Here's something that I'm learning lately that I really wish I had known much earlier in life: You do what you can, and that's enough. I've always been an all or nothing kind of person. I either wanted to do something 100 percent or not do it at all. And when your young and single that kind of seems like a feasible way to approach life. But as you grow older and you gain people who depend on you, not just a spouse or children but jobs and friends too, you begin to realize that it really is not possible to give 100% all the time in every situation. So then you can get stuck thinking that you are failing when you fall below the 100% mark. You can start feeling inadequate. You start saying no to opportunities when you want to say yes, but you don't because you know that you just don't have it in you to do all you would want to do. At least, that's how I used to do life. And then I turned 40. Listen, I don't want to set anyone's hopes to high here, but 40 is a magical number. It can be a really freeing birthday. A turning point where you get to lay down so many false expectations. I know for some it's really scary and it isn't magical - but it should be. Really, it should. It's a beautiful age. My twenties were painful - lots of hard lessons - very meaningful to who I am today, but nothing I would want to repeat. My thirties were pretty good. I finally found my voice and my life started heading in a good direction. But, my forties - well, they are just fantastic. And it seems like I get to unlearn something on a weekly basis. I get to shed a bit more of that youthful arrogance that careens us into adulthood. I get to release who I'm 'supposed' to be and just be who I am. I get to do what I can and know that it's enough. No doubt, I would still love to have enough money to solve every financial problem my friends and my family face. I would love to have enough smarts to have the answer to every problem. I would love to have enough time to serve every person in need. I'd love to fix all the things that are broken. Instead - I give when I can. We support a little girl in India and another in Haiti. We help support our church family. When we have extra we give some of it away. When I see a problem where I can help, I offer what I can, even if it doesn't fix it. I share my piece. I spend my time in service when I can and I recognize that sometimes service is at home, sometimes it is at work, sometimes it is with local outreaches, and sometimes it is with friends over coffee. I add my tape, and glue, and love, to the broken pieces around me and I trust that others will do the same. I do what I can to make things better, and I find things do what they can to make me better back. Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35 I believe that to be true - I find in my faith that there is a never-ending supply of grace, mercy, peace, and rest. I love having that constant touchstone. But I'm not Jesus. When I give someone bread - they will always hunger again. When I offer water, it only satisfies for a moment. When I love, it will never be enough to be done. I will never be done. It is in that mystery where I find comfort and faith. I believe in a God who is always enough and I can turn to that well whenever I need to because it is never dry - but I am not expected to be that for anyone else. I'm never told, or led to believe, that I can satisfy someone's needs completely. I'm asked to love, again, and again, and again. Because I can never do enough to be done. I can never do enough. I will never be done. So depressing at twenty and thirty. So incredibly liberating at 40. I do what I can and THAT is enough - of me. Peace comes from the effort, not the fulfillment. Tragedy is not found in falling short - tragedy is found in never trying. An offering can be used - even when it is not enough. So let's just let go of trying to do it all and just do our piece of enough. Because a whole lot of us doing not enough, will end up being enough sometimes.

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Two weeks in a row for the blog! (Drops the mic(keyboard) and walks away) (Comes back to make sure the keyboard is ok.) (Enjoys her unseen dramatics and begins using said keyboard again.) Ok, so this may be a little too early to declare victory over my new years resolutions - but I have definitely hit the ground running this year and it feels fantastic! Over the last couple of years I've 'kind of' picked a word for my new year. I've seen other's do it and I like the idea - kind of an overarching guide for what you want the coming year to represent or achieve. I've never really resonated strongly with my word in the past. This year is different. This year my word picked me. The moment my mind thought to start to wonder around what my word should be I began shouting at myself, "SIMPLICITY'. And there was no arguing with myself. My word for 2015 is Simplicity. sim·plic·i·ty the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do. the quality or condition of being plain or natural. a thing that is plain, natural, or easy to understand. Just reading the definition brings me peace. I think, looking back - well, I can't recall what my actual word was for 2014 - but in hindsight I would say: Complexity. So it makes sense that my life is calling out for balance. I need it. In 2014 my health was complex, my work was complex, my life was complex. But what, exactly, does Simplicity mean beyond the zen quality of it's dictionary definition? I'm sure it varies from person to person, but for me I am going to focus on simplifying in a few key areas. My home: I will own my things - my things will not own me. Since my father's passing two years ago I have basically not been in my basement. We moved so much stuff in during a very rushed process of clearing out his home and I've just been unable to work through all the things. At the same time, I feel all of it. I feel the boxes that need to be reviewed. I feel the disorganization. Without ever even going to see it - I feel it, every day. And over that same time period, I realize now, that I stopped dealing with a lot of things around the house. Clutter, not chaos but clutter, began accumulating. We are no where near a hoarder's episode, but again, for me, it is a weight. A burden that I can feel even if I can't always name it. So I pledge to simplify home by laying my little mittens on every single thing we posess in 2015 and make a decision - do we love it? do we use it? From there we will decide to keep, donate/sell, trash. So far I have done this with both kids rooms, both entry way closets, and our master closet. We thrown away over four industrial size bags full of junk and we have at least two full bins to be donated or sold. It feels wonderful and it's just beginning! My work: I will establish systems to increase my productivity and make good use of my time by simplifying! This, for me, means no more paper. I have a great task management app that I used for a while and then let go by the wayside. I ended the year clearing out my inbox and re-organizing my task management software to be ready for the new year. I'm also keeping an eye out for things that I do that really are not my strengths or not part of my responsibilities. I think this will help immensely as I begin to simplify. My health: I prayerfully request that my health is much more simple in 2015. For what I can control - I will eat healthy whole foods. As a major kick start I am doing a Whole 30 - 30 days of whole foods. This also excludes all dairy, legumes, grains, and sugars (except for fruit). Already, just 3 days in, the nausea that I have been dealing with for over a month is gone. Completely. I am finally beginning to realize that my body is changing and just because I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, I can no longer do so. I am going to make peace with that and I'm going to eat simple meals made of real food. I will also exercise on a regular basis - it's not a negotiatiable endeavor for me, I must maintain my health! My family: Well, somebody's got to go...four is just too many! JUST KIDDING! When I think of simplicity for me, Greg, and the kids I just see us spending time together at home. More time playing games, building things, making things. Time just building on our relationships. We will do one extracurricular activity with each little in the spring and I know that will be busy, but also fun. For family outside our home - I would like to have more spontaneous dinners and fun evenings just enjoying one another. I want to spend time with our parents. My marriage: Simplify my marriage... you know I just need to chill. I told Greg the other day that I feel like I've kind of adopted some persona of a beleaguered wife. It's almost like I forget to be truly present and instead I start from a place of being annoyed or anxious or frustrated - regardless of whether I actually feel any of those things. The reality is that I need to get back to the fun and silly person that I was when we married. Before we had children, before the children got old enough to fight. Life really is not as complicated as we make it and our attitudes are the results of choices we make. I've let the complexity of 2014 turn me into a bit of a shrew. So, public admission and apology here babe - it's on the interwebs forever - 2015 will find me much more chill. So that's all I have for now. 2015 - The Year of Simplicity. Oh! And writing in my blog every week - because this is how I simplify all the thoughts that run rampant in my head! Do you have a word for 2015? Resolutions? Tips for simplifying things? I'd love to hear what you are planning for 2015!
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