Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

My Word for 2016: Rejoice

I’ve never been a big fan of making New Year’s resolutions. While I do like setting goals for myself, for some reason the idea of creating a resolution of something I will or will not do in a year (I have failed to quit biting my fingernails for decades!) seems to be different. I like setting goals that are attainable and that still challenge me at the same time.

This year, I have seen floating around on social media a few people sharing their word for the year. As I reflect on 2015, I have decided to do the same.

My Word for 2016: Rejoice

Looking back at the past year, I had challenges, and I had a lot of fun. Fun being momma to the sweetest toddler and wife to an incredibly giving husband. Fun starting a women’s small group and developing close friendships with amazing women. I was challenged as I had two foot surgeries that kept me laid up and in a boot for nearly the first half of the year. And I was challenged as I grew as a person and in my faith. While 2015 was a year of personal growth, it was also a year that I spent a lot of my time feeling anxious and stressed. And not about anything worth wasting so much energy thinking about.

From trivial daily to-do lists to wondering about the future or over-thinking the simplest of things, I let my mind get too worked up way too easily. Add in the stresses of life as a working momma and personal circumstances beyond my control (like being helpless with a boot on my foot), you find a mom who spent too much of her year feeling anxious.

That’s why my word for 2016 is rejoice.

To spend less time over-thinking and spend more time rejoicing in the blessings I have been given. To rejoice in who God is and how much He loves and cares for me. To find joy in each day, knowing that each one is a gift, and that the people I share my life with are each a special gift and joy in my life.

Here are four things I am doing so that I may rejoice in 2016:

Laugh more.

While having a two-year-old in the house does bring its hilarious moments (like high-fiving baby Jesus for going on the potty), it also brings its challenges, like fighting bedtime – and said potty training. Sometimes all I want is to go to the bathroom by myself in peace.

One of my goals is to find more time in each day to see the world through my daughter’s eyes. To know that all she wants is to enjoy her life with me. To laugh with her and embrace the funny moments. Even more than I already am. I want to consciously stop giving in to distractions like wondering what on my to-do list needs to be done.

Honestly, I think I need to stop taking life so seriously sometimes. Circumstances are temporary. Tantrums won’t last forever. Family is precious, and my time with them means more than anything. In the midst of the chaos, there is a reason to laugh and find joy. Because what isn’t hilarious about your toddler teaching every toy she has to potty train?

Be more intentional.

This phase of life called parenting is not for the faint of heart. It takes everything out of you. Especially if you’re juggling multiple children, jobs, activities, or other priorities. It’s easy to let intentional relationships slip by the wayside and make excuses to back out of commitments. You crave time to yourself, even just to take a long shower or read something that doesn’t have pop-up pictures. The idea of getting out of the house can feel like work sometimes.

But this intentionality in relationships is so important. In 2016, I want to not only be more intentional in spending time with my friends (and making new ones), but also with my family. More one-on-one time with my husband. More phone calls to my mom, sister, and grandma – and my long-distance friends. I know that I will find more joy by investing more time in those around me.

As moms, we need a support system. Yes, we need time for ourselves. But we also need strong, healthy relationships. Be intentional in the relationships with the people you care about. Your heart will be renewed. Your soul will thank you for the depth and beauty that comes from having intimate friendships. Invest in your village because you know they will be there when you need them the most.

Be more flexible.

I’m a Type-A person. I like lists and plans. Becoming a mom threw me a curveball and made me realize that what were once the most important priorities are really not that important. I’ve learned to let a lot of things go. Leftovers are okay for two four nights in a row. (Thanks for all the leftovers from Christmas, Mom!) Laundry can wait. The house can be dirty. At least for a little while.

Most importantly, I have learned that I need to be more flexible. I need to remind myself that it’s okay to not be productive sometimes. To have lazy days. Even (gasp!) several days in a row. I often have a list of things in my head that I hope to accomplish, and it’s easy to feel guilty when not one gets crossed off the list. But if it’s because I have a broken foot, if someone in my family or a friend needs me, or even if we just need time to hang out and have fun together, that’s okay, too. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Granted, the stuff needs done eventually, but sometimes, I need to live in the moment and choose joy over my own agenda.

One of my continual goals is to let go of my need to be productive all the time. To be more flexible to whatever happens, even if it isn’t according to my plans. I think that’s why I’m married to a laid-back, flexible husband. He helps me find the balance that I crave.

In choosing to be more flexible, letting go of my need to control, I will learn to rejoice and find peace in the midst of the chaos of life.

Be more real – with others and with myself.

Let’s be honest. All of us at some point or another are looking at what other moms are (or are not) doing. We see the kind of mom we do (or don’t) want to be. We envy and yet secretly hate the “perfect Pinterest” mom. We wish our lives were half as perfect as what we portray on social media. We silently (or not so silently) judge those whose parenting styles are different from ours.

Comparison is the thief of joy. The more time we are spending focused on what others are doing, the less time we are spending focused on what we are doing. I’ve spent enough time feeling guilty for things that aren’t worth feeling guilty about.

But you know what? Other moms are doing what’s working best for them. I am doing what I feel is best for me and my family. And it’s going pretty well so far. One of the ways I want to experience more joy is to really embrace who I am as a mom. To be real with myself, knowing that I am doing the best I can every day most days to be as great a mom as possible. To have grace on myself even when I’m not. I’m having a blast doing this parenting thing, even when it feels like the hardest job in the world and I’m not doing it right. Every day is filled with laughter and joy. And I couldn’t be more thankful for and blessed by my family.

As I think about the word rejoice and what this looks like for me in 2016, I reflect on the following verses:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

I don’t need resolutions to give up bad habits or to make new ones in order to be an awesome mom and experience a life filled with joy. Because I know that I already am a great mom. And you are, too.

May you find joy and peace, laughter and love in 2016. What is your word this year?

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