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Appreciation, Brain Skills, capacity, Children, Jen Coursey, joyful, margin, relational skills, rest, restore

As 2018 came to a close last week, I spent some time reflecting on this past year and praying about the coming year. For those of you following my blog this last year, you know we have had a crazy year that has pushed me beyond capacity. Years of practicing the relational skills, together with God’s faithfulness to our family through the year are the reason I finished the year with my sanity intact!

Many of the things that made this year crazy were beyond my control or ability to plan for, and unexpected things beyond my control are sure to show up in this new year as well!

As we go into the New Year, I have been asking God how to find a more sustainable pace with a rhythm to our days, weeks and months. There are many habits I would like to re-start in 2019, and some new rhythms I plan to build into our schedule, but most importantly, I want to know what God wants me to focus on this year.

I sat down with my journal and a steaming cup of tea to take advantage of a few peaceful moments while the boys were playing contentedly to seek Jesus’ perspective. As always when I am seeking God’s direction, peace, wisdom, comfort or presence, I started with several minutes of appreciation. I reflected on joyful times together with the boys and Chris over the school break and God’s faithfulness over the last year. As reflected, I felt peaceful warmth spread throughout my body and a smile turning up the corners of my mouth.

After my appreciation and reflection, I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know about this new year. “Capacity” and “margin” were two words that jumped into my head. I asked Jesus “How do I plan within our capacity for the year, and how do I build in margin for when the unexpected happens?”

The question, “What feels restorative to you?” floated through my head. I made a list:

  • Time with friends
  • Joyful moments with the boys
  • Quality time with Chris
  • My God times
  • Laughter
  • Satisfaction of a completed project
  • Rest
  • Having a plan and conquering dinner
  • Sleep
  • Walks/exercise
  • Reflecting on appreciation moments

Next, I was reminded of the ideal calendar I have been working on for my week.* I felt His prompting to look at my whole day, including my evenings, and make sure to include a few things that restore me each day.

I especially felt my attention drawn to my evenings. Usually, by the time we get the boys to bed, I am frazzled and want to “veg” in front of the TV. At the end of my TV time, I usually don’t feel restored, just tired enough to go to bed. While there is nothing wrong with “chilling out” in front of the TV, it is not restoring me. I felt challenged to cut back on how many evenings I spend “vegging” and use some of that time for chatting with friends, connecting with God, talking with Chris (as his time and relational circuits allow), meal planning, or preparing for the following day.

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful to have a clean slate to start 2019 and the opportunity to build a rhythm that respects the capacity of my family and myself and leaves time for restoration, rest, and appreciation. To make room for margin, I will have to say “no.” I will have to skip things that would be fun but don’t fit into our calendar. I will need to leave blocks of time flexible to accommodate the unexpected things that crop up.

How do you want to feel as you reflect on your year at the end of 2019? What do you need to do now to plan accordingly? I would encourage you to take your journal, pull up a cozy chair and sip on your favorite beverage as you interact with Jesus about what He has for your year!

*An ideal calendar shows all the blocks of time in a week and what I “ideally” plan to do weekly in those times, including rest, family time, etc. The idea was introduced to me by Dawn Whitestone of White Stone Professionals.
Posted in Leadership

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  1. Dawn Whitestone

    One of these days I’m going to learn to proofread before I post something. That was supposed to say “great” article. 😉

  2. Kathy

    This is a beautiful start to a new year! I’m going to print this so I can read it and meditate with my Lord and do the same! Thank you so much!

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