If you had asked me yesterday how I did this year with JOY, I would have told you it was a miserable failure. But today during my run, I had time to reflect. I haven't had time to do a longer run (an hour or more) in almost a month so that cuts into the time I have to really ponder things. It's funny how that works: when you need the quiet reflection time the most is usually when you don't have the time to fit it in. Gotta work on that!
During my run I started thinking about JOY and how I handled the many, many changes that came about in 2014. Did I handle ALL of it to the best of my abilities? Probably not. But considering the sheer volume of changes that I had to tackle this year, did I do pretty well? I think so! I posted at the start of the year that I didn't need to walk around with a goofy grin on my face all the time to be successful at experiencing joy. And I talked about how I wanted my children to remember me differently. I think one of the most important things I started doing with my children this year is to talk out loud about my feelings and my anxiety and let them know that I am working on it and trying my hardest to change how I approach things. I want them to know that they have a choice when they are younger to learn how to recognize these feelings and work towards changing them. They can learn now how to trust God more and handle the trials that happen to everyone in this life with more grace and joy than I have in recent years. It's not easy. I don't think it's supposed to be. I want them to know that. And I want them to feel comfortable coming to me any time they have feelings that seem overwhelming so we can talk about it and work through it.
This year has been hard. I really don't know of anyone who would say any different. But I don't remember having any long periods of despair like I have in previous years. That's growth, and that's really all you can hope for in any given year. To be a different person (hopefully for the better!) at the end of the year than you were at the beginning.
As of yesterday, I was planning on JOY being my WOTY for 2015 again. But after pondering all of these things, a new word came into my head to use for 2015. It's COURAGE. The majority of my worries and stress come out of fear. I do not think I'm alone in this problem - read your Bible enough times and you'll see many people making mistakes as a result of fear. Angels constantly tell people not to be afraid. God told Joshua to have good courage. Jesus commands us not to worry. It seems to be human nature to worry over things which we cannot control. It stands to reason that - just like with JOY - we need to make a conscious decision to have COURAGE.
Funny thing that happened as I was writing this post - when I pulled up last year's post I discovered that I have already used COURAGE as a WOTY. In fact, it came the year after I last used JOY. Now, you know I do not believe in coincidence.
The last few months have found me growing increasingly fearful. Austin is graduating from our homeschool this spring. He is still working at his grocery store 3rd shift job, but he has had a difficult time with his boss. I worry (FEAR) that what I have done with him is not enough and he will not be able to support himself and be an independent adult. Riley and I are hoping that she will be able to take Dual Enrollment classes at the local college this coming fall. She is taking the SAT again in January and I am working on her transcript. I worry (FEAR) that the colleges won't look with favor on the non-traditional education I have given her at home. Reece has had a difficult fall and seems to be regressing in quite a few areas, most notably resilience. I worry (FEAR) that she is losing ground developmentally that cannot be recovered. And I worry (FEAR) that she is not getting enough time with me this year as I have been focused on the above-mentioned areas plus the craziness that is Riley's schedule with her new dance company.
It seems to me like I need to spend 2015 practicing COURAGE. What do you think?
Here is the verse that I think sums up my focus for this year, from the book of Psalms:
I will close this post by thanking any of you who are still reading my blog. I really hope to post more in 2015! I can see by my post count by years that I dramatically slowed my posting when I joined Facebook. I think that's pretty common. But this is more than a blog - this is a journal for recording my journey with autism, epilepsy, homeschooling, and life as a mom in general. I enjoy being able to go back to 2005 and read some of the thoughts I shared when Reece was first diagnosed (BTW, can you believe that will be 10 years come September?!?). Talk about fear, huh? LOL If I don't write this stuff out, how will I be able to read it 10 years from now and reflect on how silly I was to be so afraid?! ;)"3 But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
4 I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56 - NLT)"
I hope you all have a fantastic New Year's Eve - if you are out and about, please be safe! If you are staying in like me, don't forget to watch the live streaming of Magic Kingdom fireworks starting at 11:40 PM EST tonight! Click this link for more details: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/12/watch-new-years-eve-fireworks-live-at-magic-kingdom-park/?CMP=SOC-FBPAGE20141230173506