I’m here. I survived.
What will I remember of 2016? I’ll remember the beautiful birth of my baby boy. I’ll remember how love multiplies and doesn’t divide. I’ll remember how much I didn’t sleep. How loud that baby boy was. I’ll remember how mature my two older children became and how our home is full of love, so deep, that it pours out with service to one another.
I think I can sum up 2016 like this:
2016 taught me how important seasons of rest are.
Something was different after Del came along. When we came home from the hospital (and even while in the hospital) he wanted to nurse and be with me all the time. It was a struggle to get up to go to the bathroom alone. Yes there were times he was in my arms while I used the facilities.
Those that know me well, know I don’t like to sit. I want to be doing things. I want to be writing, teaching, meeting with people over coffee or breakfast. I want to produce new material. I want to read to my children, get them bathed, cook healthy meals, go out for dinner sometimes. Go shopping to shop. Get to the gym and run. Simply, I want to be doing.
Del never slept. Never. Quite frankly he still doesn’t sleep well, but he does have better nights than we have had. In fact, I got so annoyed with being stuck at home so much on the couch nursing, that I decided it was a great idea to write and teach a bible study in August.
This just happened to coincide with the month that Del didn’t sleep. At. All. I mean nights of 3-4 hour sleep for me total.
I was spent. It took a good month to heal from that expenditure of energy. During that month of recuperation, I began to say no to things. I said no to meeting people. Mentoring people. Teaching. Writing. I said no to a lot because I knew I couldn’t do it well. I couldn’t even live well, at the time.
Ultimately, I learned how important rest is and rest doesn’t just mean sleep. It means taking a break from all the things that make me, me. Which leads to the next item:
2016 taught me the need for surrender and submission.
During the last year I learned that even though I know who I am, I really enjoyed who I was when I was doing all the things I did. It made me feel good about myself. Maybe even prideful? Maybe that’s why it hurt so much to say no.
This past year, the laundry was never folded and put away in a timely manner. I’d sit on the couch nursing Del and just stare at the mess in front of me. I’m not much of a cryer, so I just got angry and bitter about it all. I’d push that off on my husband and assume he was seeing what I was and be disappointed in me. You see, I had these expectations of myself that I put on other people. I expect nothing but the best from myself and assume others think that way about me, too. My husband didn’t even care. He knew where to find his underwear. The kids knew where to go if the clothes weren’t in their dressers. They weren’t mad. They all saw what I was doing all day– surviving, unravelling, and taking care of the little boy who was proving to have knocked us all out of sync with his high needs.
When I realized I needed to fully surrender my expectations of myself, life got a bit easier. I let the stress of things go. I learned things can be re-organized around my season of life. I learned I can pour into others when I’ve been poured into myself. Huh? What a novel concept. I cannot give if I have nothing in me to give. And I was drained.
I surrendered my expectations of myself and submitted them to God because I realized…
2016 taught me I don’t have do it all.
Just because I can do, doesn’t mean I have to. If I’m fretting and expending energy thinking or doing things that aren’t filling me up first, I’m going to become an empty basin that will shut down and be worthless. And that worthless feeling is a slippery steep slope that can lead to anxiety and depression. Oh. Yes. There it is. I allowed myself to get to this place of crazed anxiety and bouts of depression. I let it get that far. Because I couldn’t disappoint others–I wasn’t. What was really happening is I was projecting those expectations again, and really just disappointing myself.
I am learning to let things go. Reprioritize chores, people, the time I’m out of my home, etc. My focus for this next year, is filling my cup so that I can learn, lead, and minister well.
How was your 2016? Have you reflected on what you’ve learned from it?