Enjoying and Rejoicing
"This year, I will seek to enjoy God and to rejoice in all things. I want the root of both, joy, to overflow in our lives through our gratitude, our thanks, and our praise. I want our joy - our light! - to bring glory to God. I want to tell of the good He has done in our lives! I want to delight in Him and be content in every circumstance, ever praising Him and singing of His Glory. I want to enjoy and rejoice."
Some days I am so good at this. Other days, I lose my focus and slip instead into a distracted, reactionary, negative frame of mind.
To my surprise, I have discovered that my greatest joy-sapper is my computer. As it eats away at my time, it takes with it my presence, my awareness, and my productivity. A few minutes here and there seems like no big deal at the time, but then I reach the end of the day and find little joy has come of it. Oh, it has its benefits! The community, support, and encouragement I find online is invaluable. I would not be the parent I am if not for the people and information here. But it would be an unconscionable irony to allow that same positive research to detract from my presence with my children.
In line with this theme, one of my more recently-developed habits has been purposefully offering thanks for each new day. Most mornings find me wanting to stay under the covers and put off beginning the day for as long as possible. I'm a night owl; I've never been a morning person. Intentionally stopping that line of thinking and replacing it with a prayer of thanks for the morning has given me a far more positive perspective and attitude when it comes time to get out of bed. Gratitude that embraces the moment, seeking beauty and contentment in what is, truly does lead to the deepest joy.
"A challenge for my distractable and disorganized self, I will work this year towards building an intentional rhythm into our lives. I want to mark the rhythm of our days, our weeks, our seasons, our years. I want the comfort and security of routines for my preschooler. I want to strengthen my marriage with time set aside just for us. I want more (computer-)screen-free time that we can all count on and benefit from. I want to continue our journey towards intentional living, ensuring that the things we value are not forgotten as our time idly slips away from us. I want an ever-evolving framework our family can grow up in. I want rhythm."
I thought I was getting nowhere with this one. And then I discovered that, little by little, routine was slipping into our lives. One habit at a time.
Again, my biggest detractor from a good routine? The computer. "I'll just finish reading this one thing..." When I intentionally limit my online time, our days pass smoothly. When I allow myself a lazy day and spend too much of it idly clicking through page after page, I find myself irritable and reluctant to get on with what needs to be done. Self-discipline in this area is imperative, and I am glad for the awareness that being too lax in this area detracts from not one, but both of this year's themes.
Nonetheless, routine is slipping into our lives, a comfortable expectation of what will be done when and followed by what. Beyond the comfort and security of daily routines, we are forming more and more family traditions to help celebrate the seasons, holidays, and special family events. Sometimes I find myself discouraged - "we don't have enough family traditions!" - and then I remember that our family is still so young. Of course we don't have a lot of traditions. Every tradition, though, begins with a "first annual". Our traditions and unique ways of celebrating will grow and evolve along with our family. I want to create a haven of memories for my children and a storehouse of family traditions from which they can draw if they so choose.
I feel content with this progress and eager to discover what the rest of the year will bring. Reflecting has given me pause to consider how I can best further these themes over the next few months. It is helpful, too, to realize where my biggest hindrances lie so that I can be particularly intentional in those areas.
Enjoy and rejoice. Build routine.