2018 will be a year I look back on as a major year of personal and spiritual development.
Here are some of my reflections on this past year as it comes to a close.
…This was the year I turned 30 and decided I was sick of feeling out of control of my physical health. I decided I could and would take the reigns of my health and make changes for the better. (Still have huge goals in this area for 2019, but I also want to celebrate the wins of 2018.)
…This was the year I lost about 30 lbs of excess weight. I still want to lose more weight and eventually figure out maintenance, but for the first time in a long time the scale is lower at the end of year than it was at the start.
…This was the year I achieved non-scale victories (NSVs) that might sound small to some, but I wrote them down back in February and they were accomplished! I was able to climb our stairs without feeling out of breath. I was able to fit better in my winter jacket. I ran a 10K back in April. I have been more consistent with my exercise this year than any year since I stopped doing organized sports. Yay for NSVs!
…This was the year that I started caring about what goes IN and ON my body. I realized the dangerous chemicals that I was coating my body with each day (makeup, lotion, shampoo, etc.) I started paying attention to all the chemicals and junk I was consuming in Diet Coke and in processed foods. I began to notice the headaches I would get from cleaning products and from sugary drinks.
…This was the year I began to eliminate the toxic, endocrine disrupting products in our home. I took my place, alongside Nick (who is on board with all these changes!), as the gatekeeper of our home. I stopped buying products that are known to be carcinogenic and containing neurotoxins. We started using clean, non-toxic products on our bodies and in our home and buying clean, pesticide free food as much as we can.
…This was the year I realized I had a bit more control over our physical health than I’ve been led to believe. It was the year I discovered alternative, natural ways to beautifully support my mental and emotional health. It was also the year we dug in, did lots of research, switched doctors and found natural ways to support our kids’ health, sleep and emotions (while still fully appreciating and respecting western medicine).
…This was the year I finally started to care more about our planet. I finally woke up a bit (still have a loooong way to go here) to how important it is to conserve our planet. I started doing things like using metal straws, (sometimes) using reusable paper towels and grabbing reusable wax wrap for the first time ever.
…This was the year we sought after God’s heart and listened and obeyed. God told us to do foster care after months and months of earnest prayer and seeking (we actually have discussed and prayed off and on about adoption for years).
…This is the year that, when our hearts were soft and ready, God made His calling to the ministry of foster care as clear as a massive blinking neon sign. We continue to step forward into this calling into this calling although it has not been easy…and we are not even licensed yet. We have wanted to call it quits–even been encouraged to call it quits by some–but we are still here. We are continuing to obey and trust in this plan God has laid out for us. And this was the year we experienced the movement of the people of God. When we hit the unforeseen (financial) roadblock of needing to get an egress window in our basement, people wrote checks and sent us money. Some of these people were friends and family…others were strangers. All were being used by God in such a huge way and we are so very grateful.
…This was the year I began to take more ownership over my emotions. Mental illness is 100% real and I have suffered with major depression and anxiety at different times since I was in college. However, I discovered I often used my diagnosis as a crutch, in a sense. I allowed the powerful emotions I experience to take over like I was a victim to them.
…This was the year I finally began to work through the waves of my dark and anxious moments in a much more constructive way. I previously benefited from counseling and used to take an antidepressant. I now get help through Young Living essential oils for hormonal and emotional support. There is no right or wrong way to work through mental health struggles (and I refuse to lean into any stigma around this). Just do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. Can I hear an amen?
This year was big.
Not like other “big” years in the past decade that held moving to a new state or having a new baby. Nope. This year was big because of a thousand tiny baby steps that have amounted to actual growth and new direction in my life. I have so many jumbled thoughts about all that this year has held. I’ve wanted to share more about this journey, but sometimes I find it hard to talk about in a way to doesn’t sound like I’m just footing my own horn OR like I think that perfection is the end goal.
So let me just acknowledge that Jesus is my sustainer and, like a potter, I am the “clay” that He molds and shapes by his grace. I also acknowledge that while it’s great to work on growth and self-improvement, I believe nothing is perfect this side of heaven.
I have a lot more to work on in 2019 (and every year until Jesus calls me home). I look forward to continuing to share my imperfect, fumbling journey with you.
PS I hope by sharing this it may encourage someone reading this to make some small baby steps in their own life. If working on your relationship to food if of interest to you, I am going to be doing the Whole30 program in January and you’re welcome to join me! Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to join our (free) January Whole30 accountability group.