Each year I am sad to see January go. My soul craves a more restful life than the one I lead. Each year, My January Rest helps me move a little closer to my desired pace of life. While there is much that we truly cannot control, there are micro-matters that we can. We can control how often we pick up the phone or how much junk (food, mail, and marketing) we consume. We waste time on meaningless things when reading something nourishing would be better.
I’m sad to see the end of January, because in a very real way, I feel like I have to get on with my real life. My “vacation” is over. If only MJR was truly a month-long vacation! But, I do feel more rested afterwards and I feel more peaceful and balanced. And, I feel grateful.
After caring for my dear dad last year, I was done. There wasn’t enough of me to handle all the intense decisions surrounding his complex health issues and escalating debt yet dwindling resources. My heart broke, yet I sighed a breath of relief when he agreed to go on hospice. His death followed, and his funeral: I was done! Another sigh of relief. After things ended well for my dad, I thought things were going to be better! Then I broke my wrist on the night of his funeral. I felt dead on the inside. Injured and discouraged, I had no energy to create, only enough to get by and do the minimum. Some time has passed and I have more energy and the desire to create and communicate. And I am creating and communicating! And I am celebrating! With the multiple levels of hard over this past year, celebrating life is more important than ever. The composition of this year’s MJR has been a part of my rejuvenation!
Like every child had a personality and every painting I create, so does each MJR. Each one is similar, but different. This month vacillated between big things, like major surgery in the big city of Chicago for my girl, and little things like being a homebound nursemaid for weeks. We vacillated between eating at home to use things up, to eating out in the big city when we traveled for follow-up visits. I vacillated between wanting physical rest, but staying up late to watch TV and care for my girl.
I vacillated between eating grain or no grain. I veered clear much of the time, but also ate what we had. I vacillated with sugar too. The reason I generally avoid sugar year round is to feel better and preserve my health. The specific reason I avoid sugar most Januarys is to reset my appetite, so that I can appreciate what I have, instead of wanting something else. Or more of something!
This MJR at home, I abstained from sugar, but several times when we were out, I celebrated with dessert. In all honesty, before last year’s MJR, I didn’t give myself permission to eat sugar. Even artificial-sweetened items were a no-no. Most days I choose life by choosing good foods and minimizing sugar. Upon reflection, this MJR, the times I’ve eaten sugar have been special occasions, like our big night before the big surgery, a friend’s birthday, and a friend’s kindness in taking me out. I could have abstained, but chose to celebrate. (I acknowledge that you can—and I do—celebrate without sugar or food. Abusing food can be an issue for most of us at times.)
While saving money in January is a byproduct of staying home, avoiding shopping, eating what we have, etc., we spent a lot of money going to Chicago for the surgery: the deductible, the copays, and the uncovered medical equipment, as in plural! We vacillated between saving a little and spending a lot!
MJR is wonderful for connecting with some of the most important people in my life. This year, I connected less with most of them, including my husband, because I was with my girl. For better or worse, my girl hit the jackpot with my time. She didn’t seem to mind. The first two weeks after surgery were super busy for both of us. It seemed we were vacillating between moving her leg machine (CPM) and resting and icing her leg. Or following the other many hours of protocol. I enjoyed being close. We watched a lot of TV together. As much as it could be, it was pleasing quality time.
As far as My Rest went, this simplified my time. Most of my time was devoted to her, at home. This also cut through the business of my normal life. In some ways, it was downtime.
We made a big dent in the food stock and overstock (of certain items). While I haven’t yet donated items I cannot eat, I have places in mind. This is a good example of what I planned and what happened. I spent my time serving and relationally, not tasking. There is time to clear the pantry of donatable items. Even though I didn’t clear the donations, still there’s bare places in the pantry despite my husband going the store to restock canned goods.
I’ve enjoyed our family times. Having the girl homebound for a couple of weeks was nice. The trips to Chicago, an overnight in the hotel, and family meals out warmed my momma’s heart. I am aware that the days are numbered, before she moves out for college. Some days, I already grieve the next level of separation. The surgery, although we would have never chosen it, has had its upside. And, I’ve capitalized on the opportunity of family time!
When I shared that my soul cries out for rest, I was being vulnerable. I am still weary, but I am getting better. MJR restored my morning time of devotion. Since my girl wasn’t going anywhere and I wasn’t going anywhere, and I had two great new devotionals, I was all set. Being that my teenager is a normal teenager, she slept in, and I had time before she was awake with post-op needs, to have a quiet time. Once again, I plan my mornings to begin with God. And, it has been good.
God’s been talking to me about making room, and humility and relinquishment, which I hope to write more about, but not today. Today is full. Tomorrow is my surgery to take out the plate and five screws in my wrist in hopes that it will relieve some of the pain and problems they are causing.
This January, more than any other, vacillated between what I planned for MJR and its opposite. God’s provided encouragement, healing, and answers. There’s more healing needed. There are more answers I seek. Yet, I relinquish my right to know. And always, I seek His encouragement each day I breathe.
Yes, January had many vacillating parts that reminded me of two famous sisters in the bible, Mary and Martha. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, while Martha prepared for her guests. Mary sat. Martha served. Both are necessary, but it is a matter of the heart that lines us up with God’s heart. I had time at Jesus’ feet. I served at Jesus’ feet. I am sitting at Jesus’ feet, getting what I need for each new day and each new challenge.
Don’t get me wrong. My life experiences will vacillate—up and down, high and low. Most of the time I’ll react. I take comfort in knowing that Job tore his clothes before he worshipped. He reacted. David prayed and fasted and pleaded. Then, he got up and washed and went forth. God doesn’t expect emotionless, compliant saints. He knows better. He made us. He made me. I’ll react to the good, the bad, and the awful. Then, I’ll quiet myself, sit at His feet, get perspective, then get up to serve again.
And next January, I’ll most likely participate in The Rest.
The Rest helped me gain the focus I needed to serve my family, and seek God. While January ended well, My Rest hasn’t ended. I’ve retired some of the points on The List, still, I continue to seek rest. Thanks for joining me in this year’s My January Rest. If you had a Rest of your own, please share!