a year in preview

It’s almost 23:00 and I definitely should not be typing away in bed. Tomorrow is my second week at work (yes! my first “proper” job) and my alarm is set for 6:00, but merci divine inspiration so moving me to jot down quelques mots.

First a poem, because when you discover one you like, you just have to note it down:

Our lives are
overcrowded,
over-excited,
over-strained.
We all want quiet.
We all want beauty.
We all need space.
Unless we have it
we cannot reach
that sense of quiet
in which whispers
of better things
come to us gently.

-Octavia Hill

And onto the main event…

I struggle with goal-setting but I do feel like this year there are things I would like to achieve. But instead of setting wild, ambitious goals that, let’s be honest, are likely to be given up on, I intend to set some realistic habits that I can slowly adopt and learn how to make them a constant in the routine of my every day.

  1. Practising thanks, I suppose you could call it gratitude, is one I desire to attempt with some vigour. Often I find myself feeling like I have been ungrateful or seemed ungrateful when this isn’t the actual case. I am blessed, as I like to see it as a positive, to feel deeply – maybe its a gift. It can also be a burden though as too much self-reflection can lead me to rather low states of mood. That is why I tend to write, in particular type, out my thoughts because it allows me to express and comprehend mes sentiments without having them analysed over and over. And weirdly, pressing that publish button knowing that others may read my words almost validates my feelings but for me it is positively, because I know that I am absolutely not the only person in the world to feel such a way. I want to resonate with others but I want to project the truth and my realities in order to help others feel seen and heard.
  2. Another aspect I want to work at is being real. The word “authentic” irks me but I suppose authenticity really is the crux of what I intend to convey. Not allowing fear to cloud judgement is really important, and I want to continue battling to have control over my thoughts. Now that I am back on a more even keel, I feel comfortable allowing myself to just be, rather than forcing any attempt to project my inward self on my outward self. I want to be authentically natural, intrinsically content with myself. But I want it to be easy, not forced. I am very aware of myself and my thoughts, but I want more fluidity this 2020. No more heightened, deepened introspection.
  3. I want to be more virtuous. Not necessarily to achieve some twisted kind of moral excellence. I don’t view myself as above others. I just want to practise goodness and learn to resist temptations. My dad and I were discussing something topical the other day, the news that heterosexual civil partnerships are now possible, and in no way a criticism of any couple but he said “remember we are not like them”. What he meant by this was not that they are wrong and we are right, but that the differences between believers (in this case Christians) and others are simply different. And that how we live isn’t how we live. The social codes, the expectations however large or small, the temptations are different. While we all live in the same world, our focus is on different things and that shows. But we can all be good, practice virtue and be kind to one another.
  4. Never again to make myself feel like I am a disappointment. This ruined me. No, this nearly ruined me. I am still here and have overcome that pain. I didn’t beat me. But honestly, it was perhaps the worst I have ever felt. When you know what you could have done better, or differently, it is soul-destroying if you dwell. Hindsight is not reality, and it lies. You are not who you say you are, you are what He says you are. Even if you don’t feel it at times, you don’t feel like you’re worth more than rubies, the true facts are that you are. It’s understandable to let others’ words get to you especially if they seek to destroy your worth but find that strength in your truth. Speak good words over yourself and to yourself. Doing something like that is not big-headed and as long as you retain your humility and protect your meekness, you will guard your strength and be free to do love. Love does.

Amongst these are other more active goals, like continuing to take better care of my body inside and out. I also want to try to do yoga, and meditation but I know these are going to require likely more patience than I possess.

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If you decide to set any goal for this year, why not try giving to give, not for any reward. Practice thinking less about the reward, don’t slip into allowing yourself to be motivated by any end benefit to you. Instead, enjoy the smiles you receive, the thank yous, and the cups of tea. Giving your time usually softens others, and will ease you into spending time with others just simply to make their day. It is also good for the soul to build relationships with others. 

I wish to leave you with this that I’ve copied out of my church’s news sheet. It’s an Old Testament bible reading. I am trying to teach myself more about what Jesus did, and who God is. And even what I am to God, and what should be occupying both my time and my mind. So for Isaiah 42:1-9…

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break,, an a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

We are provided of this warning, almost a premonition. We need to prepare for these new times, always ready for God’s instruction. But we must remember that God has already prepared the way, it is our hearts we need to prepare. We must rise to the challenge, face the opposition and love. Love all.

I attended a different church today, in fact where I used to worship for a while, Kings Church. But at my church in my village, Peter Reiss our team rector focused on Mission Action Planning. My dad went and heard his message, tonight handing me the leaflet with the three aims of mission. They are helpful reminders and poignant at this time of year which is so common for reflection and planning.

Facing up: Worship – that our worship is the best we can offer, with a depth, breadth and joy within it that attracts and feeds the soul.

Facing outwards: Mission – that we are always focused outwards, our doors open wider, particularly to welcome the younger, and those not yet part of God’s family – concerned for, involved with and rooted in our wider communities.

Looking within: Growing in faith and spirit – encouraging all church members young and older to grow in their faith, in understanding, prayer, commitment and calling. Without an inner spirituality, we will lack strength and love. 

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I will be adding the above to my goals for the year, these are the directions I wish to move in. It will be a year of happiness and joy will reign, of that I am certain.

Stay true to yourselves this year.

 

Love,

Anna

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