes at the gym and getting to church on time Friday nights. It means that I will say "No" to some good things in order to say yes to the good things that He has called me to. In essence, I will be endeavoring to do what I have been telling others to do for years. This is me, hearing me, and hearing Him.
He's been whispering this to me for so long. He never shouts. And I'm finally quieting down enough to listen. It's going to be an adjustment. But, it's going to be right. I'm listening.