Two blogs in one day. The new year will do that to you I guess.
I am on a mailing list and got a December letter from Emily P Freeman today. (She’s an author and podcast person. I really like her a lot.). In this letter, she made a list called “What didn’t work in 2018”. She said, “it reminds me of the things that are within my sphere of influence and the things that aren’t, but either way how I respond is my job and makes all the difference.”
I think it’s a good exercise, especially as we reflect and attempt to set goals for this year. I’m taking my time figuring them out because I want them to be important. I’m not starting the year with any more lofty goals than to survive, but soon I hope to have some. So I encouraged my people to make the list and I too made the list.
1. Holding tight to my plans and not leaving room for change. I’ve confessed this problem before but as I look at the past few weeks, I realize I’ve started doing it again. If things don’t line up with the way I thought they would in my head, I’m not sure what to do and I don’t always respond favorably. I mean let’s face it, my whole life looks nothing like I planned. But it’s a good life. I need to relax and let God work where he wants and let things happen the way they do. And breathe. Always breathe.
2. Trying to control anything. Um control. Yikes. Probably goes with #1 but if I’ve learned anything in December, it’s I have no control. I mean I have limited control over anything and trying to hold on tightly does not do anything but frustrate me and stop God from working likely.
3. Trying not to disappoint anyone. This one I’ve fought forever. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and so I’ll bend over backwards to do anything they want me to do. In my best versions of 2018 I learned to say no sometimes. But in my worst I go right back to being a yes person even at the expense of my own happiness. My people help me see this as some of them make sure I’m not overextending in my commitments to them. They don’t know how much I love them for this.
4. Worrying about what other people think. This is part of the worst of being an enneagram 2 in it’s unhealthy stages. I worry what everyone thinks all the time. 9 times out of 10 there’s probably a distinct possibility that they aren’t thinking of me at all. But when my life gets more out of control I latch right back onto this one (as I just admit I’ve done in the last few weeks a lot).
5. Staying awake at night so I don’t die in my sleep. I’m a nurse and this is stupid. But I’ve found myself doing it ever since my heart decided to act up. There was a week I barely slept. Then when it started being weird again, I started it again. (I mean I’ve seen 2 seasons of making the Dallas cowboys cheerleaders or whatever that show is called at night lately). Here’s the thing common sense knows. If I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die. Also I might not want to be awake for it cuz I can’t stop it. I need to let that go for sure. All it does is make it worse and make me tired and grumpy.
6. Being busy all the time. My favorite bandaid. If I’m busy I don’t have to feel anything because I don’t have time for it. But feelings are good and God gets lost in the busyness.
7. Giving up dairy. This one is silly but I tried it. Granted, dairy isn’t good for anyone with PCOS but some things are nonnegotiable. I need real creamer and cheese in my life. I can use flax milk but I can’t use coconut creamer. I already give up enough. (It’s like the time I tried Lent and gave up chocolate. I mean it’s like I don’t even know me.)
8. Losing focus. I gained focus this year. But when things went haywire recently I lost it again. I need to refocus my attention where it needs to be. I need to look for God in the challenges. I need to not dwell on what’s happening to me. Life is better that way.
9. Aiming for perfection. Self-explanatory. Life isn’t perfect but I desperately want to be. A lot of times if one thing goes wrong I feel like an entire day is ruined. As my friend reminds me, I need to quit being dramatic. Also I need to quit trying for perfection because I’ll never achieve it and only be disappointed in myself every day. (Along those lines I should have added quit comparing myself to others)
10. Not trusting. Not trusting people. Not trusting God. Not trusting the journey. Not realizing that even if things don’t work out the way I want them to that God is in the journey and as Annie F Downs said in Remember God, “sometimes it’s not about finding your way out of the wilderness but about finding manna in the wilderness.”
So that’s my list. The next list (probably for tomorrow) is what did work in 2018. So if you’re my people just know you’ll probably get that challenge next. Maybe part of the goal of 2019 needs to be to let go of the 10 things on this list. Or to just give this list up to God and ask him to help me work on it because clearly I’m not doing well left to my own devices.