As some of you may remember, last year at about this time I wrote a blog post titled "Growth," and it kind of started a mini series about goal setting. My word for 2019 was growth. I wrote two pieces on how I planned to grow in my marriage, my commitment to the gym, my bank account, and the list goes on and on.
In total, I had set twenty goals for 2019.
By the time I had written them all out, I was already tired and disappointed.
Holidays are hard for me, they always have been, and maybe you're like that. Something about the chaos of expectations always sends my anxiety through the roof. So during this time last year, I was talking with a good friend about my anxiety for the holidays, and also all the goals I had for 2019. I began to list all the goals I had, and she gave me the affirmation that they were good goals, and that I would have a good year.
But I still wasn't satisfied, and after we finished talking I sat back in my chair and sighed.
The more I talked about growth and all that I could accomplish this year, the more I felt the Holy Spirit pushing back, rather whispering the word "meekness," to me over and over again.
Meek, synonymous with small, unimportant, quiet.
I started January 2019 with a growth mindset. I got a new job title, we bought the house, we flipped that house, and I was more burnt out than I ever had been. My skin broke out due to lack of sleep water, and plenty of stress. I had bags under my eyes so big you could haul grocery bags in them. Luke and I fought almost every day. It was by far the ugliest I had ever felt. Inside and out.
When the house project wrapped up in May and the dust and moving boxes had settled, I looked at my calendar for the first time in a long time, and I no longer had a running to do list.
The reality of it was that my burnout didn't happen over the three months from January-May. It was going on when I decided to take on 42 college credits in one year. It was going on when I was simultaneously trying to plan a wedding over our six month engagement. It was going on when I was fighting a daily battle with anxiety and depression during my freshman year of college. And even still it was going on for the 4 years before that when I was doing all the activities under the sun during my high school years.
8 years. It had been going on for 8 years.
And for the first time in 2920 days, I had no more goals to reach. I was married, with a job, a house, and a dog. What more was there to do?
So without my permission, God brought me to my season of meekness, where instead of trying to shout over the noise of my own to do list, He finally had the space to whisper it.
And it changed my life.
I didn't blog 2 times a week, or read 24 books this year like my New Year's resolutions said I should. I didn't go to the gym 3 times a week. I didn't journal daily, or stay on track with a bible plan. In fact, I didn't do a single thing from my 2019 Growth Mindset Goals.
But without setting any goals, here's where my meekness season got me.
I learned to love hours of alone time, especially in the silence. I switched my evening glass of wine for a mug of hot tea. I ran because I wanted to, not because there was a goal to run 13.1. I read 9 REALLY good books, and chewed on them for a long time. I took walks with my dog. A lot of them. I drank my coffee slowly in the mornings. I posted pictures online because I wanted to, instead of trying to keep up with the Jones'. And my biggest accomplishment, I was FINALLY able to delete social media from my phone.
And I'm actually writing this blog because I feel like I have something to say, not because I feel like I should be saying something.
Have I perfected this "meekness" goal? No. Not even close. I'm still loud and impatient most days. But the bad days I had post growth mindset, are still better than the really bad days I had when I was trying to do it all.
This year, my head was clear enough to finally decide what mattered most to me, and I wouldn't trade that clarity for anything.
So for 2020, I'm not setting any goals. I don't need to because the One who doesn't need permission from me to fulfill the plans he already has laid out, has handled things pretty well.
This isn't to say goals are bad. Goals are a really good thing, and if you can execute on them in a way that isn't damaging to your mental health, then by all means, write your list of 20 goals, and I'll be here cheering you on!
In the meantime, I'm going to keep reading only good books, drinking coffee slowly, and writing when I feel like it.
Maybe I'll write more about that later, or maybe not.
Happy New Year Everyone. :)
To express, explain, and exclaim the lessons life continually throws at me, and my take on how to deal.