With 2018 only hours away, I cannot imagine planning out a whole year at once as some people do. That is great and something their careers/life may require. But not me. I easily become overwhelmed trying to plan a whole year at once.
My new year is almost a blank page. Nothing big is scheduled on its pages. I kinda wish there were. Life seems more exciting and easier when it sweeps me up in its rushing current. Adrenaline, not intentionality, motivates me all day, every day. Procrastination of life’s pesky tasks (organization and home projects to name a couple) is easy. I tell myself I will get to them “when I have more time”—which, of course, I never do.
Last year was one such year for me. Kelsey and Caleb bought a house in April and Gene began a six-month renovation on it. My part in this project was to care for The Grand while his parents and Pops worked on the house. I also fed and supported the hard workers. When not taking care of The Grand, cooking, and such, I shifted into low maintenance mode for our household.
I loved the extra time with The Grand. It was a special time that I will cherish forever and one that will not happen again—his stage of life, my season of life, the fun adventures we had together. No regrets, not one.
But now. . . Now the kids are living in their sweet, beautiful new home and loving it, and I need to find another new normal. When I sit with God and ask Him to show me what is next, He is silent. Or at least silent about a Big, Hairy Plan. This morning I received an answer that was not big, hairy, or exciting. I felt God say, “Hey, let’s get back to the basics.” The basics include things I avoid when I have the excuse of being too busy with other “important” things.
In this quiet space between Christmas and New Year’s I realize my lack of passion, joy, and growth. I ask God to help me not waste this time. He nudges me again—Back to the basics.
The discipline of getting back to the basics will nurture what is essential for me to be me—the true person God designed me to be. Below is the list of my basics.
- Daily Bible reading. Yes, I keep my morning appointment with God every day, but for a long time I have not done a purposeful Bible reading/study. This morning I signed up for an online read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan*. I am not a fan of these plans because of the temptation to read quickly, checking off the box for the day, but not processing it. Also I am a task-driven person. Missing a day’s reading gives me one more thing to feel like I’m failing at. But this morning I realized I need the strong stuff—Bible every day and throughout the day. The plan I signed up for will come to my phone so I can read throughout the day as I have time, not rushing through every morning in fear I will forget to read the Bible later in the day.
- Be faithful with my Weight Watcher Plan and exercise. Weight Watchers works for me when I follow it and don’t lie to myself about what I’m really eating. My Fitbit is my accountability partner for daily exercise, steps, and water intake. These two are a simple, easy way for me to stay healthy. Done and done.
- Write every day. It’s part of who I am and what God made me to do. Through writing God speaks to me and teaches me what He has for me in each day. Sometimes He prompts me to share this with you. Sometimes it’s for me alone. Either way it’s a discipline that nurtures the true me.
- Make time and take time for friends. In his book, The Good and Beautiful God, James Bryan Smith talks about the need to “spend time with likeminded people.”** He explains it is part of the process of becoming more like Christ. I want to become more like Christ. I need to become more like Christ. Plus I really enjoy being with likeminded people.
In order to do the above I need to:
- Arrange my day around them, not give what time, if any, is left.
- Make time in my day. This may mean getting up earlier, spending less time on social media, reclaiming some of the time that I’ve designated for “down time.” In the winter I feel the pull to hibernate, but I’m not a bear. I don’t need to hibernate.
What do basics do you need to get back to in 2018 in order to be the true you? The true you is the person God made you to be and the one who can be in authentic relationship with God.
**James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God. (InterVarsity Press, 2009).
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.