“What you think about me is none of MY business. No, really” This is one of my new mantras for 2014. Don’t take it personally, it’s healthy. I am merely making it my focus to STOP caring what others think of me, and it starts now. Even if I care for you, what you think of me is really not important at all. It’s a waste of mind, thought and energy to sit and flood your cranium with worry over other people’s thoughts and opinions . This only leads to mindless and endless “Mental Chatter” that is anxious and disrupting.
We are all allowed to feel and believe what we want to, the thoughts and opinions I have may be very different than yours, and this will have to be okay with you. I’m not going to worry about it. If you don’t want know me as a result of this – then you must do what you need to. My Creator thinks I am everything, and we know that is ALL that matters!
Utilize my mental outlets, harness the power of self-expression and don’t be afraid to feel and experience “me”. Over the entirety of 2013, I have been learning all the outlets I can use to bring peace to mind and awaken my zest for life. God Himself has revealed to me what works for in my unique design. Walking, Exploring and Hiking, Biking, Running, Cooking, Doodling/Drawing, Photography/Photo Editing, Deep breathing/Centering/Meditating, Talking to God in plain conversation/Intimacy, HolyYoga, Drinking Tea, Reading. These outlets don’t just awaken my zest for life, they help me to stay grounded and avoid becoming ensnared in the claws of depression and anxiety. I love to feel grounded and free. For 2014, my goal is to employ at least two-three of the things on this list everyday – and change it up frequently.
Grow my talents/create a profit plan. I have many talents, but my strongest ones are Photography and Cooking. This year, I wont say I’ll have a profitable photography business or own a successful Café, but rather give myself a reasonable goal for the year. I am going to make a conscious effort to sharpen those talents and even use them more as mental outlets. To grow in them, become a better photographer or a better cook/chef (by dedicated study, trial and error and taking a class or so), keep drawing abstract art/doodles. And, in 2014 I will create a business plan. Not necessarily to immediately execute, but I will compose a visual map, and prepare for a future where I am my boss, by means of using the talents the Creator has given me.
Embrace my true sense of style. After going through a long and drawn out, slow churning process of getting to know who I really am/who God has created in me, I have realized that throughout my life I never really knew who I was. Instead of expressing who I was in various areas of my life, I adapted the personal style of other people and things I came into contact with (whether that be people in general or on television and in magazines). Almost like I would “Try them on for a while and see if they fit”. My style fluctuated and although this may sound shallow, let me further explain. In my specific circumstance, my inability to choose a style was a reflection of me not knowing who I was or wanted to be, in other words my lack of self-awareness. You could see this in other areas of my life as well, like my home for instance, I would change my entire living room (textiles, lamps and art included) very often because I would outgrow these “looks and feels” with the changing wind pattern. This was a very expensive and wasteful habit (I have a closet full of duvets as proof). Although it has taken me longer than most to finally settle in on me and accept who I am and what I like, it has indeed happened. For 2014, I plan to focus on just that, embrace what “I” like – and not care if it is something that someone else would enjoy or not. I have accepted and love who I have been Created to be, 2014 is all about settling deeply into my skin.
Train for and Run a race. Yup. This is way overdue. In 2013 the unbelievable happened, I became friends with running. I started in about March and continued throughout the year. And boy, it has helped me get through life with much less stress. I have a dreamt of running a race, why not make that this year? So 2014, look out. I will be choosing a race and training for it. (Preferably one with a finisher’s medal) …I am still not too fast but would like to take home a souvenir and reminder of me reaching this goal.
Pay off debt. I think this is self-explanatory. My debt isn’t astronomical, this goal is attainable in a year. So – I will be working on a financial plan (a realistic and achievable one) to execute in 2014. I would like to reduce my debt by at least 50% before the end of the year.
Embrace all of marriage. Considering at the end of 2013 (November 9th to be exact) I married my best friend; 2014 will be our first full year of marriage. Although we have known each other for almost 13 years and have been in a relationship of some sort for at least 10 years, marriage changes the game. There is no more walking out when things get hard – biggest game changer of all for me. I am still learning the ropes, and I believe it will be a lifelong learning experience for me. This year my goal is to embrace and love marriage. I faced my fear of matrimony (my husband initially asked me to marry him back in 2002). But I still have to face that fear daily, even though we are now married. Face my own insecurities and short comings, face disappointments, face who I am, face my faults and imperfections, face it all and love anyway. I’m proud of myself for moving forward, and this year I will embrace marriage for what it is, a commitment to love another person forever and never leave, a commitment to love my spouse deeply, forgive him daily and work hard to create good memories.
Speak up. Say what I feel. Yes, I don’t do this enough, I’ve always worried if I speak up and say what I feel, people will “feel differently” about me. This is preposterous. The only people I want to have in my life are people who accept me for who I am, who God created me to be. Therefore, 2014 will be all about expressing myself. Don’t worry, I will use my words kindly, but they will reflect my true feeling about whatever the situation. I have spent too many years swallowing what I feel to avoid conflict, conflict is stressful for me, and I have no patience for ignorance and ridiculousness. But this specific goal stems from goal number one (above), “what you think is none of my business”. This is going to be a challenge for me this year, but I can feel God calling me to face this shortcoming within. So, I will be speaking up this year, I vow to address concerns I have about you or anyone else if it involves me. Please, do not take it personally, it’s healthy.
LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. And then, LOVE some more. This will be a constant prayer of mine. Lord teach me how to love deeply, love truly, and love all. Teach me Lord to use words of love when speaking to others (even when speaking up). There is never enough love.
In the words of Switchfoot “Look what a Bomb we’ve made of love, we are the fuse and ammunition, we’ve got ourselves to blame, look what a mess we’ve made of love”.
So many of my brothers and sisters have missed this. Too many of us have missed this. Love isn’t just giving, tithing, feeding the homeless, going on mission trips, smiling at and hugging sad people, although these can be acts of love if genuine, there is more than and putting on a “loving face and smile” for the day, or saying you forgive someone because the bible says you have to. Love is so much deeper. And I want to learn it and have my life reflect it. Love your neighbor means love EVERYONE. No more hating someone because of who they are, or how they choose to live their life. Love everyone knowing that His work is never done – instead of disliking someone else because of their differences, I pray that you show me my sin and ugliness, my filthy past, my baggage. In other words, I pray this year that God shows me the plank in my eye before I point my finger at the specks in others. And I vow to respond to that.
Happy New Year!