Well blog, it’s been awhile.
It’s getting a bit late to write about the past year in review and thoughts for the one upcoming, but my new year really started with the birth of my son on January 10th, so I figure I’m still within the limits of reminiscing and forecasting.
Last year was amazing and hard. I figured out how to take care of my sweet little boy pretty early on, but I didn’t know how to deal with the depression and anxiety that unexpectedly followed alongside him. My word for last year was “stillness,” but there is nothing still about anxiety. I wanted to pay attention to those little moments I won’t ever get back again: Henry falling asleep in my arms, his first step, and my favorite, throwing all the books out of his bookshelf to pick just the right one for me to read it him. I did cherish those moments, but I didn’t do so with an attitude of stillness, of letting the Spirit focus me, resting me. I fretted about sleep, about future children, about not doing enough, about doing too much.
Stillness didn’t work out so well for me in the end, and perhaps it was because I was focused on me and mine and not the world at large. This year I want the Spirit to focus me in a new direction: outward. My word for the new year is VENTURE. I want to venture out in the new, the dangerous, the unexpected.
I chose VENTURE because of the risk associated with it, a risk I always need to be aware of while I am trying the hard and the new. I need to remember that I will fall, but like my son learning to walk, cry a bit and steady myself once more to go forward. I will happily toddle on. And I do think this year will be more of a toddle, which works out well since I’m raising a toddler. We can toddle on together to explore this world.
I want this spirit of VENTURE to go with me in everything I do, but most especially the following:
- Write a blog post at least once a week. Part of the reason I haven’t written in so long is allowing a spirit of apathy surround me. No one cares. I don’t care. That kind of thing. I want to venture into revealing myself and writing for the good of others.
- Learn the names of all the neighbors on my block. I am a shy, introverted person who can be an extrovert, but I really have to work at it. I want to be friends with our neighbors and that means getting out of the comfort zone of my house and venturing over to other people’s porches, getting weird looks, and introducing myself.
- Write a story just for me. I haven’t written fiction in a long time. Mostly because of time but also because of fear. I want to venture out here and not write a story for publication or for others, but one that I would like to read.
- Stop comparing myself to others, and venture out to be just me. Since becoming a mother, I am so guilty of comparing myself to other mothers on Facebook and Pinterest and those I actually know in real life, and I always end up feeling like slacker mother of the year. I don’t craft or cook gourmet meals and I tend to read books while my child plays, but I can do a mean hokey pokey and funny voices when required.
- Do a craft with Henry. I know I said I don’t do crafts, but I think part of it is because I’m scared to try. I’ve never been particularly good with glueing cotton balls on popsicle sticks, but for the sake of my child, I want to try something new…at least just once.
- Conquer my fear of the kitchen. Yes, this is a weird fear, but I want to change that. I don’t cook right now because I have an amazing husband who loves to cook. But I also don’t cook because I’m afraid and that’s not a very good reason not to do something. I think I’m afraid of cooking because I’m afraid to make a mistake, not to mention the open flame and sharp knives. Part of venturing out is making mistakes, and I hope I make a bunch (you have no idea how hard that last sentence was for me to write).
- Spend time each day just thinking about another person. This may seem like a small thing, but I’m a big believer that being intentional in your thoughts leads to intentional actions. I figure if I think, and maybe if I pray about another person, that I will think of ways to be better friends with that person, to encourage them, to love them. Thinking is just the first step.
- Exercise…with other people. I have always been a solitary exerciser (when I do it at all). I’m the queen of exercise home videos, but I think, like anything else, exercise works best in community. So I am rejoining the Y, taking a class, and allowing myself to look like a clumsy fool in front of other people.
- Get more involved in my community. Ted and I have already made steps to do this by joining a house church in our neighborhood. We are also looking for a place to volunteer our time as a family. The scary part is that it may not be something that is a “ministry” or “organized.” But many times the Kingdom of God is found in unexpected, improbable, and inconvenient places.
I’m sure there are more ways that I will discover to venture out this year, but this is just the start. I’m excited and I’m scared, but this year I won’t let the fear hold me back.