“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
The last day of 2018. New Year’s Eve.
I put away the Christmas decorations yesterday. In the past, I was always sad when the trees were gone, the garland was removed from the staircase, and the Christmas decor was put back in boxes.
This year was different.
I loved Christmas, and next year, I will enthusiastically put all my decorations back up again (all 5 trees!); however, this year, I felt a sense of calm when it was all gone.
There was open space in the corners of the rooms where the trees stood. There was open space on the flat surfaces where snowmen and figurines were displayed. There was open space on my kitchen counter where the Christmas cookies and candy sat. There was open space on my fireplace mantel.
I liked the open space.
I felt like I could breathe again.
Maybe it was the busyness of the holiday season. Maybe it was the cluttered feeling with all the decorations, especially as a simple person who appreciated order. Maybe it was the emotions, good and bad, that came with the holiday season.
Whatever it was, I felt a sense of relief.
I had a wonderful Christmas and a wonderful break with the family. We made a conscious decision to stay in and ‘just be.’ In the past, we fit in as many events and outings during break as we did in the weeks before Christmas. This year, we stayed home. We traded dinners out for homemade dinners around the family table. We swapped running around for family movie nights, and board games, and looking at the moon with my son’s new telescope. We avoided big parties and social gatherings and chose quiet nights at home.
This year was different. And I loved it.
I wanted to carry that feeling into the new year.
While everyone was writing down their resolutions and worrying about losing weight, getting to the gym, quitting smoking, or all the other resolutions people made this time of year; I was more interested in that feeling.
What was that feeling? What was it I found this week that I enjoyed so much?
I felt peace.
I found the slow pace I had been longing for. I enjoyed time with the family that so often, I felt I only saw in passing or between activities. I made time to read and to write and to think. I claimed time for me. Time to do all the things I liked to do or to do nothing at all. I made time to spend with God. I read the Bible. I read my devotional. I started a new prayer journal.
Yes, …. peace.
That was what I wanted. And those things were what peace meant to me.
The open space in my home was a symbol of the open space I felt in my heart and my soul. As I removed decor from shelves and tables and corners in my house, I was left with clear surfaces and empty space. I liked it. I chose not to fill those spaces with my old decor, but to bring back only the pieces that meant something to me.
They were only material items. They were just things.
But I had too many things.
Just like I had too many obligations on my calendar, too many thoughts in my head, too many emotions in my heart.
I had to do the same for me, as I did for my house.
So, that was my focus for 2019.
I didn’t make resolutions.
Like many did these days, I chose a word, and my word this year was PEACE.
Some of the things that stole my peace were simple things with simple fixes.
I wanted to plan meals so that “what’s for dinner” was not a daily source of stress, and going to the grocery store was a weekly and not an often daily task.
I wanted to be more deliberate about money. I wanted to save more, and be more discerning about ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ and teach my children the same.
I wanted to manage my time better so that my life was not lived at the last minute, and I wasn’t getting through the days by the seat of my pants.
I wanted to organize my home in a way that cleaning was easier, looking for lost things wasn’t a daily occurrence, and that my home would be sanctuary for friends and family.
I wanted my family to function as a unit, not as separate entities moving in different directions.
I wanted to focus on my faith, my family, and my close friends. I wanted to spend more time with God, invest more time in my family, and build on the relationships that were important to me.
I wanted to be a better wife, daughter, mother, and friend. I wanted to be a better person, by strengthening my relationship with God and others. Also, taking care of myself as well as others, had to be a priority.
So, that was really a lot of resolutions wrapped up in one word.
But I felt like having that one word, PEACE, as my goal was something I would work harder to obtain, especially coming off this peaceful Christmas break. Realizing that doing those things would help to bring me what my heart and soul were longing for was the motivation I needed.
God didn’t want me busy. God didn’t want me overwhelmed. God wanted to give me peace; but only through Him, and then through some simple changes, could I achieve the peace I wanted. I had to look to Him first, plan accordingly, and then let things fall into place.
I couldn’t accomplish all of those things in a day. The turning of a calendar was not going to bring about instant change. Changing an “8” to a “9” wasn’t the ticket to accomplishing my goals or finding my peace. But it could bring a new mindset, a new resolve; and with those things, life-changing habits could be learned and applied.
That was what I was going to do.
One step, and one day at a time.
It was a new year.
This was going to be my year.
What are your resolutions or your “word” for 2019? What would you like to change or improve? What goals would you like to crush?
Leave a comment or write me here and tell me what your goals for 2019 look like.
Also, I will be chronicling my journey to find my peace this year. It will not be an easy fix. I have goals to write and a lot of work to do. I invite you to check back for updates as I will share the ups and downs, what worked and what didn’t…