I like to tell stories. I like to feel included, connected, and I like for other people to feel that way, too. One of the reasons I weaned myself off of reading so many other people’s blogs two years ago is that I was spending HOURS a day on some rather fake (meaning, not for real) interaction, and taking people’s criticism of other people too seriously, and generally feeling worthless if I commented on anything anywhere ever and nobody acknowledged it.
I was also pretty bummed out that I had so many ideas, but not the time or energy or money to make them fly. I would love to be able to make money from blogging and from a few specific creative pursuits; as with a lot of things, I mostly just wish they would pay for themselves! Sometimes they do. But for a wide stretch they did not. I felt empty, like my ideas weren’t worth pursuing, like if I could just wait until [I felt better/ Brennan was born/ I got used to three kids/ blah blah blah] then something would click and I could feel USEFUL again. Feeling not-so-useful combined with feeling guilty about spending any time at all blogging made me feel even less useful… it was a vicious cycle.
And, I KNOW I do things, like taking care of the kids and trying to take care of Jonathan and our home. I even do things to help other people sometimes. But largely I feel like if I could get a handle on how I spend my time and energy, I could successfully accomplish (or accept grace when falling short of) my goals for being a wife and mother… and then I’d have time to do something that makes other people proud of me.
I feel like it doesn’t matter how well I care for my home and family, if I’m not Doing Something Else…. then… what a waste.
I’ve been thinking about this, since I really noticed it in a corner of my mind, and I figuratively dragged it over to the window and looked at it in a blast of natural light. I’ve wondered why it’s not enough FOR ME to work to be an awesome wife and mother, but when other ladies do it, I want to sing and dance and squeeze them. [What better goal is there for life, than to make your corner of the world the best it can be, so that your family is the best IT can be, to make the world that much better... seriously...] I’ve realized that it’s interconnected with some other issues I have. Remember me talking about being a discouraged perfectionist? (I feel like it should be perfect, I should make it perfectly, if I’m not going to, then just don’t bother.) Yeah. I think that somewhere else in my brain, I’ve let this idea take root… that if I can do enough things good enough, then I will feel like a better person.
Obviously that’s not working out. I decided since that’s not working, I’m going to keep on keeping on with a new way of doing things.
My goals for this year are not easy, but they’re simplified. I’ve knocked a lot of things completely off my plate for 2013 in an attempt to make room to really do justice to fewer, more specific areas in myself and my sphere of impact and responsibility. Some of those areas are homeschooling, homemaking, Bible study and faith-growth accountability, and putting Jonathan ahead of the kids. What a list, right? When I look at it like that, I feel like I’m STILL over-reaching. I mean, we have 10 months and 2 weeks until next year. How much can I possibly get done?
Except… my real, big, important goal is to stay mindful of where I want to go, and be intentional in stepping toward there. My vision word for this year is SANCTUARY. I want myself and my home to be God-honoring, safe for learning and growing and trying, free from violence (mental, like stress and self-abuse and unrealistic expectations, but also from the fear of physical violence, which is not at all what you’d label an imminent danger here, but is a holdover from other problems I’ve had… So it’s really more mental, too. But you get the idea.) I want to be open, primarily to God, then to Jonathan, and my kids, and to our friends and family and other people I come into contact with in life.
Sanctuary. I want SANCTUARY.
Part of my month-and-a-half-long-and-still-not-quite-finished process of setting goals for this year has been to come up with tangible, helpful actions for each goal. I’ve made myself get pretty specific with what I want to try and what I want to learn and how I want to grow. And somewhere in there, YOU come in. I need accountability.
you + this blog = accountability
[Ooooooo.... that should totally be an actual graphic....]
I know that most of you reading this are on my team (who else reads this, except my team? haha), and I know you’ll cheer me on no matter what I chose to do (as long as it’s not dangerous or completely bat-guano insane… because you love me and my family enough to be like, “SERIOUSLY. Stop this.” when something needs to not happen. – True story.) and you’ll still like me even if all year long I end up taking 6 tiny baby steps.
But I am asking you, pleading with you from the bottom of my heart (Happy Valentine’s Day!!): help me see what good work I accomplish this year. I’ve tried to build in some checkpoints with my goals. I mean, we can all JUST TELL when the surface is being addressed – the house will be clean, the kids will not be completely insane, I will not be huddled under the bed (I can’t really fit under there.) – but what about the root issues? How can I tell if I’m digging in the right direction to attack those? I’ve got some ideas.
I’m giving myself until the end of February to finish setting up a couple of notebooks (for journaling and such) and to really flesh out my goals. (Except homeschool goals, because I’ve got to get curriculum approved before I can do that.) I want to be able to post on Thursday evenings about the progress that I’ve made for the past week. I mean, some of my goals are personal enough that I will just not be posting about them. And some of my action steps involve shifting us into a schedule that lets me spend more time NOT EXPECTING ANYTHING, so sometimes successfully accomplishing them means NOT DOING ANYTHING. (Or playing with slime for hours. Which we ended up doing today, if you add all that time together. It was a great day, really, even with sickly kiddos. And the slime is already in the garbage, and we know how to make more when we feel better and will not turn it into a germ factory.)
My goal for next Thursday is to post to tell you I’ve actually thought about this again.
Somebody, please, call me out if you don’t see a post by Friday morning. haha