Black-Eyed Peas and Other Resolutions

No. No recipe here for black-eyed peas.

More of a recipe for the new year…

 

I get giddy about January.  I love the thought of a fresh start, goals to strive for, and opportunities that await.

I’ll admit, some years I am discouraged.  Only human, I hope to achieve this or that and end up in a complete opposite space by January 3rd.

This year I was a little bit slow to make my list of resolutions.  I was {and still am (and probably always will be)} a bit unsure of where life is going.  As December slid out of my hands, I was lackluster when I considered the future.

It has always been in these times of waiting and drifting that I learn and grow the most.  But even as unconcerned as I tell myself that I am, because I know something golden will come out of this season of life, the planner and dreamer parts of me are running haywire.

I once heard the perfect analogy for my life.  Coincidentally, this piece of enlightenment came to me in one of my life’s many waiting and drifting periods.

“Be like a duck.” — Staying calm on the surface but paddling frantically underneath.

beaduck

This can mean many things to different people, but it always seems to cycle through my mind when I’m more or less “stuck.” Trying to keep my demeanor in check when really my questioning and anxiety are out of control on the inside.  The duck idea comes up other places in my life too.  I tend to want a lot of projects on my plate at once, making me, again, strive to appear cool and collected when really I bit off more than I could chew.

January 1st knocked on my door, and I still didn’t have any resolutions to hand over. What is wrong with me this year? I wondered.

I sat down on the couch with a notebook, a computer, and a pen and tried to plan.  Tried to dream up some vision or goal or hope or intention for 2017.  I visited some websites with lists of ideas for the new year, you know the kind: “Get Organized in 60 Days” and “A Workout Plan That Won’t Feel Like Work.”  Normally these would be super appealing to me, but instead, I just kept scrolling.

Suddenly, on the screen in front of me I saw it– black-eyed peas.  

Gross.  If I search my mind, I cannot uncover a memory of tasting black-eyed peas ever in my life, but I have..right?  And they’re gross..right?  I mean some people like them, sure, if they have just always grown up eating them.  If you’ve had something since childhood, then yeah, you’d have to just like it.  But otherwise? Gross.

2017 just clicked.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT BLACK-EYED PEAS TASTE LIKE!!  Why don’t I know?  What else of life am I missing?  And why am I not out there?  Doing and trying and tasting and knowing?

The stars are aligning as I write this, so-to-speak.  As 2016 dwindled down, I had been praying for God to make me bolder.  Not only in my faith, but also in life.  And with this black-eyed-pea-epiphany (or, e-pea-phany if you will 😛 ), 2017 has been given direction.

I don’t know what opportunities will arise, but I will take them.

I don’t know what surprises are around the corner, but I will happily greet them.

I don’t know what foods will present themselves in front of me, but I will taste them.

I don’t know what sorrows I will face, but I will accept them.

I don’t know what lessons will be taught, but I will be sure to apply them.

I don’t know where God will lead, but I will follow Him.

I don’t know where life is going, but I will stay calm as I paddle like hell to keep up.

 

 

Transitions

Praying the other night, there was a theme that arose: transition.

I have tried to be diligent the past few weeks, praying through the trials on our family and job changes, and for a few days this week, a friend’s request for prayer about a transition out of a job has popped up, and then rounding out my prayer the other night, I talked to God about the transition into motherhood that my sister is traveling through.  At that point it was clear to me that transitions, or maybe just the future is one of (if not the only, as I thought more about it) prayer requests that springs forth most often.

Season for everything2

The bible states there is a time for everything, and I just want to meditate on that for a second.

Some transitions hit us so abruptly, we get slapped in the face with the reality of ”things work this way now” or ”nothing will ever be as it was”… Some transitions we can almost see on the horizon and we just float, waiting for that wave of change to wash over us. In both scenarios, anxiety is present. No matter how the page turns; quick with the flick of a thumb or slowly wavering over in a breeze of wind, there is still the turmoil of saying goodbye to the last chapter.

Even in transitions of a positive nature where the days ahead seem to be in our favor, the adjustment period between each season of life provides plenty of issues to be worked out.

I presented a question to myself when I was scrambled amidst these thoughts: Which is better: a quick, bandaid-like shock that shoves us into a new phase of life? Or, a longer adjustment period where we can just about foresee what is on the other side of the mountain? Which would I rather go through? Which would amount to the least stress? When I pick one, is there a way to avoid the other?

An answer to my question formed: it doesn’t matter.  All in all, I can’t control any of these things anyway.   So, why not turn my focus elsewhere?  Why not lift my eyes to what is constant?

God will be with me in all seasons, through whatever transition-quick or lengthy. Why not flip my worry into a praise: wherever I am, he has led me, and wherever I’ll go, he will lead me. For all seasons, until the end of time. Amen.

Season for everything

After praying and thinking about transitions that night, I awoke to this verse on my phone that I had saved YEARS ago.  I love its encouragement.

You just have to start.

I never have identified with being a morning person.  Or a night person.  I identify with sleeping as much as possible no matter the hour.

For as long as I remember, though, I have been a night writer.  (Not to be confused with Knight Rider.)

Sleep waits for me, I turn and tumble round and round through the sheets, but words just fly into my forehead and penetrate my brain cells.  Or maybe it is the reverse.  Thoughts zoom from deep inside the closets of my mind and burst through my forehead ready to be unleashed into the world.

With wired nerves, I have been known to scratch out a line (or 20) of poetry in the absolute black of night onto the pad of paper always available to me beside my bed.  In more recent years, I just type out my ramblings in my phone, always available to me beside my bed.  I prefer the pen to paper method, but I find that things are much more legible when I opt for the use of my cellular device.

During these dark, quiet hours, the world seems wide awake.  My mind races with ideas and poetic discoveries I swear would never come to me in broad daylight.  So, I panic to get these epiphanies documented and then I turn my body over, close my eyes once again, and wait for sleep.

Typically, the stream of words doesn’t stop.  Again, I jot down more lines, and again, I roll over intending to sleep.

Being a lover of sleep, I often get frustrated with this process  of late-night-note-taking.

I keep making promises to myself that I will start a blog; get all of these words and thoughts out of me so that I can rest easy.  However, when I sit down to actually write for an intended purpose, nothing seems worthy enough.  All of those strings of consonants and vowels and syllables perfectly aligned vanish.blog1

You just have to start.  

I give myself this advice when I have to tackle a large pile of dishes, laundry, papers, etc., etc., etc.  When I really want to get something done but just have trouble sizing up the beast.  When I am intimidated by the workload; unsure if I can muster the endurance a job will take.

There are a thousand ways this can be said.  For me, ‘just starting’ rings truest.  Who knows what will come or where things will end up, so don’t even worry about that.  Don’t skip ahead here.  There’s no need to be filled to the brim with anxiety when no one can predict the future anyway.  Just start.  Focus on that, and the next foothold will reveal itself.

Tonight, I start.

 

Sign up here for my FREE 5-day “You Just Have To Start” motivational course and workbook!