Each year, I have been trying to have a theme word that is over the goals I have for the year ahead. This year has been harder than most to think of the word, mostly because it's been hard to make time to sit and think. I have been running it over in my mind for the past few days, thinking of some of the personal goals as well as challenges I will face in the year ahead and trying to find word to cover them, or at least the arching theme.
Finally, earlier this afternoon as I was lost in my thoughts, rocking my tired baby girl to sleep it came to me. Effort.
Effort is my word for 2015.
Life is busy and crazy with 2 little ones. It's been easy to let my eating habits turn into snacking on chocolate or chips that are available while I am making healthy meals for my kids or at night when I am exhausted and stressed and needing a pick me up. It's not healthy; physically or emotionally. But it takes effort to make a change and to literally stop picking up the junk.
The effort trickles down. It takes effort to plan ours days to leave time for making and eating good food. It takes effort to plan meals and grocery shopping trips to have a pantry and fridge filled with healthy foods to make and graze. It takes effort to remember why I am choosing to make diffreent choices in the moment.
In relationship, firstly with God I have been very lazy and it shows in the way I have been living life and treating other people. I have not been making the effort to have quiet times. I have settled for mediocre and I have hated myself for it.
My marriage has lost it's luster. We have stopped putting in the level of effort needed to sustain anything more than basic, not unpleasant, survival but that's not enough. I want so much more and so does Jeremy. It just requires conscious effort to make it happen; scheduled date nights, intentional conversation, turning off the TV.
As a mother I want to shine. I am thankfully not swayed much by the popular vote in this area. I enjoy Pinterest on a certain level but certainly do not compare myself to the standard it could set. I want to work out more but I don't feel shamed by mum friends who are at the gym every day. I pretty much set my own rules and standards but even in that way, I see a lack of effort in recent months. Much of parenting a baby and a toddler is survival and I am giving myself a big chunk of grace, but even within that parameter I see room for growth what comes from taking time to plan ahead and making the effort when it could be easier for me to stay home.
Friendships have been harder to maintain at the level of closeness I would really like and I have blamed the distance we are away from most of our community as we look for a new house, but honestly, it's more about making time to call people and being faithful to reply to emails or messages that include making plans. Yes, with two little ones and naps and distance it is tricky but not impossible and just needs some effort.
Throughout 2014 I felt lots of things start to slip. And the more slack you give yourself the easier it is the next time you choose to let the laundry sit in the washer over night instead of getting out of bed to put it in the dryer or hang it up if you had forgotten. Or to drive thru somewhere to get lunch because you didn't make lunch to take with you when you left the house. Or to wear the exact same kid snot stained clothes for a second day (not underwear, that would be gross and like I said, I do have some standards) instead of making the effort to find something new, or going the extra day without a shower because its too much work and who cares, right? Except, I do. I care. I want a marriage and relationships that cause me to become a better, stronger person. I want to be healthy and fit, I want to be clean and look nice. I want to make the effort to reflect to the world that life is good, because it is. I want to feel as though I am putting effort into the things that are important and not into things that are not.
So 2015 is the year of no more excuses. I will get off the couch and play with my kids, I will set up that playdate I have been thinking about for months, I will say yes more than I have been and I will make time for the things that are important to me and hoepfully reflect to my kids how important it is to take time for yourself.
I hope that this year, my effort will be rewarded by ending 2015 looking a bit more like the person God designed and a bit less like the version that has become complacent and ineffective.
Let's do it!