Way back in early February, I wrote a double post on my word of the year process. About how I had been a skeptic but felt like my word found me. Part One told the story of reading my Bible and the story of Isaac digging wells. He kept getting run off and finally dug a last well and was able to settle. How he named that final well, Rehoboth, which means open space.
“Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.” Gen 26:22
And then Part 2 was all about the plan or actions for creating more space in my own life.
Even still, going back and reading it seven plus months later, it resonates. I still feel the conviction inside when I read what I wrote.
Perhaps a smidgen of guilt creeping in as well.
Shocking right? That someone would look back at their introspective dream they put in writing on the internet, and then cue the embarrassment like they might have missed the mark some.
I do feel all those things. But also a little bit pleased. A mixed bag of disappointed and pleased. So I thought it fair to update you on what the path has looked like these last 7 months. For some reason this whole idea of creating open spaces in my life feels too important to me to just leave hanging in the wind.
I have to revisit it. Even if only for personal clarity.
I’m sitting here reflecting on this window of time with a succeed/fail evaluation. But that can’t be the scale. Creating space in our lives for the things that matter, like our families, our creativity, our joy, and our God can’t really be quantified only by A’s and F’s. Right?
I do that though. And what I realize is that once again I expect perfection. DUMB.
It. Is. Not. Possible.
Will I ever learn this? Sigh.
As I continue to ramble some, I can tell what started as a bit of a failure confession with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor, has turned into something different. Better. Truer.
Here is what is true. God opened my eyes in February to the reality that I was cramming every inch of space in my life with stuff. Mental stuff, emotional stuff, busy-ness stuff, unhealthy habit stuff, and a crap-ton of physical actual stuff.
And now, mid-September, I can look back and still see too much stuff. But I can also see spaces. Spaces where there was too much and now there isn’t.
I have so far to go. So dang far. But I have come from places. Wanna hear?
Of course you do.
Here are some of the most notable places that I’ve changed in order for there to be breathing room in my life.
Please don’t laugh.
1// I quit drinking Dr. Pepper.
My last soda was January 1. Some of you might roll your eyes, but you must have never been addicted to anything and tried to quit. I honestly used to drink 4-6 A DAY! Because of that, I drank most of my calories. I have heard people talk about how they haven’t had a soda in 3 years, yada yada and always felt so defeated.
But here I am. My goal for today…a year at a time.
Ok. So how does that relate to open space? You would not believe how much time and money is wasted making DP runs. Not to mention how little room that left for actual healthy food. How much guilt I would feel over the indulgence. For you, it may sound silly. For me? Open space.
2// Family Pick-Up
This is about shifting our family routines to where the house wasn’t an absolute disaster on the mornings the boys were in school. Basically, we were trashing the house over the weekend and Monday (our family day off), and then leaving it for me to take care of on Tuesday, once the boys went to school. Things were so overwhelming house-wise on the days I was home without them. So I would spend hours picking up and cleaning.
Then I would look up and it was time to pick the boys up.
I would feel so discouraged. And ticked.
I had these great intentions to use those couple days a week as my deep, long, sit on the couch times with the Lord. Two days where I could indulge in solitude and not rush my reading and actually have time to pray and listen. My plan had been to do the light pickup and cleaning and then tend my soul. Plus, I had grand hopes for getting some actual projects or work done.
Instead I’d get mad and bitter. I felt taken advantage of by my family and then would be so “zoned” in to tasks when they got home, that I was not a nice person to be around.
Such a simple tweak or two. We started doing a better job in the evenings TOGETHER. Specifically Mondays. I feel so much more supported and cared for. It’s not a perfect system, but for the most part, we are able to do enough as a team that I don’t feel so crushed when I look around and realize what all there is to do.
3// I went back to work.
That one might sound confusing.
I had a massive revelation I mentioned here about how it was time for me to go back to work part-time. Very part-time. And I did that back in June. It’s flexible, the perfect amount of part-time, and it pays well.
You see. Being a mom is hard. Being completely transparent here…it is crazy hard. I learned early on that being a mom to these two was definitely a gift, but I would not be operating out of “convergence” in this role. Meaning this would not be an intersection of my gifts and strengths and joys and passions. This role stretches me. It often breaks me. And yet, it bends and shapes me too.
Hear me. I love my children. That’s not up for debate or question. I felt strongly that the right fit for our children when they were very little, was for me to stay home. We poked and prodded the budget and made it happen. I’m forever grateful for it.
But. It was time. I felt like to be a better mom, it was now time to go back to work some. And though I gave up a day at home alone, I now have another one away. And that is good. I still get one day at home while they are in school and we seem to be managing all the spinning plates for now. We take things a season at a time and this is working for us.
So. Back to work. More open space financially and for this momma’s heart.
4// Exercise. The dreaded word.
I’ve mentioned this one a few times here and here. I finally got over my fear of group exercise classes. Pilates has made me feel stronger, more flexible and honestly, just better about myself in general. Once my Groupon was used up, I accidentally took a month off. Oops. But just this last week, I jumped back in.
This is an area that while it takes up my time, I feel like I’m using my spaces more wisely. No one can argue here.
5// You guys. THE PURGE.
My house, not the movie. Gross.
Anyway, the long and short is that Bret and I both took off work in early August, and spent 3 days tackling our house. I have felt like I was being suffocated by all of our stuff. Add to that the conviction I had about our excess, and the fact that it was just too much too manage, I was at the boiling point.
SO we did it. We still have far to go in many ways. We will never be done, because this is just life. But we actually have literal open spaces in our home now. Shelves that aren’t full and storage bins that are now empty.
I can’t believe how much easier maintaining a semblance of a picked up house is. I’m not actually surprised just so so relieved to be experiencing it.
Note this. It’s also an addiction. I’m not done. I don’t want to be done. And while we will never be minimalist, I’m so excited about the direction we are headed.
So there you have it. A not so brief update. It makes me think critically about my life and where else I need these spaces. Because there is no doubt in my mind that I do.
I’m so glad I decided to reflect back. I think we tend to be so hard on ourselves when it comes to things like this. Goals, resolutions, etc. Maybe that’s why the word thing resonates with so many. It’s not as painful to quantify. It’s more reflective.
Now I’m curious if anyone else has had similar experiences with their intentions for the year. Success? Crashing and burning? Somewhere in the middle?
Either way, give yourself some grace.
Open spaces. Rehoboth. Room for the Lord to prosper.