Breaking the cycle...

If you have followed along this blog journey with me over the yeas then you know that every January I participate in our church's 21 days of fasting and prayer. I attend online at 6am cst and this year KJ has eagerly joined me too. The whole purpose of the 21 days for me is to give my first to God and align the year so I can try to keep my focus on Him and His purpose for me instead of getting caught up in striving to do this life alone. I tried that for many years and failed miserably every time. Yesterday marked my 13th year of dedicating my life to Jesus and although it's not always easy it has made my life so much fuller. It has given me peace.

Last year was full of up's and down's. Our biggest life change was our unexpected move that at the time seemed hectic and last minute, but in the end I can see the Lord's hand throughout. We needed to make a move because KJ was not learning to read and the school district we were zoned for did not have the level of help we knew KJ needed. Our beloved private school did not have the resources to help him overcome and he was left frustrated and behind academically. We had a choice to make and an opportunity came up for us to rent a home from good friends in a school district that is known for helping kids with learning disabilities/difficulties. All that to say KJ is reading!!!! Slowly, but surely he is getting there. Making the change from the home and town we loved to a new town ended up being such a gift and I thank you all who encouraged us with KJ over the past year.

This year I am focusing on finding my place among a new community, find health/physical healing and truly finding that place where I can be happy with just being. Last year was fast paced and so many changes occurred in such a short period of time that I found myself not wanting to live in the present, but just make it through the day. My health went back down and pair it with the latter I was left feeling exhausted daily. I am tired of living for the next thing and am terrified that I may miss out on what is right in front of my face. After much prayer and reflection I can see where I allowed myself to loose me. Oh, and let me state here that outwardly I seemed 100% fine. Only my family and closest friends know how bad I feel physically daily and even then I tried to hide it because who wants to complain all the time. Spiritually I could see God's work throughout the past year so that most definitely contributed to the fact that I did not completely crash and burn. What I do know is that God has given me a purpose of being the best mother I can be, best wife I can be, and the best friend I can be and I feel that I let so many of those areas slip because of the way I feel. This is also where I tried to seek outside solace by getting lost in things like social media and the world wide web.

This is where it gets painstakingly embarrassing. Towards the end of the year I found whole days gone by where the only things I could say that were accomplished was... well nothing. I spent hours seeing what others were doing via social media, my real life friendships {besides a few close friends} all became social media based, I would spend HOURS on the computer hopping from one thing to the next just so I could stay busy all day and I even managed to convince myself I needed it to stay inspired. What, the what??? I used to find inspiration by having coffee with friends more than once a month, sewing, DIYing, being outside, etc. THOSE are the abilities that God had gifted me and I let them go. With all the social media-ing I also found myself comparing myself to others in the blogging/instagraming world without even realizing it. After dedicating my life to the Lord years ago I truly found peace in who I am and in what I looked like.  I started to fear that maybe the blogging companies that I work with and you the readers may find out that in real life I have not much to offer. That am a rather average girl that is extremely introverted and at times leaving the house seems terrifying enough never mind doing actual speaking engagements. I mean there are bloggers who have it more together than me, are way cooler than me, more creative than me, the list can go on and on. If it weren't for the Mr I would have NEVER lead a DIY workshop with Home Depot. So happy I did though because it was so much fun and just what I needed to break a chain of fear that I somehow bought 100% into. Don't get me wrong I am not a big ole' puddle on the ground. My mind would go there and some days it was easier to pray through and overcome than others, but the struggle was real and I am presently trying to break this cycle of fear. Plus I am really good at faking it. Yes, I have it all together, yes, I love speaking front of people, yes, I love grand opening parties, yes, I feel great, yes, yes, yes. Oh, and I was sure to share just enough because well I didn't want anyone to think I was perfect either. I know that am not so I would openly admit parenting can be a struggle, marriage is a process, and my life before I fell in love with Jesus and that was a pile of mess. I was trying to strike a balance outwardly that I could not feel inwardly. It really has to stop.

