My One Word for 2017

It’s time to confess. I coasted through the last half of 2016 and just kind of let life take me for the ride. Sadly, I allowed circumstances to get the best of me.

Normally I move through life with a plan. I have goals and a “To Do” list. But I gave up on all of that. Nothing seemed to be working other than the day-to-day survival method, and even that seemed questionable at times.

Every time I turned around, one of the kids had this virus or that one. The Pipeliner’s job situation created immense financial strain. Then we had to make some tough decisions as a family. At times I felt like I was marooned on an island in the middle of the ocean with no rescue ship on the way. Where was God in all of this mess? I surely couldn’t find him. I tried to have faith that everything would be okay in the end, but life was really, really dark for days, weeks, months. It still is, if I allow my thoughts to dwell on the circumstances.

One day, while out running errands and feeling exceptionally discouraged, I saw a flock of tiny birds (likely headed south for the winter) and immediately the Bible verse that talks about God caring for the sparrows popped into my head.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

Tears streamed down my face. And a little piece of bitterness took root in my heart. How could God care for the sparrows and not provide for my family? We were doing everything possible to stay afloat financially. It was bad. Like really bad. That day, I had the meager contents of our change jar in my purse so I could buy the necessary groceries for the week. We had nothing else.

{A little side note here … For years, I’ve laughed at the Pipeliner because he will never spend the change in his pocket. If he has 75 cents in his pocket and he needs to pay $3.25 for something, he will hand the cashier $4 and receive more change rather than use a quarter from his pocket. As 2016 progressed, I found myself giving thanks for the Pipeliner’s crazy habit as I relied more and more on the change jar to provide gas and groceries.}

I held on to that tiny root of bitterness for quite awhile. (And in reality, I think my wounded spirit is still festering a bit mostly because our situation is still the same.) I was desperate for help. Any kind of help. And nothing was happening. Somewhere over the weeks, I gave up. I couldn’t deal with anything else. I was done. I wasn’t making another decision. I wasn’t figuring out how to pay another bill with an empty bank account.

Thankfully, I knew how to fight that mindset. Some days I allowed the negativity and the tears to consume me for a few minutes, other times the better part of a day. In a way, I constantly fought the negative thoughts, the bitterness, the anger, the hopelessness, but over time I learned what my triggers were and prepared myself for those times (like writing the monthly rent check).

I had to remind myself that we had a roof over our head and food, albeit not necessarily the most nutritious options, in our bellies during the darkest times. Our circumstances could be a lot worse.

Giving up, coasting through life, and harboring bitterness over circumstances aren’t exactly recommended ways for how you are supposed to tackle life. But I did exactly those things for almost 4 months. I let a lot of things in my life slide and I just lived from day to day with no purpose other than keeping my kids alive. 🙂 I lost my motivation. Then 2017 arrived on the horizon.

As I thought about the new year and what I wanted, I gained new energy which in turn gave me a fresh perspective that things could be okay. And I decided to live 2017 based on one word:

I’m not going to coast through 2017. I’m not going to allow circumstances to consume me and snuff out my goals and plans. I will muddle my way through and come out on top again. 2016 tried to defeat us, but we survived. We’ll do it again this year, but I want to finish 2017 and be able to look back at all of the things I deliberately accomplished and not just what I sloshed my way through as life dealt it to our family.

 

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