2017 is here, and I’m ready. I’m ready for a new year, new beginnings, a fresh start.
As a “type A” person, a first born, an overachiever (all of the above + more)… I tend to go the extra mile (or extra 5) to accomplish my goals. On the surface, that’s a great thing. If you peel a few layers back, it’s not quite so great. At the root of that need for achievement is a deep struggle I have, the struggle to always say yes, to be perfect, rather than simply being, and to win at juggling all things in life. It’s a stressful way to live, and I’m not a fan. My calendar is always double booked, my work hours bleed into my late dinners with Sean, and I’m not the best at sleeping, because I’m always making a to-do list in my head for the next day.
On my 24th birthday this past November, my in-laws gifted me with a beautiful Giving Key. (if you haven’t heard about Giving Keys, feel free to click here to learn more about them). The key has the word BREATHE engraved into the silver. I’ve thought a lot about this new year and how I want to prepare my heart, and my mind, and my soul for this next season. Every time I reflect on the person I want to be in 2017, God continues to stir in my heart the simple desire to just pause, rest, and breathe deeply.
My goal for the next 365 days is to do just that, breathe. To slow my steps, to learn to embrace the pause, eliminate the hurry and perpetual chaos, and cherish each quiet moment knowing that I am who God created me to be. I am enough. I am worthy. Perfect or messy, it’s OK. When life gets overwhelming, my goal is to retreat first to prayer, leaning more on the Lord and less on my own understanding.
I recently finished reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, and I absolutely love this little exert: “Many of us, myself included, considered our souls necessary collateral damage to get done the things we felt we simply had to get done – because of other people’s expectations, because we want to be known as highly capable, because we’re trying to outrun an inner emptiness. And for while we don’t even realize the compromise we’ve made. We’re on autopilot, chugging through the day on fear and caffeine, checking things off the list, falling into bed without even a real thought or feeling or connection all day long, just a sense of having made it through. We begin to think the soul is expendable- a luxury, maybe, something optional but certainly not required. But then someone starts talking about your soul- maybe at church, maybe in a book. Someone starts talking about things like grace and rest and peace, and the soul feeling its worth and that language feels so foreign and so beautiful, like water in a desert, like one bright bud pushing up in an otherwise arid landscape. And like a song you used to love but haven’t heard for years, something breaks through: that’s what I’ve been missing. That’s it. My soul.” (Niequist 223).
Amen! All of that is me. It’s so common to make a new years resolution to care of your body and health, but want I want to challenge myself to do something different this year. I want to take care of my soul. Our souls are what allow us to love, to feel, to connect with God, and be present. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus asks the disciples, “what good is it to for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” I want to strive to be attentive to the needs of my soul, carving out intentional time to be with God, giving myself grace when I need it, and not allowing myself to become exhausted and over committed. In 2017, I want to breathe.