I've been thinking a lot about this last post for 2013, wondering how to summarize the year behind and how to plan for the year ahead. I'm not really a resolutions person, but I've been reading a lot by the author Gretchen Rubin, including the second time through her exceptional book Happier at Home. Every year she chooses a word to be her theme for the coming year. For example, one year she chose the word "Bigger" and focused on trying new things, living a more generous life, etc.
Last year I had three things: No excuses. Work hard. Energy. (My original post about those themes is here.) I did all right with that theme, but this year, with the toddler running around and the new baby almost here, I'm choosing just one word: Connect. Here are a few of the things that I want to incorporate into this theme for the year:
Connect with God
This, or some version thereof, should probably be on my list every single year. I've always been wretched at having a daily "quiet time" with God, and having kids has not made this any easier or more convenient. I've toyed with various formats in the past trying to make myself tick off a box of Bible reading. Realistically, this has never been successful (or fruitful) for me. The core of this Connection is having some purposeful moment of prayer, of Word or of meditation each day. I want each day to turn my thoughts and orient myself toward God for significant interaction. I'm ashamed (and probably not alone) to say that many days pass with only fleeting remembrance of my Source, and I need more than that.
Connect with my husband
All the experts say that the best way to be a good parent is to be a good spouse, but it is so easy to let kids take the best of my time, attention and energy that there's nothing left for my husband when he gets home. The worst part is when the boys take the best of my goodwill and positivity, so that I can't even offer Fred a smile, attention or affection because I've allowed frustration and weariness to overwhelm me. As I remember the season of life when Wesley was a newborn, I was pretty absorbed in the world of Wesley and me. I feel strongly that if I don't make a purposeful resolution to connect with Fred each day, the little extra of me will be absorbed by the new baby and my husband, myself and my kids will suffer.
Connect with my passions
I've worked to cut a lot of negativity and complaining out of my life in the past year, which has been very rewarding, but I want to focus my time and energy this year on the things that are important and rewarding. Although I'm inspired and passionate about my work with Lahash, I have a lot of options for other ways to engage with the needs I see in my community. One is a maternal mortality project that some friends are starting here in Shirati, which I feel really strongly about, and want to do my little bit to help them with. If I'm going to make this Connection, though, I need to put these projects which energize my heart and my mind and my investment in my community as a priority over things that are not life-giving or energizing.
Connect with our supporters
This Connection is about maintaining good communication with the people who support us through prayer and financially, which is one of those ministry and personal needs. We are dependent on those who respond to our requests for financial support, and we haven't been excellent at communicating gratitude and personal attention to those people. There are also times that feel very lonely for us here in Shirati, where we work and have our home, but are still really lacking community and making that Connection with people around the world who care about us will be important for our health and our ministry in the coming year.
*sigh* I reach this point and think "Can I really do this?" It's not even midnight yet, the words are still warm on the screen and I'm already doubting the scope of my ideals for 2014. I will certainly need some accountability, which is why I post this on the blog and not just in my journal. If you think of it at any point in the coming months, would you just send me a little reminder or some suggestions on how to better "Connect" in 2014? If you had a theme for 2014, what would it be? Leave some comments!