My older sister asked me a question last summer that I have not been able to get out of my mind.
After observing me deal with a stressful situation in my usual hand-wringing, nail-biting (you get the picture) manner, she asked in an exasperated tone:
“What would you do if you didn’t spend so much of your time worrying?”
This question is helping to shape my intentions and plans for the new year in very real ways.
Because fear is not serving me anymore. There was a time when I needed to live by that “fight or flight” response, but I want to live from a deeper place now.
I am not saying that life does not present legitimate concerns, but I believe it is possible to think about them differently. To stop feeling pressed in by the weight of worry by simply letting go of what is not mine to carry.
I no longer want to be immobilized by the what-ifs, but rather to use any tension as a platform for pro-activity. And then to be able to truly follow the wisdom of the serenity prayer in knowing that when I have done my best, I can rest in the peace that God is at work.
So in preparation for the New Year, I am putting into motion some changes. Some of these goals are ones I am collaborating with my family on, and some are my own internal intentions.
- Building a chicken house and raising a few chickens. (looking at materials for building today!)
- Start a square-foot garden for produce. I took a community education class in this method a couple of years ago and am ready to put the knowledge to work.
- We have already found a CSA in our area that has some space for the spring and have made arrangements to join it.
I know that many of you have been doing these things (and more) for a long while, so they may not seem revolutionary. But for us they are potent ways to turn anxiety about the economy into action, create shared experiences in both our family and community, and have the satisfaction of self-sufficiency.
In terms of my own peace of mind, I have begun a new practice recently which is helping a great deal. To stem the tide of stress, I give myself permission to take 24 hours off from worrying. In that “time off,” I do something creative or spend more time than usual outside. The next day I find that I am much less likely to engage in unproductive anxiety and am generally more free to think of a creative solution to whatever the issue at hand is.
And I am discovering through experience how powerful a thing gratitude is in providing a shelter from negative thinking. It also opens up the heart and mind to see things from a higher vantage point. A more peaceful perspective.
The most crucial element in living life without fear is love. Scripture rightly tell us that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18.
When I am worrying about someone, I try to do something tangible for them by making them something. All the while, I connect with God about the person I am baking or sewing for and it makes a HUGE difference. Truly love is stronger than fear.
Using this space has opened me up in unimaginable ways. Believing in the healing power of the imagination and acting on it daily most definitely raises my sights. I intend to keep my hands, head, and heart(Can you tell I am a 4-H parent?) busy making all kinds of useful and beautiful things this year.
My number one creative goal this year is to learn how to use this wonderful 1940 Singer machine that is currently residing in my bedroom being used as a catch-all table.
So many of you in the blogging community have influenced me for good this year. Thank you, dear friends for the support. For the love and creativity that you radiate each day just by being you and sharing your gifts with the world.
What are your intentions for the upcoming year? I truly love hearing from you.
Peace to you and your families in 2013,