In this process I'm in, I've discovered that there are two things which really make it or break it for me.
2) pour out, bless, encourage others
This month I've been struggling to meet the goals I've set for myself, and I started to wonder, what's going on? Of course I know I'm human, and I'm definitely not like intentionally punishing myself for not performing well enough. I just realized like, "Hey, things aren't working as well as they did before. Why? Did something change?" -- and the answer was yes.
In my super fancy Ink & Volt Planner you have a lot of pages for goal-setting, and also a place where you can choose a "challenge" for the month. Last month I chose to give up refined sugar (which I still continue to do though the month is over) and I succeeded in that. The rest of my goals also went pretty well for that month.
This month I chose to focus on drinking enough water. So far, two weeks into the month, I haven't succeeded at this at all. Not a single day. I got an app on my phone and I know everything I need to do in order to succeed, and I totally could do it-- but I'm just not doing it. I realized that this attitude was flooding over into other areas of my life too. Like last night as I was tinkling around on Garageband, in my mind I told myself I will stop at 9pm so I could spend some time with Wim. Well, 9pm came around and instead of closing my computer and spending time with my man, I was like... hmmm, I'm just gonna do one more thing... and then one more thing... and I finally got to bed at like 10:30pm and Wim was already sleeping.
Like I said, I'm not obsessive about this process, but I'm curious. What can I learn from it all, how can I pick up new habits and tools that work and help me to succeed in life? I realized that by not being faithful to my "yes", I welcomed a lot of feelings: not being in (healthy) control over myself / being a victim, overwhelmed, insecurity, failure, passivity & apathy. And it started to influence other areas of my life in a very quiet and silent way. Just enough to (try to) derail me, but not loud enough that I really realized what was going on until I intentionally thought about it.
(I also became aware that when I gave up sugar, there was a friend who also said, "hey I'll do that with you!" and while we didn't communicate much about it, just knowing that she was also doing it gave me support. But that's something for another blog, otherwise this'll get way too long... hehe!)
Secondly, I've come to see how I'm wired to encourage and love on people. I actually need to do it in order to be fully "me". This is something probably more specific to my character, but it can also be a general thing that would benefit everyone. It's like they say about the Dead Sea: it's dead because it has no outflow; it's stagnant. And I've seen that when I take time to just write encouraging cards or give gifts (as the Holy Spirit inspires me), as I pour out of what I've received from God (love, hope, encouragement, etc), I feel alive. This probably relates to my recent post about how encouragement kicks butt. But I see I have to choose be intentional about this. (And why not? It's fun, seriously!)
So, I've decided that I'm going to process this whole experience not as as a failure, but as a learning point. It's like that quote from Nelson Mandela, "I never lose. I either win or learn." And I'm definitely learning. :-)
If you're feeling still stuck, even after praying and asking God to help you, try to remember: did he give you any directives or show you anything to change in your life? Have you done it? And also, are you loving on other people? Is there someone you've felt led to encourage somehow? Go for it!
Grace and peace in your process! It's all for GOOD!