Thursday, February 16, 2017

Letting Go at 35

I have been forewarned by several people in my life that 35 is a rough birthday. I guess that's the good thing about being the youngest in your group of friends - these wise souls have gone before me and can tell me what to expect when I get there. I say that with a smile on my face because I love being the youngest. I love looking forward with them and being challenged with how they are living out their lives. I love being the youngest.

But this youngest friend is turning one year older in a few months (exactly two) and I've been doing a slight bit of reflecting on life. The things that I love, the things that I want to change. Mostly, I have no regrets - I don't really look back and think "I wish I had done ___" but I do do a whole lot of dreaming about the future. I might not have regrets, but I do want to make some changes - and if there's any time to make adjustments - it's a milestone birthday.

So here we go.

5 Thinks that I want to let go of at 35.

1. My 25 year old, pre-kids body image.

It’s not even about weight, y’all. It’s NOT. (wink face, hand on my hips). It’s about this image I have in my mind of what I looked like when I was 25. How unreasonable is it for me to think I should still look like that! Of course I look different now! Who wouldn’t look different with 10,000 more miles and 3 kids and 10 more years of marriage under their belt? (The secret answer here is someone who has had major plastic surgery and botox, but that's neither here nor there for the time being).

I want to let go of that image. I want to stop trying to “get back there” and instead journey forward to wellness, whatever that might look like on my 35 year old body.

2. Fear of Offending Others.

I’ve only recently realized that my fear of offending others has held me back from many friendships over the years. In an effort to not put myself out there, I generally say nothing at all which then makes me seem like someone I’m not. I want to thoughtfully mean what I say and say what I mean. I want to love others well - this includes the people who are hard to love.

By letting go of this fear, I can diversify my friendships, my Christian walk and my parenting style. This is by no means an effort to say whatever is on my mind without thinking about others' feelings. This is all to say that I don't want to supress the Holy Spirit anymore. I want Him to fill my mouth, my heart and my actions and remove all fear.

3. Striving for Perfection in our Marriage

For too long, I have tried for "the perfect marriage" instead of the best marriage I can have. I am letting go of the idea of perfect because our marriage, with the mess and the love, the fullness, the disagreements, the makeups, the imperfect child-rearing and the falling asleep in the first 15 minutes of a movie that drives me nuts…. that kind of marriage stretches me, y'all. It makes me better. It spurs me on not only in my walk with the Lord but also in my walk toward my husband. It endears him to me and me to him.

It is not my goal in life to be comfortable. I don't want an easy life (on most days). I want a life that points me to the Father and I am so grateful I get to walk with Jeff on that path. Gosh, I am humbled thinkng of how God ordained our marriage. How dare I think that it's not enough?

I will strive to be consistently content with the state of marriage. The easy and hard times. The pretty and the ugly. I will serve Jeff more and let go of selfishness.

4. “My” Time

At some point after having kids, I started to refer to certain hours of the day as “my time”. I know that any momma out there knows exactly what I'm talking about.  We all need it - especially those of us who are introverts, but over the years I have begun to get irritated when My Time is interrupted. I’ve so fiercely guarded this that when the kids come down stairs too early the first thing they hear is me hollering “it’s not time!” I hate that, y'all!!

I will let go of it being “my” time and realize it’s all HIS time. That does NOT mean that I will give up getting up early and setting aside time for myself to write, pray, think and paint. It just means that if (and when) it gets interrupted or needs to take a back seat for my kids, for a sick neighbor or a household chore to get done, I don’t want it to make or break my whole day.

5. Keeping Houseplants Alive

It’s gut-check time, y’all, and this is an area that has frustrated me for 15 years! I have grown a relatively green thumb when it comes to plants outside, but when it comes to the plants I have inside, y’all, I just kill them. There is the rare exception (the plant that has miraculously stayed alive for over a year) but for the most part, they just die a sad and slow death.

The thing is that IKEA has really cheap house plants. And so do Home Depot and Lowe’s. So instead of forsaking all things green and alive in my house, and instead of getting worked up and frustrated when things look sickly and die, I’m just going to set aside some time and money to be able to replace them when they die. It may seem like a terrible waste of money, but it is proven to make the air in your house cleaner. Or something like that. And it helps in the winter time with a mood boost.

As I grow older (and wiser), I want to be able to make adjustments in my life for the better. I want to easily let go of things that aren’t working and welcome new ideas that add to our quality of life. God is so gracious to grant me another year on this precious earth to live for His glory, so why would I want to live anything short of all out?!

Do you have anything you want to let go of this year? Anything new that you are adding into your routine? I would love to hear about it! It might be just the thing I need!

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