Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A mood-boosting take on the "New Year's Resolution"

Last year, Tyler and I decided to make a list of resolutions. Our list consisted of individual goals and aspirations, and then some as a family of two. Some of our goals really have been accomplished; attend church more regularly, save for a baby (glad we did this one with my current state!), etc. Some of our individual goals, maybe not so much. That's kind of disappointing to me, given our Pastor discussed in church this past Sunday the true definition of resolution. When we are resolute about something, it means that we have already made up our minds to follow through 100 percent. This got me thinking: maybe this year it would be more beneficial for me to focus on quality, not quantity. While I do believe it is good to have aspirations, I think focusing on one that encompasses several areas of my life might be more attainable this year.

Listening to the message on Sunday, coupled with a text message received from my mom this week, inspired me to try something new. My mom shared with me that she was reading an article that suggested choosing a "just-for-you" word to set the tone for the new year, and using it to direct your attitude for the year ahead. The idea is to keep it somewhere you will see it often - a mirror, in your car, on your phone, etc. My mom had some fantastic ideas for what her "just-for-you" word might be, so I began to give mine some serious thought.

After a few sleepless (thanks, pregnancy insomnia) nights so far this week, I've had plenty of time to reflect on the most appropriate word for my upcoming year, and the one I want to set the tone for me, my family, and those around me.

The word I've settled on thoughtfully selected; grace. Grace, grace, and more grace. I googled for a better word. I tried dictionary.com for a more insightful sounding synonym. However, since God's grace is what first saved me, I couldn't think of a better word to describe what I was looking for.

Going into my 8th month of pregnancy and knowing I am just a few short months away from becoming, "Mommy", makes me reflect upon how hard I am already being on myself as a mom. From the time I found out I was pregnant until present, I have stressed about how every action I take might effect my son. Those early pregnancy fears have been replaced as of late with anxieties about my ability to balance. Will I be able to adequately balance my relationships with my friends, my family, my patients? Will I be able to be "supermom" to Camden and still have dinner on the table for my husband every night? The answer is a resounding, "probably not". I will probably not be perfect at balancing every aspect of my life. I will probably not be supermom and wife of the year every day of the week. And that's okay.

For so long, I have tried to give 100 percent of myself to every area of my life. One-hundred percent to my family, 100 percent to my friends, 100 percent to my job, and 100 percent to my church attendance and acts of service. Frankly, it's kind of lonely. Giving 100 percent of yourself to everyone else, leaves 0 percent for yourself. This is not me complaining, this is me making a realization that this expectation I have for myself of 100 percent, cannot carry into motherhood. I need to give myself....grace. Grace as I learn how to be a mom, grace as I attempt to settle into a new lifestyle, and grace as I make mistakes along the way.

This year, I also want to strive to have more grace for my husband. It is so easy for us as wives, I think, to get caught up in, "he just doesn't understand" or "he should know by now this is what I do or don't want". Attention women (myself included): men are not mind-readers. As much as I would love to be able to make eye contact with my husband across a crowded room and silently communicate to him my every desire at any given moment, it just doesn't usually work that way. I would like to really focus this year (and every year) on being more patient with my husband, more communicative of what I need from him instead of giving him "the face", and remembering to give him more grace.

Lastly, and maybe most impactful, is my desire to show more grace to strangers. In social work (and in life, really), we are taught that everyone is fighting a battle, and to treat them gently. It's a very noble idea, but when you are running late and the Grandma in front of you seems to have nowhere to go but slow, it's a little harder to live by. I have found my patience waning over the last year, and while I know that some of this is definitely pregnancy related, patience has also never been a spectacular asset of mine. Before allowing anger to brew within me and effect my interactions with others, I want to take a moment to breathe, and to truly remember that everyone has an untold story. Frankly, some people are just annoying and choose to drive that slowly, but I digress. The point is that I don't want my automatic reaction to annoyance to be anger at others. I want to conduct myself more gracefully

I wrote this mostly for myself as a reminder of my chosen word to set the tone for 2015, but I also want to share it with some of my mommy friends because I think they need to hear it, too. Show yourselves some grace. You deserve it!

Happy 2015!

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