In one my posts I optimistically wrote, “My January Rest will replenish me by resting from these things: satisfying appetite, unnecessary spending, and activities. I will have needed space and time to create, write, develop ideas and material, and rest physically.”
Replenished? I wish I could say yes, but honestly, I am a little weary.
This January was busier than most I can remember. Several factors—a few intentionally chosen combined with a couple recommended adjustments—caused the added busyness. For that I feel sad. When winter hits and the year-end holidays retreat like a tide gone back out to sea, I am left wanting to rest. Rest; the kind that changes weary into wonderful.
While busyness crashed my party this year, rest found me! I feel more at peace about the path I am walking. Rest comes in a plethora of forms providing internal peace and space to move around in.
In order to improve my craft, I planned on taking an online writing course. However, when my husband and I, along with a group of others were asked to help launch a new, long-term, weekly ministry at our church, I chose not to pay the money and commit the extra time it would take to participate in the course. Slightly confused, I conceded my desire of learning to the reality of lack of time. Then like a tender hug to my heart, I saw WordPress was offering its free Blogging 101 course in January! Perfect. Open door: step through. I could write and learn for free, so if I couldn’t keep up, the cost wasn’t as high. My goal to write and learn did happen…just not in the way I had planned!
One of the Blogging 101 assignments was to write a post about who you think of to be your ideal audience. That made me contemplate who I’d like to write for in the future. In my post Dear Reader I spilled my heart and took a proverbial step of faith, stuck my little toe in the water, then jumped in! I shared I would begin to write about “finding my rest.” Finding my rest has been a ten year process and I am still learning. My January Rest is an outcome of seeking that rest.
Mid-January, our new ministry started. It has been wonderful. I am glad we said yes! Only after I said yes, did I truly get a confirmation that I was in the right place. One of the verses that has come up over and over is John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
John 15 is what I have been learning and researching for the last decade. John 15 and the concept contained within is what Finding My Rest posts will revolve around. Who knew it would show up in a marriage ministry!? So while MJR didn’t look like I thought, I was “resting” in the journey I am on and it is moving my heart in the right direction. I felt that I was to write. MJR, and you, gave me the reason for writing; thank you for reading. Blogging 101 gave me the impetus to learn and write. Blogging 101 gave me the nudge to own the desire of my heart to write about resting in a spiritual sense. Blogging 101 facilitated me winning the Liebster Award.
I was trying to tie this all together in my mind. Yes, I felt convinced I was to learn to write better and write more in January by taking a course. And I was confused when it did not happen the way I thought. But like C.S. Lewis’s magic that chased the kids into the wardrobe, I was chased to Blogging 101. Blogging 101 challenged participants to figure out and then write to their “ideal” audience. I did that by owning my dream and committing to write posts with the focus of Finding My Rest, then the very obstacle that caused the change of plans—the weekly ministry—three different times teaches on THE concept behind Finding My Rest posts. This outcome is the best part of MJR 2016: something I see as essential, has been birthed. Abiding to the believer is as essential as oxygen to mankind.
Besides my new direction, much more good fruit has been produced. Resting from reading magazines, junk mail, shopping solicitation, marketing email, and other non-priority reading provided space to write. Besides that exchange, I did get some big chunks of time to write and rest unexpectedly when my daughter had a triple overnight with a friend. Other nuggets of time opened up frequently. I was quite surprised to find I wrote mostly at night, which threw my sleep off and I slept in later in the morning. That reminded me of when I was a younger painter, staying up all hours of the night to create. The change of schedule felt peculiar, but it worked, so I went with it.
Time was one of my greatest challenges to MJR; the other was food (yeah, yeah, glorious food: said slowly with lackluster). My feeling about food at the moment is similar to taking a dog on a walk. Pup is SO excited to go, go, go until it is time to come home. Then Pup’s tail is a dragging all the way home. So, what is my beef? While I wanted to use up what we had, while trying to adjust my diet for health reasons, the target kept moving! I am supposed to avoid iron but my daughter needs more iron. I need more calcium due to osteoporosis but my daugher is to avoid calcium due to her anemia (it binds with iron). The news came a week apart. Try meal planning on an existing pantry with those parameters. Iron, no iron. Calcium, no calcium? Trying to figure it out and make adjustments put me over the edge one day. Good thing I said I wasn’t going to shop, because I probably would have been at the store daily out of frustration. My husband’s solution was he went out and bought a cow (definitely hyperbole here, but sometimes hyperbole is warranted.)
What has changed? I have.
- I am paying more attention to what we already have. I’m amazed at how much food we have and how long it takes to use it up. Our refrigerator has been more bare than normal; I like that.
- When I first began, I almost compulsively looked up items online that I needed or wanted. It took about a week to rest from that impulse. Now, I do not want to look things up. That feels like a distraction to more important things.
- I still haven’t grocery shopped and I am grateful. My awesome husband has been tending to this task and that makes me happy!
- I realized that clear boundaries help me to succeed. All the change and waffling around what to eat and what not to eat triggered eating more processed food. If my boundaries are clear, at least I can decide when to bust them!
- One item I plan to carry on through the whole year is not looking at most of my non-essential email. I don’t even want to go back to it because I am too busy; I am glad I set up filters to make them go away. I can find them, if I truly want them, but mostly I want them gone.
- I found out that I unquestionably miss my coffee dates—with or without people. They provide quality time in my life, whether writing, studying, or visiting with someone I care for. That said, it was very good to take a break. Staying in—meaning at home, other’s home, or my studio—has benefits of its own. I enjoyed providing hospitality to a few guests at my studio in January and they enjoyed the space.
- Other people’s stories about how they have “rested” inspire me. Other people’s participation encouraged me. Other people’s encouragement, strengthened me. I’m grateful to the “other people” in my life.
I don’t know what next year’s Rest will look like, but I most likely will do it again. Being on the computer to write, makes it extremely hard to stay off of social media and other rabbit trails. Maybe I’ll look into a way to set workable boundaries to keep me from wasting time and losing focus. While I miss the freedom to say yes to a pop-up coffee, I appreciate the rest from retail shops.
Titling my blog Uncovered was my admonition to stop hiding, covering up, and cowering. I am tenderly moving into new territory post by post. It is like when I see new paintings developing before my eyes. I have ideas and concepts, but the paintings take on a life of their own and I when I am finished, I see something I hadn’t seen before. Writing is taking me on that journey. As I write, and attempt to articulate my life, I see more clearly than before I began.
Was My January Rest a success? Yes. I paused and rested from lessor things and have greater clarity about where I am heading. Although I admit to being a little weary, I am far more invigorated by my life and the fragile dreams that are being birthed. Linger with me a bit longer and see if you like what you find.
Did you do any form of My January Rest this year? Please let us know what you did and how it went.