There have been years where my goals were outlined with a clear understanding of success or failure. I focused on an outcome I wanted to pursue and outlined steps to achieve my goals. Not this year. This year I am choosing a different journey. A journey that reminds me that my year doesn’t need to be full of big changes or big successes.
As we enter another holiday season, I’m reminded of the reality that the anticipation of the celebrations and the initial enthusiasm for the traditions can sometimes be derailed by the nuance and contradictions of the season. Excitement can be deflated by stress and unrealistic expectations. The busyness of the holidays can distract from the joy of the season. While navigating this year’s festivities , I took the opportunity to reflect on a past post, “The Little Things”, and to revisit the question of “What is saving your life right now?”
On my “smash the glass days,” the reminder to create “space” seemed to have an opposite effect: instead of the stress escaping, the space seemed to make room for my anxiety with a reminder that “the world is a terrible place.”
I decided to go way back for my final summer throwback piece, to December 2019. I almost laughed out loud as I reread my idealized vision for achieving complete balance, and then had to pause as I realized I still cling to the notion that at some point in my life I will achieve perfect …
So now I watch for them, my little unexpected moments of joy where my face hurts from so much smiling and the mess-free glitter flies around me. I no longer take them for granted. The ordinary moment that is filled with joyful power no longer gets left as ordinary, but I capture it in my mind for rainy day remembering.
Three-year-olds get a bad rap sometimes. Granted, for good reason, they are often dramatic, defiant, loud, and unpredictable. However, as I reflected on some of the traits of my little girl, I started to flip my perspective and consider all the positive aspects of three. I thought of the times that I have watched her in awe and I began to wonder what my life would be like if I took on some of the positive characteristics of my three-year-old daughter.
Recently, my family navigated a bout of COVID infections which necessitated the cancellation of some highly anticipated plans. As I worked to overcome my disappointment, I was reminded of All That Still Is.
The black dot analogy connects to many of my life experiences. Specifically, the reality that parents and kids often remember experiences differently. It seems that moms are often harder on ourselves than our kids are on us. It makes me wonder, are kids somehow able to keep their focus on the whole page while parents struggle to see beyond the dot?
I thought to myself, this game stinks. I literally looked all over the house for hidden toys, aided solely on random, vague clues from a four year old, was laughed at, forgotten about, and then after finally finding the lost toy…nothing. Later, as I reflected on the game, I was struck by some of the similarities the game had to the fears I was trying to articulate about my faith journey. Especially recently, as I’ve faced several major life transitions, I have been a little bit stuck in fear and questions over what is supposed to happen next.
For Christians to suggest that doubt prevents success or God’s will from being fulfilled would imply that doubt doesn’t coexist with faith, or that somehow our human doubt is stronger than our God. I disagree. I like to think that faith, even faith with doubt, is much more about connecting with God, being the hands and feet of Jesus, and letting our lights shine to those around us.