This morning, as I sat for my quiet time, I took a few moments to look back at my goals for 2019.
There they were, annotated at the start of last year’s planner, neatly printed and even segmented into categories. I was so ambitious back then, noting for myself that 2019 would be the first year in several where I would have “more control over my calendar”.
Reading that particular line this morning caused me to stop cringing at what I’d written for myself a year ago, and to start laughing out loud. Because if there was anything I ultimately didn’t have in 2019, it was “control over my calendar”.
2019 was the year my beloved mother’s health suffered greatly. 2019 was the year Daddy’s anxiety got the better of him. So ultimately, 2019 was the year when I tried my darnedest to serve three “masters”: my nuclear family, my parents, and my work. Please don’t think that I am here calling my wonderful husband a “master”. He’s anything but... But I think you understand what I mean. With Mom and Dad living in Mississippi and Greg here in California and my work literally around the country, I often felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The emotion I remember feeling most often in 2019 was disappointment in myself, like I was never doing enough.
That’s not a good place to be spiritually. It’s not a place that honors the trust that I desire to have in God’s plan for my life. It’s not a place that honors the compassion my husband has shown as he’s enabled me to not only do what I can to care for my parents, but also to do what I want in my “career” (if you can call it that) because my work feeds my spirit so greatly.
2020 is in many ways a fresh start. This morning, as I sat sipping coffee and staring at the page in my new planner where I’m supposed to write this year’s goals, I was a bit gentler on myself. Yes, I listed some (and yes, among those were my perpetual attempts at a “redo”). But I also focused more on acknowledging that much of what will happen in 2020 is as yet unknown to me. God has plans that I can’t even begin to imagine. Some of them will be beyond my wildest dreams. And some of them will test me beyond what I could have ever imagined. God will give me what I need to do what he desires of me. I just need to put myself in a position to cooperate willingly, with affirmation and a happy heart.
I hope 2020 will be a year of trust, of hope, of kindness and of love, including self-love. I hope I will give the best parts of myself to those around me. But I also hope that I will take it a bit easier on myself, that I won’t give in to the bouts of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-destruction that plagued in my 2019.
I’ve been jokingly telling my kids that my goal for 2020 is to improve my posture. Too often, lately, I find myself emotionally and physically “hunching”: over my cell phone as I scroll past others’ seemingly-perfect lives, over my work as I feel the burden of not producing sufficiently or with enough quality, and especially before my Creator as I fear disappointment that I am not living up to the mission he has placed before me. Hunching hurts. Poor posture drains me physically, but also spiritually.
So I am doing my best this morning to stride into whatever 2020 will bring with a head held high. I am not alone in my mission. I am surrounded by love, support, and compassion. Things will happen for which I cannot plan. I will fail, fall short, and feel overwhelmed. But hopefully more often I will rejoice, give thanks, and count my blessings with an upright sense of joy and wonder.
Happy New Year, friends. Thank you for any time you spend in this tiny space. If I can be a support to you in 2020, please list your prayers, intentions and goals in the comment space below or contact me by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To support my work, I would be honored if you would purchase one of my books, leave me a review, or consider inviting me to speak at your parish, school or organization. May God richly bless us all this year!