Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019 - Being Present

While 2018 was a year where I really tuned into why I do the things I do, it really brought to light many instances where my coping was creeping into unhealthy grounds. When I walk into a stressful season, either being overwhelmed by my workload or feeling the pressure of expectations that I place on myself, my first instinct is to organize.

If my house wasn’t such a mess then I could feel more in control, but I don’t have time to steam clean my tile floor because, well, I need to plan out the next month of work. I can’t sit and write this email for work because all I am thinking about is the dog hair that is accumulating near my baseboards.

I can’t have coffee with her because I am so overwhelmed with my life. If I miss two hours of work to have lunch with her then I will need to work until 10 pm tonight because, well, I really have to get all this stuff done and it’s not getting done.

If I just run and get the girls from school then they can play Mario Cart while I finish work, then I guess we are having sandwiches for dinner maybe lunchables. I really need to spend time cleaning and organizing to help with this overwhelmed feeling instead of going out with my husband.

Ugh, everyone wants something from me!

The last sentence holds the most truth than any of the others. God showed me this at 3 am while I was up borrowing troubles from tomorrow (something that is so typical of me) in the middle of last month.

Yes, everyone wants something from me. They want me to be present.

1. (of a person) in a particular place.
2. existing or occurring now.

My family, my friends, my Lord doesn’t care about that state of my laundry or that my linen closet door won’t shut. They don’t even care if I am scattered and can’t put two sentences together they just want me to be there. They love me for me, but they want ME!

So, in 2019 I am committing to Being Present.

This will take some organizing and scheduling, but in a good way.

Rabbit Hole: If you are an enneagram freak like I am then you have to follow enneagram & Coffee on Instagram. She (or he, but I am thinking she) posted New Year's Resolutions based on enneagram type. Mine was Create Daily Structure. Now if that is not true and I don’t know what is, I embody everything about being a type 4 (with a 3 wing)

So, what does being present look like for me?

Being Present for My Husband

Being present for Matt means that we take more walks. We have more talks sitting close to each other on the sofa a night. It means having weekly meetings to discuss how we can support each other. We make date night a priority and, if we have to, make out every once in a while.

In order for these things to happen, we have to turn off the computers, put down our phones and step away from the video games. We have to leave the workday behind and not get caught in gripe sessions about our employment.

Being Present for My Girls

Being present for Shelby, Bekah and Morgan means that we play more games (that don’t require a screen). We have more dinners at the kitchen table. It means we read more books together and we say prayers with each other before bed each night. It means that I actively engage in sight word practicing and help Morgan understand that she can’t capitalize every other letter of her name even though it’s super fancy. It’s sitting on Shelby’s bed having conversations about her life, it’s getting the Tea! It means planning what her next year will look like, what her plans after high school will be. It means that I will spend Saturday mornings watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (even if I haven’t finished the book) with Bekah.

In order for these things to happen, I have to commit to a strict work schedule. When the girls are in our house (before 9 am and after 4 pm Monday thru Friday) then I am not at my desk, I am not in scheduled meetings and I am not taking phone calls. If something needs to be handled I will address it after the girls are in bed. I have to break ties with my iphone. That little time sucker will be docked upstairs on my charger and if someone calls my handy dandy watch will let me know. I don’t need to be tempted to check my email or get lost in Instagram Stories. These changes bring changes for my girls as well, they will have to endure the trauma of their screen time being limited. Yep, no more “Can I get on the ipad?” as soon as their backpacks hit the entryway floor.

Time is an evil, evil thing that takes you from having young children to an adult and two teenagers before you can scream, “Slow DOWN!”

Being Present for My Friends.

Being present for my friends means that I say yes more times than I say no to offers for lunch or coffee. It means that I am actually doing the asking for once, initiating the playdate, saying let’s meet. It means that our conversations are more about them, their lives, their struggles and less about me unloading my current drama onto them. It means that Matt and I host more dinners in our home, that we re-engage in a bible community. It means that I cultivate new friendships and nourish my current ones.

In order for these things to happen, I have to believe that the people God has put into my life, my tribe that he’s blessed me with are far more important than my work. These are individuals that have walked with me through my lows and have celebrated the hell out of my highs. I have to let people in (but not for just the drama), I have to allow new friendships to grow and not use “busy” as an excuse.

Being Present with the Lord

No disrespect intended by putting the Lord fourth, but it’s quite apropos seeing as how being present with Him means that I put him first. It means that I start each day with time in prayer. It means that I open my bible and actually read the words. It means that I seek out opportunities to have conversations about my faith and that I express my faith. Without sounding so cliche it mean that I let His light shine through each of my days. I participate in conversations about faith with my children.

In order for these things to happen, I have to spend time in the silence that only happens before my house wakes up. Yep, I need get out of my nice warm bed earlier each day. I have to avoid getting trapped on social media first thing each morning. I pretty much need to form some new habits.

Being Present for Myself

Being present for myself means I do more of what I am doing right now, writing. It doesn’t mean I will finish the manuscript in 2019, but it does mean that I will process my feeling through my writing instead of allowing them to churn inside of me. It means that I will try my best to give myself grace, to speak kindly to myself and attempt to see myself as others see me. It means that I will take the five minutes each night to remove my makeup and wash my face. It means that I will practice healthy stress management, that I will hear positive things about myself louder than the negatives. It means that I will take measures to not be awake at 3 am. It means that I will allow myself the structure of a good plan (I even have a new planner!), but I will take some deep breaths when that plan doesn’t fall into place exactly like I hoped. It means that if I blow all of my goals by February that I will still love myself and see myself as God see me - not a hot mess, but his amazing child.

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