The sparkle of Christmas tucked away; it is time to take stock of life. This may sound a little profound, but isn’t that what every New Year’s resolution is about? We look at our current situation and decide something has got to give.
The only problem I experience on annual basis is the lack of execution. I do start all fired up. This will be the year I finally reach my desired weight, keep up with social media, finish that buried manuscript. Then come the barn and garden ambitions, travel plans, family events, volunteering, church, writers’ organizations, dog shows, conference participation—and once again, I’m totally overwhelmed. A nice piece of premium chocolate offers a temporary distraction, but no permanent solution.
Taking inventory sounds much more pleasant. I look around and realize that my life is so full, I can start giving. January decluttering challenge helps me empty my overflowing drawers and pass the blessing onto a charity. Their efforts bless our community. Instant reward. No chocolate needed. I look at the calendar and decide to own the 52 weeks. How much time can my husband and I take off? What adventure should come off the bucket list? Last year I tried something new. I set a goal to entertain at least once a month. I do love to cook, and our farm offers abundance of choices, so making a meal is no chore. This also forces us to sit down, even open a bottle of wine and reconnect with friends, keep up with what’s going on in their lives, share a few laughs—a proven stress management strategy.
Facebook messenger, hate it or love it, is a tried and tested weight loss tool in our household. Tedious food journals, points and calories never worked for me, but taking a picture of my plate and sharing in a FB group, with those having similar goals? Well, it makes me think twice of what I put on that plate. Honesty and integrity are at the top of my value list, so cheating or omitting a photo never feels good.
To keep up with writing, I have been hosting a writers’ group for several years. A build-in failsafe. I simply can’t encourage others to keep up with their craft and not do the same. To ramp up my efforts, I have deepened my involvement with a national writers’ conference. Commitment is a great motivator for me. Sunday church is my weekly re-balancing exercise. By the end of each week, I’m looking forward to it. Somehow things just melt away as we collectively worship. And God suddenly becomes totally real, especially when the sermon speaks directly to a particular situation in our lives.
And then there is the unexpected. Health issues, struggling children, friends in need, weeds in the garden (which manage to surprise me every year), a racoon in the chicken coop, a washing machine breakdown. How to handle those?
I find that once my inventory list anchors itself firmly in my mind, and the foundation is laid, these so-called emergencies are much easier to manage. When we focus on what’s truly important in our lives, we build a safety net which is indispensable during life’s hurricanes. As people of faith, we do know that storms will come, but we also know who anchors our lives. When we take the time to build a community around us, may it be at church, on FB, or face to face, we create a safety net. I found out during this past year that no one says ‘no’ when I ask for prayer. But what surprised me even more were the unsolicited prayers that people offered as soon as our life-storms came to surface.
So, here I sit again, in early January, my mind wondering through the closets in our house, the cold cellar, our freezers, and my calendar pages, and I am fully aware that it is impossible to outgive God. May it be items from our storage room, a home cooked meal or a time spent with family and friends, sharing from the abundance of His blessing, only brings more of the same. So, here is my call to action. CLICK HERE to join me during the month of January for the 20-minutes-a-day decluttering challenge. You will receive a short daily prompt focusing on one area of your house. Let the rivers of blessings flow.