By Carolyn Wiebe
I’ve written this blog post four times now. This is the fourth draft.
I tried the Funny One – you know, start off the year with wit and cheer.
And there was the Helpful One – “did you know that if you cut your goals down by 50% they
are more realistic and you are more likely to stick with it?”
Then there was the Spiritual One, “thou and thine and me and mine are here today for union with the spirt…”
I wrestled, prayed, self talked, considered applying for a different job and restarting my life. All very dramatic for a blog post.
This is my attempt at the Honest One.
My soul is weary. And I know I’m not alone. Most of the people I talk to are struggling here too. I feel easily discouraged, I want to retreat, I want to lash out.
So what do you do when you are bone weary but the end is nowhere in sight?
I’m not sure. But I can tell you what practices I’m trying to incorporate in 2022.
I want to fill my mind and heart with truth, not just facts. I was reading through a much loved book of prayers this week and was deeply struck by Psalm 25:5. “Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation.” This is my prayer.
In so many of the stories of Jesus in the New Testament, we see Him answering people’s questions with another question or some seemingly random story. He was always inviting His followers to lift their perspective; to step into an entirely new story line.
We see this in the Old Testament too. Like the time that spies went into Jericho. Most came back and reported the facts – “We saw giants; we feel scared.” Two spies returned and reported what God had told them – “We saw the giants that God will defeat.”
The first report was true. The second report was truth. And in that truth was life. My tendency, especially now, is to see the giants that exist and feel unable to hold on to the truth.
The truth is that God is here. He is at work. He is today who He was yesterday and forever. He is good. I can depend on Him.
Most of my rolling thoughts are either dwelling on the past or fearing the future. The irony is, I don’t physically live in either of those moments. I only have the moment I am in right now. So I’m trying to practice living in the moment.
I try to step into the moment by noticing and listing everything in my immediate context. What do I need to worry about in this exact moment? Usually nothing. What do I have to be grateful for in this exact moment? SO many things.
In this moment I have enough food. I am warm. God has not forsaken me. My family is healthy. Our cars work. I am not alone. I have friends. I have a home. The snow is beautiful.
Truthfully, I’m terrible at it. But I’m practicing. This goes hand in hand with my next point.
Practicing gratefulness as a habit has been shown many times, and in many ways, to be an antidote not ONLY to ungratefulness but to entitlement, anxiety, depression, selfishness, and more. The fruits of the spirit grow and flourish in gratefulness and I don’t know about you but I would love to see the fruits of the spirit grow in me this year.
Our year is guaranteed to have struggle. We can just carve that in stone and stop being
surprised by it. But we have also been promised time and time again that God will be with us through each moment. I don’t want to miss this, whether it’s through fear, anger, numbing, running away – pick your vice. I want to be intentional about noticing the good and beautiful in each moment.
My goals this year aren’t the kind you can measure and check off throughout the year. My hope is rather that they will incrementally build my dependance and trust in God so that by the end of 2022, I will have moved closer to both God and people, I will have grown softer rather than harder, and I am more attuned to God’s goodness in every moment