Happy New Year!

It’s a new year!  Time to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016.  Out with the old, in with the new.  I’ve never been big on New Years Resolutions.  They seem to set people up for failure and disappointment.  As Brené Brown so eloquently puts it:

January 1This resolution is going to be awesome!

January 5I’m awesome.

January 10This sucks.

January 20I suck.

I know I have fallen into this trap many times, and not just as it relates to New Years Resolutions.  I find myself working throughout the year to be a better person.  I strive to be a better mother.  I say to myself, “I’m not gonna yell at my kids today.  I am the adult and they are my precious children. I have this awesome job of raising them to be responsible, respectful adults.  What a great thing it is to be a mother. I am awesome!”  Then I get out of bed.  In the hour it takes me to get them up and out the door to school, I hear myself slowly losing my cool.  By the fourth time of me asking them to brush their teeth, my patience is slipping away.  My voice gets increasingly louder, and before I know it I’m having an out of body experience as I hear myself yelling, “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH?!?  GET YOUR BUTT MOVING!”  This sucks!  I suck.

I find myself striving to be a better wife.  What an awesome thing to be someones help mate.  I have these moments when it comes easy, and I say to myself, “Look at this  opportunity to clean up the dishes that this man of mine has left in the sink.  I can show him how much I love him by cleaning up after him.  I am awesome!”  Until I’m not so patient and loving anymore.  I have this tendency of making it quite obvious by the way I slam the pots and pans as I put them away that I want him to KNOW that I’m cleaning up his mess and that I’m doing him a huge favor.  There may or may not be muttering under my breath going on as well.  I’m not the maid after all.  It sucks!  I suck.

When I set resolutions for myself,  I tend to get stuck in the trap of basing my self worth on how well I perform said resolutions.  If I fail, then by default, I must be a failure.  When I yell at my kids, it means I have not succeeded in my quest to be a better mother.  I may say to myself, “Tomorrow I will do better!”  But I’m not perfect, and chances are, if I succeed in not yelling at my kids, I will fail in another area.  This can easily lead to me throwing my hands up in defeat and saying, “Why even bother?”  I have decided that my solution to breaking this cycle is simply Grace.  I will start by giving myself Grace in those moments when I am not being the person that I would like to be.  Circumstances may suck, but I don’t suck.   I may fail at the task at hand, but that does not make me a failure.  I am human and I am imperfect.  I will refrain from beating myself up.  I will be gentle and compassionate with myself.  I will still set goals and strive to be the best that I can be with the realization that I will fail.  I will fall.  But I will pick myself up and continue to Dare Greatly every day.  I won’t throw in the towel in self defeat, because how good I am at fulfilling my resolutions does not define my self worth.   I will accept God’s Grace and the Grace of others as well because I am worthy of Grace even if I don’t always deserve it.  I will turn my Grace outward as well to those around me.  I will give my children Grace, especially on the days when I have to tell them to brush their teeth 5 times.  They are little humans, and they are not perfect.  They are learning and growing and I want them to know Grace on an intimate level.  I want to teach them by example that they can mess up and it’s alright.  Their mistakes don’t have to define them.  They will fail, but the failures aren’t as important as what they do after.  I want them to learn to look at their failures as a chance to grow.  Their circumstances in life may suck sometimes, but they don’t.  I will show this man of mine Grace as well.  He is the person I have chosen to spend my life with.   Sometimes he leaves dishes in the sink.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not as high on his list of priorities as I think I should be.  But he is human and he is not perfect.  He has helped me to grow as a person and I want him to see Grace in my eyes, especially on the days when I would rather throw the dishes away instead of clean them.

I know that there will be times when I will fail even at this. I will fall back on feeling like a failure, or resort to being too tough on myself and those around me. But as I continue to offer and recieve Grace even in those moments, it will become more than a resolution or an attempt at self-improvement. It will become a new way of living. 

Grace be with you as we venture into this new year!

2016

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My Inner Child

Inside this adult body of mine lives a little girl.  She’s about 8 years old and cute as a button.  She has a gap tooth smile and pig tales.  She’s spunky, spontaneous and stubborn.  She loves to laugh and live free.  She’s a brave girl, but sometimes she comes up against things in life that are scary.  Sometimes Little Joy encounters a situation or a person that makes her want to run and hide under the covers.  She doesn’t want to have to face those things by herself.  After all, she’s just little.  She doesn’t always know the right things to say or do, and she’s afraid that if she says the wrong thing or acts the wrong way, that she might get in trouble or get sent away.  For a long time, I neglected this little girl living inside of me.  Sometimes I said terrible things to her.  Things like, “How could you be so stupid? When are you gonna get it right?  Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”  Sometimes I just outright ignored her.  I mean,  I was a grown woman.  I didn’t need that little girl hanging around anymore.  I thought I had moved on from the past hurts that she still carried around with her.  Sometimes I just couldn’t be bothered with her.

One day I stopped and started to really pay attention to Little Joy.  I sat down on the couch and invited her to come and sit next to me.  I gave her my undivided attention and I listened to her as she told me about our childhood from her perspective.  I sat with her and held her hand as she told me what frightened her and what made her happy.  She shared with me her good memories and her scary ones.  I laughed and cried with her and held her close.  I apologized for ignoring her and for the harsh words that I had spoken to her.  I reassured her that she wasn’t alone anymore, and that when she came upon a scary situation, that I would be there to hold her hand and help her face it.

Sometimes, in the face of one of those scary moments,  our conversation sounds like this:

Little Joy: “Do we have to do this?”

Me:  “Yes, Little One.  But you don’t have to do it alone.  I will be right here with you.  I’m not going anywhere”

Little Joy: “But I don’t want to.  I’m scared.  I don’t want to get in trouble or have people be angry with me.”

Me: “I know you’re scared.  I’m scared too.  But we are in this together, and I will be here to hold your hand no matter what happens.  No matter the outcome, we will be alright.”

Inside this adult body of mine is a precious little girl.  She is brave, strong  and daring.  I am learning to give Little Joy grace and compassion instead of anger and condemnation.  And she is learning to trust that I am here for her no matter what.  I look at that beautiful girl and I am so thankful that she is still with me.  I will not abandon her or make her face the world alone.  There is nothing she has ever done that would make me love her less.  She’s not perfect, but she is worthy of love.  I will not leave her cowering under the covers.  I am and will be her biggest ally.

Holding Hands

I Will Be There

by Odessa

If you ever need someone to cry to
If you ever need someone to hold you

I will be there
Standing by your side
I will be there
Standing by your side

If you ever need someone
To just love you
If you ever need someone
To simply adore you

I will be there
Standing by your side
I will be there
Standing by your side

And From the mountains to the sea
In the city
From the valleys to the moon
In every country

I will be there
Standing beside you
I will be there
Standing by your side

I will be there