*This piece was originally written for Joyful Whisperings. I loved it so much that I asked Lacy if I could share it with my ReelChatters! Enjoy 😊
Check out more posts like this @ joyfulwhisperings.com
I noticed this little picture the other day as I walked past my kitchen and into my laundry room. My kids had inevitably been playing one of their various imaginative games. Taped to the dryer in my son’s handwriting, on a spare lined sheet of paper was written, “jail.” I laughed when I saw it, and kind of rolled my eyes. Later when I went to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer (aka “jail”), I noticed that three little stuffed animals were being held captive inside. I moved them out and continued on with the laundry. I didn’t take the sign down, in fact it’s still up. And it hasn’t left my mind.
2021 ended a little rough and started 2022 with more rough patches as well. We began the year with a broken dishwasher (that cannot be replaced right away because of supply issues), electrical power issues that need fixing before we can even think about purchasing a new dishwasher, a front doorknob that wouldn’t open, and a broken garage door that only worked sporadically. And to top it all off, a broken Kitchen Aid that decided to go out mid-Christmas Eve roll making. I had to knead by hand (I know… I know… first world problems). And that’s just the stuff I’m willing to go into.
I am by no means trying to say that we have it bad, we don’t. We are incredibly blessed and I am very aware of it. However, I started 2022 with some pretty high expectations of what I wanted to accomplish, and how I wanted my productivity to increase. I picked a word that I wanted to highlight my year, SHINE.
Well, the new year started off with great motivation, as it usually does… but somewhere between the never-ending dishes that I can’t get away from, or even really hide, and the never-ending piles of laundry- things didn’t look quite so “shiny” anymore. In fact I was beginning to feel more and more like the stuffed animals trapped in my dryer. I think part of the reason I haven’t been able to get this off my mind, is because I kind of feel like I’m being held captive by some of my more negative thoughts, my complaints, and even my own expectations.
The last month or so has felt a little reminiscent of the beginning of 2020 when everything started to shut down because of COVID. County mask mandates, a covid death hitting close to home, everyone sick, low inventory, and school closures for a week… have had my spirits a little dampened. So far this year isn’t what many of us hoped for.
January was rough. My kids were home from school for several days in the middle of January. It ended up being pretty frustrating, restless, and not much fun. I decided that even though we couldn’t really go out and do much (as we had some minor cold-like symptoms going on), we’d take our dog for a walk and get some nice fresh (brisk) air. It ended up being exactly what we needed during those cold, isolated days. It gave us a shift in perspective, a clear blue sky, and a very cold wind in our faces. Sometimes that’s all we need when we feel stuck; a new outlook, a small change of scene.
So while I wanted to allow myself to shine this year… I am learning that sometimes my efforts and motivations are a little lackluster in their shiny qualities. Sometimes I just don’t have everything together. Sometimes my kids have really hard things going on that weigh me down. And sometimes I don’t have a clue as to how to detach myself from their troubles and be happy. And oftentimes my laundry, dishes, and monotonous daily chores of making meals and picking up toys can feel “prison-like.” But I continue to try. I continue to find the little joys in my growing tween who is really quite funny and witty, my 9-year-old who asks the most intellectually perplexing questions and watches the news in the morning when he wakes up to see what the weather’s going to be like (ON HIS OWN, like he’s 45 or something). Or the joy I find in my one and only little princess who constantly expresses her love for everyone, and takes care of her brothers (much to their annoyance) like she’s their second mom, and my sweet “baby” who keeps me constantly on my toes and loves his momma so intensely! I also continue to find solace in a deep love that I never expected to find to the depth to which I feel it. I can’t begin to explain how much that makes the hard times bearable and even doable, with him by my side through all the ups and downs. I continue to find joy in knowing I don’t ever have to do any of this alone, only when I choose to not turn to God, do I suffer more. I have a loving Heavenly Father who is there every step of the way. And when I trust His timing, His understanding, and His plan- I have more peace and ability to keep ongoing. I have the perspective to see the “jail-like” moments in my life as a brief moment and to see that though they are not all experiences I want to repeat, they are refining and will be for my good.
So shine I will, even if it’s lackluster in quality and a little less showy sometimes. I will continue to keep trying, to keep showing up, and to keep moving forward, even when those days inevitably happen when everything around me seems to be broken and falling apart. I’ll maneuver through the wreckage, pick up the pieces (with the help of my family and others who make up my own treasured “support team.”) I’ll take the brisk walks through life that help to give me clarity and rely on someone more wiser and kinder than myself to help put everything back into the right places again. I’ll figure out how to shine in my own way, and in my own time, and allow others the same courtesy. I will give myself permission to be me. To move, and do, and become the woman I want, and let myself be ok to acknowledge that I don’t have to be everything right now, or all the time. I will let myself know I can still shine even if it’s not perfect, even if it's not glamorous or particularly bright. I have permission to be me and improve on that. And THAT is still shining.