The title sounds silly doesn’t it? I mean, I read somewhere today that only a small percentage of Americans, like 20 percent or something, actually make New Year resolutions. I’m afraid to Google the percentage that actually follow through with those resolutions. For someone to have one word encompass everything they hope to strive for and achieve in the upcoming year is either minimalism at its finest or a sad demonstration of disillusionment. But … that’s how I feel … and I hope I’m not the latter.
I’ve talked to God about this pretty much all of December and I had heard that some people were picking out a word or theme for 2018 instead of a laundry list of resolutions again this year. This one-word resolution isn’t a new concept but it’s one I’m giving a try – thanks to God’s gentle nudge.
So what’s the word for 2018? Let’s start with the definition of the word. As a noun the first meaning in the dictionary is “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.” The second meaning is “confident expectation of something; hope.” And the third is “confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit.”
My brain highlighted a handful of those words and phrases in those definitions – reliance on, strength, surety, confident expectation, hope, confidence in the certainty in future – they all stick out like green thumbs. 2017 has been quite a year in my recovery from post partum depression and anxiety. For one, my diagnosis is now more along the lines of generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD with a hint of OCD tendencies … or so my therapist thinks. A lot of the time she says I’m just a stressed out mom and recovery people pleaser. Labels schmabels, I just want to heal and learn how to move on from my past. I I will say no longer having the label of PPD/PPA is wonderful a sigh of relief. I have seen and experienced the wonders of medication and therapy working together hand-in-hand. I will get on my soap box any day of the week and praise modern medicine and therapy (especially therapy). Yes, I have come a long way and I was brave to take you all on this journey with me. This blog has been therapeutic and a God-send. However, I am now in some sort of awkward aftermath stage. It reminds me of puberty in a way, just less pimples and all the drama is internal. 2017 showed me which parts of my personality I needed to retire, which coping mechanisms I held onto oh-so tightly because they were easy and worked at the time. Now I know they will no longer serve me in the future. As I explained to my therapist, 2017 has been finding out what pieces are missing in my foundation, and 2018 will be about filling some of the larger cracks. And with God, all of the cracks in my identity will be filled. For I truly believe, He will restore me completely. And this is where my 2018 word comes in – trust. I want to work on trusting God more – with every single thing that comes my way, to stepping out of my own head, taking every thought captive and giving to Him, to deciding whether or not I should submit a short-story for contest or write that book that’s burning on my heart. It’s trusting Him that all of these trials during my season of hardship and personal growth were for something greater than I could have ever imagined.
Not only do I want to work on trusting Him more but there is another aspect of trust that aligns with Him, for I believe they go together. In Cognitive Behavior Therapy, one of the goals is to work on the pathways in your brain, replacing the negative ones with positive, laying down new tracks so to speak – basically reframing and retraining your brain. And one of my reframing phrases here lately has been “I trust myself.” Because, you see, when you feel like everything you are has been takenaway from you, at least in your head, your very core is shaken. When it feels like someone you never met before takes over your mind, which is how I felt in my darkest of days, and then when you finally start to see and feel like yourself again, it can be hard to not look over your shoulder. For me, it’s the genuine fear of relapsing that gets me stuck on the hamster wheel of anxiety – my PTSD in a nutshell.
We all have to learn at some point or another – to let go of the past and the pain that comes with it. Trusting our heart sometimes over our head, and trusting our head over our heart in others, trusting our choices as mothers, wives and daughters, trusting ourselves when we take big leaps in our careers while trusting the direction God is leading us. Trusting when to say yes and when to say no, when to take a break and when to dig deep and push forward. Now, I know some of you are saying – but does that mean you are trusting yourself over God? No, that’s not what I mean.
When I believe in myself then I am also believing in God, for he lives in me. If I am confident that God is working things out for my good, that there is purpose for the pain, then I can be confident in everything I am doing to be my best self – my self-care routine, studying the Word, eating healthy (ish), meditating, spreading love and joy, etc. Too long have I spent on the hamster wheel of anxiety, analyzing and over thinking things, trying to solve things on my own (without even realizing it until I’ve dug myself into a deep hole), too long have I been the victim of my circumstances. God didn’t create me to play the victim, he created me to be the victor through Him. So I can sit here with my pleas to Him to heal my mind (which I admit I catch myself doing, like it’s an autopilot response when I’m having a really bad day) or I can adjust my crown and say “God, thank you never leaving me and thank you for all you have done and will do for me. This too shall pass, and what is waiting on the other side is far greater than the pain and frustration I am going through.”
This has been a hard lesson and still on days where the word exhaustion doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel, I catch myself trying to go down those old paths in my brain. My 2017 pity party is over and I hope you aren’t offended that I didn’t invite you. I myself didn’t want to be there but there is a reason for the phrase “growing pains.” And boy, did I have some growing pains. I had some wonderful times, too, but it’s time to put trust in myself again and in God. It’ s time to get off the pity party train and take the next steps in my personal growth, with God holding my right hand every step fo the way. I’m not sure where He will lead me but I am trusting, slowly but surely, that it’s not backward.