Friday, January 1, 2010

Reflecting on 2009

Looking back at 2009, I have to admit that I am glad that I completed my New Years Resolution (NYR). I was devastated in 2006 when I didn't finish my "Watch Every Movie That's Won the Academy Award for Best Picture" NYR on time. So I look back at all the things I made/fixed this past year (many of which are featured in this post to break up all the words!) and I am pleased with this accomplishment. But as the year was drawing to a close, I began to think about the impact this particular goal has had on me...
I have always struggled with materialism. I can remember being 10 years old and standing in the Disney Store thinking how awesome my room would be if my mom would just let me redecorate it and buy EACH AND EVERY DISNEY CHARACTER in stuffed animal form. I can covet like no one's business.
However, because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, I also know that, like Transformers, there is more to life than meets the eye. And the most important things in life are not made of plastic or wood or cashmere or silk. I know that this world is not my eternal home, but it is a continual distraction for me.
In doing 2009's NYR of Design Fixes I have become more and more focused on the material things in my life. Instead of delighting in all the home improvements I've achieved, my list of things to 'fix' has continued to grow and grow. Seriously, I have a list of over 25 things that I could start in on for 2010! Yikes! My home (and improving it's decor) has become an obsession for me. As I said, this has always been the case, but over the past year, it's gotten much worse.
In 2009, there were many nights where we had to choose between Mac n' Cheese, Taco Bell or eating a real meal at 9:30 pm. I just got so absorbed in working on a project that I didn't stop to make dinner. There were many times when I longed for a nanny or for my parents to take my child off my hands because he was such a nuisance while I was trying to sew. And cleaning? My least favorite activity in the world?! There was no way I could possibly get that done while I was focused on making a dress for a design contest!
Yes, it is true that some of my NYRs really did improve our lives... Fix and I have commented again and again on how awesome it was to remodel the laundry room and how much space that freed up in other closets.
And it's true that our living room is much more cozy now that the couch is not suspended between two different styles while I took FOREVER to recover it! But for the most part, my projects have been fueled by my selfish desire to bring praise to myself by having everyone see just how awesomely I can decorate. My focus has been on myself and my projects.
I can honestly say that I have neglected my God-given roles of wife and mother and home manager over the past year. This has been to the detriment of our whole family and it has made any accomplishments I've had feel very unfulfilling to me.
I see specific ways that both my son and my husband have suffered because I have focused on myself instead of them. Lord-willing, in March of 2010 we will add a new baby girl to our family. That would make it three people I would have to shove out of the way in order to have continual "me time." And while I'd love to check a few more projects off my list, I can't imagine continuing to be so neglectful of my family. My priorities have got to change.
So, my New Years Resolution this year will be to devote myself to my God-given roles of wife, mother and home manager. It sounds rather lofty doesn't it? And you are probably wondering how exactly would one start to quantify such a goal? But come on now! You know me! I can't just plunge willy-nilly into a new year without a tangible way to complete my resolution. Thus, I have come up with a specific plan for how to execute this goal and I will outline that in a post tomorrow.
For now you can know that this year, instead of focusing my creativity on my own desires, I plan to focus my creativity on serving others. Yuck. Service just not "me." But as I've thought about it and prayed about it, I know that it is a word that I need to embrace. It is an attribute that God longs for me to display and I long to glorify Him by putting others needs first. So come back and track my progress with me if you are interested! In the meantime, please pray for me and my family. I know this NYR is not going to be the easiest, but again, I'm excited about it and ready for 2010!!!
p.s. Also, if you know me, you know that while I work on my new goal, I will continue with my creative attempts so keep checking back for posts on that too!


Julie said...

Wow. This made me cry. You are SUCH a gifted designer/decorater and I have loved following your New Year's Resolution posts. And now you are willing to do the really hard task of deciding when to scale back. It inspires me to look at my own life (gifts, hobbies) in this light. Thanks for sharing this part of yourself with us too.

Erin said...

This is a great post - your wit made me chuckle, and I am humbled by you honoring your calling to Service. This is no small undertaking, and I really relate to the "yuck" feeling, but doing it anyhow. This is very admirable, go you!

Rachel said...

This was a brave post. I'm really encouraged by your honesty. Thanks for sharing, and I'll pray that you'll be even more Christlike this year.

Myrnie said...

Sending lots of good thoughts! I read this tonight, and you reminded me again of what it said

"And I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Sometimes it seems like all we do is stuff for others. Kids, husbands, houses, yards...they all have so many wants, needs, things that tickle the back of our minds that we should do because they would love it so's good to remember that our time as a mother of children is short, and we are engaged in a very important work! (But a little me time every now and then is good too ;) Good luck and have fun!

Deb said...

I love you Rachel.
Having you at our church, in our body, and especially in my life has been a blessing.
Here's to encouraging each other in the right priorities in 2010!

Nick, Annie, Aiden, Sophie and Clip said...

When you said wordy, I was expecting a 5-pager like the one I wrote the other day.
I didn't think it was long or wordy at all. I enjoyed all of your ponderings and wish you had included even more pics of your NYR's of 2009.
Having seen all that you've accomplished over the past year, I hope that you will be encouraged to press on towards this year's goals and not be pestered by the projects that you think need to be done. And surely you must know that we ALL Have lists of 25 or more that we want/need to do in our house, but in this phase of our life - that list just goes at a MUCH slower pace. And that is ok. You won't always have your darlings at home with you all day, needing your attention.
Someday, we'll be getting together for coffee while all of our kids are grown and gone and talking to each other about the hobbies we are doing and maybe even the free time we have ?!?!?! (could there be such a day?!?!) ;)

Look forward to reading along this year and being encouraged myself to be doing the same things you are striving for!

Nurse Beglin said...

Inspiring! What a wonderful thing to focus on...
Thank you for sharing with us!

ChrisandMissy said...

So well put, Rachel. I read this on the phone a little while ago, and didn't comment because it was inconvenient at the moment, but I've been thinking about it ever since. I admire you for being honest and real. I struggle, too, in materialism and this world is definitely my constant distraction as well. I'm glad you made this change in direction for the blog. I'm still looking forward to all your creative ideas, but I'm also really excited to follow along your journey in serving others. Love ya!

Katie said...

Finally catching up on your blog...

A very worthy goal, Rachel. And one that I continually struggle with too. In contemplating homeshool, I asked a friend with 4 small children what she does when she needs some time to herself and what she said very gently put me in my place. She said her husband is pretty good about letting her go out for some coffee at night but she really has just had to sacrifice the notion of "me time" because her children need her so much right now. Someday they won't as much and we'll have more time to sew, but I'm guessing that when that day comes I'll be wishing I could have someone small in my lap to read to.

I also have a lot of ideas about organizing, meal planning, coupon clipping and such - I'm pretty much a born organizer but I've had to learn what works best for our family. I'd be happy to share with you, but let me know. I don't want to clutter up your comments with stuff you've already thought about or have already figured out.