Now to my 21 days of prayer and steps I am taking. I am fasting {staying away from} social media. It's getting easier, but it is HARD. I want to see what you all are up to and I want to share how I organized the kitchen drawer. Will I do this forever? No I don't think so, but I do need to break the cycle of when my body starts to ache unbearably that I escape in social media world, that when I can't sleep I google for hours what ever need I think I have, to stop waking up and grabbing my phone and for that matter stop being the last thing I put down before I go to bed, to not have full conversations with the kids and then realize I was flipping through instagram at the same time, to not be out and about and stopping every few minutes just to check in. I am missing out on real life and real face to face interactions with people. When I told the kids I was fasting social media they beamed with excitement. When I told them I was setting blogging/computer hours while they were at school they became giddy. I had my wake up call you can say.

Now my eyes are open and I am praying that they stay that way. I am now starting my day with prayer, finally taking the time to have tests done to see what is really wrong with me, challenging myself to do something that scares me every day {like actually publishing this post}, have computer hours only three days a week and in three hour blocks, doing something daily whether it's a DIY, organizing a closet, cooking a new recipe, taking a walk, seeing a friend, read the kids a chapter of a book a night, really anything and everything I have been either putting off or what inspires me that does not have to do with an apple product. My next goal is to end the day with the Mr in an intentional way. Most nights when he gets home I am exhausted, I mean I woke up that way so by night I am useless, and it's hard for me to focus on what he may need or how I can make him feel loved. By then I hope he either is coming home with dinner, will load the dishwasher, and we can watch a show while I look on social media and escape... again. I am sure at this rate we are destined to be more like roommates than life partners. Thankful for our 10 year anniversary trip this past year so I know the spark is still there in every which way. Would I say our marriage is in trouble, no, but I know a year of this and it may become that way. I have a strong desire to love deeply and show it, to have an easy laugh, stop looking ahead and live in the moment, truly just be happy with being. I know God gave me the desire to love others through every battle they may be facing and I can't do that if I don't take that step to just do it. It really is that simple. So this is my new start for a new year. I may delve deeper into different subjects and what God is teaching me along the way and make it a weekly post. Surely I am not the only one who desires to live in the moment and finds themselves coming up short.

*** I used to be against christian books that could be considered self-help. I used to find them being a little too fluffy, not real, or make it seem the fix was sooo easy if I only truly believed a little more. Lately though there is a stream of people that are just like me and struggle the same as I do and I'm not sure if the "me too!" aspect that draws me in, but they get me thinking and I can truly feel the presence of God changing me and guiding me through these books. Right now Lara Casey's book, Making it Happen, is blowing my mind. It's perfect for where I am right now and giving me practical steps on how to break this fear, social media craze, and reorder my life so I can actually live. Lysa's book, The Best Yes, I finished a couple of weeks ago and inadvertently was what pushed me over the edge on actually getting my health or lack of it looked into. I have a tendency to want to please people and I can't please people if I can't say yes to everything, right? In the end she helped me realize that it's okay to say to no, because then that leaves me with time to actually do what God has called me to do. To get the "busy" out of my life so I can actually live on purpose. It will also leave me time to focus on myself and get the tests done to help me get better and that may not be as selfish as I first thought. I don't have to run on empty and once I feel better then maybe I will have the energy to do all the things that I really have the desire to actually do. Shauna Niequist speaks my language. Every book of hers is brilliant and stirs my soul. Bread and Wine is the book that first had me at hello. She gets me thinking deeper, crying harder, and leaves me with hope. She shares God's love in truth and that touches me like no other. Freefall to Fly Rebekah Lyons was actually gifted to me by Trina. She sent it to me when it first came out and I have read it many times since. Rebekah lays it all out there for all to read and I know it could not have been easy, but the greatest part is that with her sharing her heart she ultimately touched mine. I LOVE seeing God's hand in people's lives and you could see it in hers and when it gets hard I know too that He is in mine working for the better. Plus her honesty helped me feel like I am less crazy because she said "me too". None of these books I would put in the feel good category, but in the end I am better for it. God spoke through them in mighty ways and every one of these ladies put God at the center of their writing and in the end that's all I want. God to be in center of it all.

**** GIVEAWAY COMING UP NEXT WEEK that hopefully stirs your soul to live deeper with God and live your life on purpose as it has done mine.