I am introverted. This is not a fault of mine, just like being extroverted is not a bad thing for others. But each person’s bent comes with both strengths (I can spend hours in silence and not have it bother me) and weaknesses. This is about those weaknesses and what I am learning about myself as I overcome them.
Every year when New Years roles around, it catches me by surprise. Everyone starts talking about resolutions and I’m all what-the-heck-we-just-unwrapped-presents! I’m sure a big part of that comes from spending pretty much my whole life churchwork-adjacent, if not smack dab in the middle of it. There’s only been a couple of years in my memory of Christmas not being a collapse-over-the-finish-line moment. After the marathon of Advent, which includes extra worship services, special church events, parties, and oh yeah, doing all of the other stuff to prepare for family celebrations, Christmas day service feels like a giant “whew!” Suddenly the busyness stops, and we can recover. But within days, or sometimes even hours, I start to see and hear people talk of resolutions and New Year and diets and exercise. All I can think is: Please just can I take a minute?
So in a lot of ways, I have. I’ve spent January not starting off the year right, but recovering from the old year. A little over a week ago was the culmination of that rest as I attended my fourth and final Pastoral Leadership Institute wives’ retreat. We gathered for the weekend in Arizona, just outside of Phoenix, allowing the barren desert landscape to refresh and refill us. The company didn’t hurt either! The small band of sisters gathered have become some of my closest friends and definitely are among those who know our story best.
Somewhere during this time my body also demanded rest by knocking me down with one form of illness after another. I’m finally recovering and rested and feeling more like myself. My introverted, crawl-into-a-hole-and-disappear self. This is where the weaknesses come in.
When it comes to setting and keeping goals, one of the best things you can do is have others holding you accountable for them. It’s also very good for someone like me who struggles with chronic depression to be around people. But my nature is to go it alone and keep to myself. I am so thankful God doesn’t let me hide.
Instead, this week has been filled with opportunity for community and encouragement. Sunday, we had a long meal after church with another couple. Yesterday, I ended up attending a lunch meeting (not in my plans originally). Today I attended a hot yoga class with a new friend. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we have dinner plans with three different couples from church.
Normally, a Tuesday would be me with good intentions and not much follow-through. Instead, the morning’s exercise and sweating (ok, mostly just sweating since I’m pretty out of shape and couldn’t keep up) has left me feeling revived and energized. So here I am, writing on my blog (which was one of my planned tasks of the day). And while I don’t think hot yoga as a practice is for me, today’s class has gotten me excited to work out more often.
I know I am at my most healthy when I get exercise and spend time around others. So maybe going to a class will be good for me? Still trying to make those decisions, but in the meantime I am so thankful for the friend who invited me and how my body feels alive and my mind feels clear. This is the way to begin a new year. Perhaps for me, resolutions need to begin in February, after I’ve had a month of recovery? Not sure, but I do know that today is a great day!