It’s been one of those weeks. I have a couple of pieces in the works, but none of them are crying out, “Finish me!” Maybe because things keep somersaulting and jumping up in totally different places all over my life lately. My days are just not playing out like I expected.
If you are a mom, or have one, maybe you can relate. You map out a day in a way that would fulfill some of your needs, and find a dozen detours where you end up taking care of other people and their obviously more urgent issues. And as the next day starts, your own list is still as long as the day before.
A little over a year ago I decided to stop putting myself last. Okay, don’t pitch a fit. That is not the same thing as putting myself first! Because that’s not my intention.
I was deep into an intensive Bible study, and while facing some hurts from my past, I realized I’d let those situations affect me my whole life. I had learned a lot of ways to handle relationships that weren’t healthy, and that left me wondering why no one was taking care of my needs the way I tried to look out for others’. So as part of my recovery journey, I decided a couple of changes were necessary. I needed to quit trying to fix those around me by doing things for them that they could do for themselves. And I needed to start doing things for myself that would help me become the person God created me to be.
So over the last year I’ve done a number of new things, and returned to some others that excite me and spur me on to deeper personal growth. And as fun as some of those activities were, the hardest part was walking away from home, leaving my family to fend for themselves for a few hours or days.
Spoiler alert. They all survived. But there were times I drove off leaving frustrated teens behind, wondering who was going to take care of whatever they wanted me to do before I left, hoping they would figure it out.
And I also survived. Cranking up my YES-FM, looking away from the rear view mirror, heading out to a time or place where I could start looking to God for direction with no interference. Is this where you want me to go next? Is this dream you’ve put in my heart your desire for me, God?
Because sometimes I can’t hear him in all the noise of life.
And it doesn’t help that I’m not a good finisher. I excel at starting things, especially lists of things I’d like to do, or have someone else do, but not so successful at wrapping things up.
Someday I’ll connect all the dots from my past that will make me say, “Aha! This is why I’m like this!”, and when I do I’ll share some of that epiphany. But while I’m working on that, I’m finding it is possible to change. Just because I have a history of not doing this or that, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn how. And just because I have dozens of unfinished projects in process, I can choose to follow one through to completion.
“One day at a time” is a familiar phrase to me, one I’ve repeated hundreds of times over the last almost four years, and it gives me hope for each new day. Because when I have those days where nothing new is accomplished, I know another day is going to follow. The same when everything falls apart or even when everything runs smoothly, I’m still living it one day at a time.
As I look back over the last year of taking some time out for me, I have a clear knowledge that God was leading me through these experiences. I could list all the things I did, but I’d rather tell you how they’ve changed my life.
I made connections with a new writing group, not knowing that my local one was going to fold by year’s end. I have been forced to face my own physical limitations and it’s shown me it’s ok to say no. I’ve found I’m more artistically creative than I knew. I’m able to appreciate my family’s unique gifts better than before. God gave me a new friend, one I love deeply and can’t wait to spend time with soon.
I want to share with you a little piece of writing that I grew up seeing all over my Mamaw’s house, both the more well-known short version and the full version. I believe God put that in front of my eyes as a girl to prepare me for the day almost four years ago when I walked into Celebrate Recovery for the first time and God began a total overhaul of me that isn’t anywhere near done, and has brought the most abundant living I’ve known so far.
If you’ve never read this before, let it sink in. Break it down, phrase by phrase, and you might want to make a change, too. Because it’s never too late to start living the life God wants you to discover. One day at a time.
Prayer for Serenity
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.