I started the new year weeping in Michaels

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I ended this calendar year the same way I have for the past 10 years: processing where to focus my efforts for the next 12 months. This time has been fruitful for me. I’ve become intentional about friendships, exercise, and my family. I’ve abandoned the resolve to lose weight and welcomed the decision to live a healthier life. Like spending more time getting intentional exercise and eating more veggies. While it may not have paid off in actual pounds lost, my blood pressure/glucose and cholesterol is great. I can even run a full mile without stopping (if I were being chased by a bear for a mile).

I follow Jesus (which just means I let him guide my decisions because I believe he knows way better than me). So towards the end of the year, I kept asking God how he wanted me to focus the new year. Was it updating my appearance (my hair is a bit ragged these days) or traveling more? I felt like God was silent until I walked into Michaels (yep, the craft store, not a guy’s house). I stepped into the aisle that had all of the distressed wood signs that are so popular. I rolled my eyes past the board that reminds folks to “Clean up your mess.” I sucked my teeth when I passed by the signs that provide a simple blueprint for having a great family, “Say please. Hug often. Forgive often.” Whatever. But when I walked past this sign, I literally burst into tears—in Michaels.

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I don’t normally have such a reaction in a craft store. Nordstrom Rack? Depends on the sale. Michaels? Never. Ditching my 70% off Christmas lights, I ran to the car to have a little chat with Jesus. Most of the time I plan my time with God, but this was an emergency!

After a few days of processing my tears, I realized what I hadn’t been noticing in myself. I’ve spent the last few years striving. Doing. Performing. Perfecting. Even though I’m a recovering independent woman, doing it myself is still my go-to. Reading that sign was like a permission slip to relax and allow God to do some stuff too. And apparently, He wants to restore me.

I could see that I’ve been dismantled, war-torn, and depleted. Probably not from any one thing in particular, but for sure from 17 years of raising a child alone (with the help of a village). Maybe from having a job that I love that challenges me and offers tons of opportunities (like writing articles). Perhaps from cooking dinner 53% of the time and taking the trash out most Tuesdays and still maintaining friendships. Likely from not resting.

There is this popular quote that people say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I’m sure that’s crap and it ain’t in the Bible. The reality is that God presents us with challenges and opportunities in life and we have the chance to leave our burdens with him. We get to stop managing them ourselves. When this happens, we have more capacity. Dare I say, we could even feel restored?

So this year, I’m going to focus on letting God mend the pieces of me that have been dismantled. I’d like to be filled up, where I’ve been depleted, please and thank you. And I will work hard not to wait until I get to empty to ask for help. I will spend more time playing and less time fretting over junk that doesn’t matter. I will spend less time doing and more time being.

Written by Latasha Patrick on Jan 16, 2019
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...
  1. If you look back on the last year, what are the top five adjectives you’d use to describe yourself?

  2. Now make another list: Looking back on the past year, what are the top five emotions you felt most often?

  3. What goals do you have for this year? How many are “being”-focused vs. “doing”-focused? Like LaTasha, try asking God where he wants you to focus this year. Whether you’ve ever tried talking to God before or not, write down anything that comes to mind.

  4. If you don’t already know what brings you rest, take time to brainstorm at least ten experiences (big or small) that refill you. Find a way to rhythmically work them into the year ahead, and tell a friend to help you make it happen.

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