So far, 2013 has been a year of discovery already. I have been fortunate to experience the pain of growing into a few important principles. I'm sure there's more to come - but here's what I've learned in the first two months of this year.
I can't even list the many people in the last couple of months that have rushed to my aide. Most of them don't really want to be recognized, anyhow. Such humility is rare. I've learned to practice a little humility myself. Sometimes accepting help is a hard thing to do. From anonymous packages, to gift cards, to loaner vehicles and quite literally the kitchen sink...all things that have been needed have been supplied. I always freak out a little and doubt, but I forget how big my God is AND how loving His people are.
Sending the kids to public school and ending home schooling was such a hard thing to do. I felt somewhat excommunicated from The Club and was so hard on myself as to why I "gave up." Interestingly, I feel less concerned with what they are being taught at school than I am with folks thinking I'm a quitter. Oh, how I tend to focus on me, me, me. Sickening, really. I'm still pretty pained about it - haven't even put the books away yet.
This school year has given me some much needed room to breathe. I'm confident that we can educate our children in Biblical principles at home and with the help or our church body. They can go to school and learn to relate with other people that have differing opinions and beliefs, and be better for it. It takes a more intentional effort to raise your kids as Christ Followers when you let them out in the fallen world. Makes us better Christians, to.
3. That I can't, and never will be able to, change others if they don't want to.
Several years ago, I realized that my lifestyle was extremely unhealthy. I smoked cigarettes, drank to much and was 80+ pounds over weight. I had started seeing a therapist in the after-math of an abusive relationship and light was shed all over things. I learned that I was my biggest problem. Me.
Through the years I've put the pounds back on and taken them off once. I haven't ever touched a cigarette again, and try to focus on experimenting with healthier and more nutritious foods. I've tried to educate myself on nutrition (not fads or trends) and hope to pass good eating habits on to our four children.
I thought that I could change people through my discoveries. I have gotten so frustrated and so sad that I can't seem to do this. I hate that I feel that no matter what I do, I can't do anything. Somewhere along the line, I actually decided that punishing myself by denying myself anything that could be deemed unhealthy like coffee, chocolate, or cheese would effectually atone for my loved ones poor nutrition habits. Looking back, it seems insane. It didn't work. I wasn't happy, and they weren't any healthier. I had to stop that earlier this month.
Which brings me to the 4th thing I've learned in 2013 -
If I want to be happy, I have to BE HAPPY.
There's a difference between happiness and joy. I have joy. Deep down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart to stay. I am joyful and free. At peace and content. Joy is a condition, a constant state of being brought about by the knowledge that you are meant for what you are.
But happiness is different. It's the spring in your step, the desire to smile for no reason, or hum a tune stuck in your head. I've been so busy trying to take on all the problems of the world and the work of five people that I've skipped over happy. I thought that when I was finished conquering the world, happy would just occur. It didn't. I have to go get it. And it doesn't have anything to do with anyone else.
Some of this may seem like a bit of a "duh" to those that have been there. I'm not ashamed of my learning curve, no matter how wide the arch. I am happy that I've realized these things! It's rare to see light as we stumble through life. I guess all the interesting things that have gone around lately have served their purpose, after all.