Goodbye 2020! Are you ready for a new mindset, outlook and sense of wonder— Start Strong, Successful and Confident by Transforming Your Life!
It was November 2018.
My will no longer had the power to push through the pain and lies I’d unknowingly clung to since childhood.
I could no longer—
Fake it, because I wasn’t making it.
Keep moving forward when everything in me screamed, “Stop!”
Ignore the effects my past was having on my present.
Carey Nieuwhof, in his bestselling, must-read book, Didn’t See it Coming, calls this burnout.
January 2018, I was honored to help my most beloved brother through cancer. Immediately following his last radiation treatment, my Mom was re-diagnosed with breast cancer. The long corridors of MD Anderson began feeling strangely like home.
Despite my immense gratitude for walking alongside them during their difficult seasons, I shortly afterward sank into the deepest, darkest period of my life.
My newly found counselor, along with prolific reading, helped me understand I was experiencing the ongoing issues of unresolved childhood trauma*.
My mind, body and soul were shutting down after a difficult year butting up against a lifetime of powering through the pain.
The trauma my brother and I experienced was not physical, rather being the result of family issues culminating in a series of separations and divorces spanning childhood through our young adult lives.
But through two years of counseling, I am transforming thanks to God’s truth breaking through the debilitating lies I believed all my life.
I will not glorify the process. The work was arduous and agonizing, but it was absolutely necessary to the freedom I now experience (2 Cor.5:17).
The changes have been profound—equipping and empowering me to live a more wholehearted, joyful yet imperfectly messy life.
So as we step into the New Year, desiring to leave 2020 far behind, I want to share some of the rhythms and systems I learned now sustaining me through continued challenges.
Step 1- Prioritize What Matters
Over these past two years, my counselor has given me regular homework. Much of the homework has become a permanent fixture in my daily rhythms. I developed two categories—each bullet point linked to short, easy-to-read articles regarding the why:
- Time with the Lord in the morning
- A few minutes with my planner to start the day well
- In the morning, writing 3 things I look forward to, and in the evening, 3 things I’m grateful for
- Multiple short walks outdoors
- Exercise weekly
- Time with my husband and children without devices
- Limited social media without notifications
- Time to cultivate my passions and God-given purposes
- Time with friends
The Hopeful Habits
- A good night’s sleep
- Quarterly reflection and journaling
- A bi-monthly day getaway to recharge, refocus, reset in God’s Creation
- Limiting “numbing out” when stressed, my go-to “21st-century novocaine” being movies
- Being committed to curiosity through lifelong learning, including reading one book a month
These are rhythms and systems I have put in place to help me avoid spiraling back into the pit. My list won’t fit your life, they don’t all happen daily, and there must be abundant grace because I rarely get it all right.
Next week, we’ll look at Step 2—the practical how-tos of developing the rhythms and habits YOU most need to find God’s peace, purpose and joy. I have found some great tools I’m excited to share with you.
A good tool improves the way you work. A great tool improves the way you think. Jeff Duntemann
Take some time this week to pray about and create your own list of Non-Negotiables and Hopeful Habits. Start small, and then join me next week as we continue our journey into transforming 2021!
May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. Psalms 20:4
*”The National Institute of Mental Health defines childhood trauma as: ‘The experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.’”