2016 eval, and my word for 2017

Posted: January 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

Last year I accidentally came up with three “r” words for 2016. They were: REST, READING, and RELATIONSHIPS. While many are decrying the massive list of celebrity deaths in 2016 I’ve been looking in the mirror rather solemnly, feeling like I let this year get “wasted,” when it comes to those three goals. 
REST – I started out the year excited to see what God was going to show me on this subject. Normally, I don’t worry about “driving” when God gives me a word. Normally He directs the process and I am stunned at year end when I contemplate the journey He has taken me on. It doesn’t seem to have gone that way this time; I have wondered if either I need the year re-framed, or I failed to see/hear/follow Him on this front.

I don’t feel like I’ve learned a lot about rest this year. I don’t recall deep/great experiences of rest. I’ve been exhausted all year, despite sleeping 10 hour nights from May forward in order to maintain basic functionality.  I’ve struggled with lack of mental focus, dim motivation, and a constant feeling of desperately needing to go to bed.

In the past couple of weeks as I was at last able to do adrenal labs with my chiropractor, I finally started to get some answers about my fatigue. While I always have a little inner voice telling me that I’m just being a whiner baby and need to suck it up, seeing my lab results gave me compassion for myself, and left me feeling like I’ve been pretty darn tough, continuing to get up and do life every day despite the fatigue. I actually cried a little with relief in the hour or so that my doc spent reviewing my lab results and talking me through next steps. This hasn’t been all in my head. It is a real thing. If it can be measured, it can be fixed, I’d think. 

So as 2016 waned, I began to hope that feeling truly “rested” might be in my future. I miss that feeling and am excited about its possible return. Meanwhile – why so late in the year for help on this front? Was I not listening or praying in a focused way? Was I being stubborn or stupid and working against God’s purpose? Did He want me to come up with a strategy or at least study more? I don’t know. It feels like I failed on REST – so I’m very grateful that it seems I am getting a chance to get there anyway.

**EDIT – I wrote this a few days ago. As I am here using voice to text to post it via iPhone (the laptop is down), I must stop to note that as I’ve prayed about this since then, God has shown me that I practiced REST really very well on some other, non-physical fronts this year. I “rested” in Him despite some daunting challenges on several fronts. This was not all failure. I just need to let Him define the words He gives me.**

READING – I had a great plan for reading – a “book club” with a couple of friends, and also a reading plan spelled out in specific, with goals for types of books to read. I started out well with the book club – we read “Girl on a Train” and discussed it over dinner. It was great! Then… Nothing more. I attribute at least part of that problem to my fatigue issue – hard to find time to read or to meet when I’m sleeping 10 hours per night and in a fog the rest of the time. I also didn’t meet the specific reading goal list – I am noting hear that my pastor points out consistently the need to review goals regularly if one wants to reach them. I never went back and reviewed; I was even a little surprised went looking at last January’s blog about this.  I rallied in the past week, reading marathon style through a fiction book I got free on Amazon. Still, it feels like I wasted this particular word for 2016.

RELATIONSHIP – this is the saddest one to fail. I started out strong. I wrote cards to people, made phone calls, started text conversations, made plans for the biggest Seder yet at Easter. But fatigue/health issues ate this one too. I got my first round of poison ivy for the year just in time to kill that Seder plans, when I scratched my rash to the point of a dangerous secondary infection and ended up spending part of that week lying on the couch on doctor’s orders, with my arm elevated and not permitted any “work” or “stress,” monitoring the rash for any progress that might indicate the need for an ER visit (so much for not stressing!)

From there it was a series of things – several more rounds of poison ivy, some sinus infections, and some menopause things that had me down for the count on and off for the remainder of the year. I feel like I’ve fallen out of touch with almost all family and friends.  I don’t even make calls or composed texts when I get home after work – I’ve got less than three hours to do supper, do chores, and get myself to bed by 7 PM. I feel like I have nothing left to give. No margin.
So. What a bust my three “words” for 2016 were! Usually I am jubilant about what God has done regarding my word/words for the year – it’s weird to have “failed” all three. 
Still, the whole year itself was not wasted. 2016 brought its own gifts. One of the biggest was that G and I grew up and bought a home. What a journey that was! We both celebrated our 50th birthdays – me with a tattoo, and G with a surprise party. I also grew at work in a couple of areas that I’d really struggled for years.
So now, it is time to look ahead. It looks to me like my word for 2017 is PRESENT. As I slid off into the morass of fatigue, it has been less and less often true that I am fully PRESENT in my life. I have been less and less intentional about being aware of and engaged with God’s PRESENCE. I am more “somewhere else” then I am “here and now,” most of the time. I have basically checked almost completely out of being PRESENT where my health and fitness are concerned. A large part of how my three words for 2016 came up failures starts with my not being fully PRESENT to them.

In other words, I cannot afford the luxury of numbing out, checking out, running on auto pilot, being oblivious or in denial, rolling myself up in self absorption, or just trying to sleep through difficulties until they magically disappear…not even when I’ve been so tired for so long that I have begun to think it is part of who I am and not just a challenge along the way. 

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