Friday, February 4, 2011

Too Long

What a ridiculous amount of time it's been since I last posted. So much has happened, and my life has changed greatly.

Before you ask, not I'm not pregnant. More on that shortly.

I spent most of last year working in politics again. Although it was a lot of fun to be back in the game, and I met many more new friends, I am so glad to be back out again.

Most importantly I've come much closer to God this year. As a result, 2010 was hands-down my best year ever.

Wait ... did I just write that I'm not pregnant and I just had my best year ever? Before this past year, getting pregnant was not only my number one focus, I was completely obsessed with it. To the exclusion of almost everything (and everyone) else. My emotions cycled up and down with my monthly cycle, crashing each month when I realized we had once again failed to conceive. Depression was moving in and taking over. All efforts to distract myself with other projects were failing.

Fast forward to today ... Still not pregnant. No longer obsessed. Able to focus on other things for many days at a time. Happy, yes, but happy isn't the best word to describe where I am now. Where did we all get the idea that being happy was the goal of life? Happiness is an emotion, and a fleeting one at that. I don't want to be stuck in any one emotion for the rest of forever. What I have found, much more important and lasting that happiness, are joy and peace.

Is everything hunky-dory? No, certainly not. But it's all a whole lot better than it used to be. The depression is gone. I can't recall the last time I had a bad day. I've definitely had less-than-perfect days, days when things didn't go my way, when plans changed at the last minute, flat tires, lots of snow, all kinds of things to trip me up. I've even had days when bad things happened.

The first big change came in February last year. When God really wants to get something through to me, he beats me over the head with it from a number of different sources. My revelation in February was that God would not trust me with a baby until I could pass the test of getting my finances in order. We put our fertility and conception plans on hold for the year, while we worked to get our financial house in order.

(Please don't think I'm saying that God doesn't let people get pregnant unless they can afford it. Clearly, that is not the case. For me, there are a couple very specific things God has been working on me with. I believe that he used not getting pregnant first as a way to bring me back to him, then to get my attention and make me pay attention to his plan in my life.)

Elric and I took a great class over the summer, Financial Peace University. It helped us to completely change the way we dealt with money. We went from being close to eviction in March to paying our rent a week early in September. Our stress levels dropped considerably when we no longer had to worry about when (not if) the gas and electric would be turned off, dreading that knock at the door that said National Grid had come to visit.

In August, I was baptized. I had been baptized in the Catholic church as a baby, but the Christian church I've been attending this year believes that baptism should be a conscious choice by someone old enough to know what you're choosing. Along with my baptism, I became a member of Crossroads Church. A number of my friends and family were kind enough to attend the baptism (by immersion, no less), and the party that followed.

In September, the campaign I was working on lost our primary election. Although many people felt bad that we lost, I couldn't have been more thrilled. Sure, it would have been great is we had won, and for my candidate's sake, I wish we had. But for me, personally, I was more than ready to be done. Another 7 weeks of campaigning was more than I wanted to take at that point. Although the year up to that point had been very good, since the primary it's been positively fantastic.

In worked on two auctions in November, as I usually do. This year I was smart enough to tell the auction that I volunteer for that I could only help the day of the event, not with all the prep ahead of time. That meant that I occasionally got a full night's sleep during the fall, quite the rarity for me! Instead, I threw much of my energy into the online and gala auction that I run for the private school I work for. Once the campiagn and auctions were over, my stress level dropped even further.

Thanksgiving was a lovely affair at Mom & Dad's, as usual. December was a month of preparing for and enjoying Christmas, then my annual New Year's fete. All the holidays were much lower stress than usual, partly from my efforts to not over-do it, and not push myself beyond what I had time or energy for. (What a concept!)

2011 is already lined up to be even better than 2010. I made a list of 100 goals that I'd like to accomplish this year. Some of them are serious, some are long shots, and some are just plain silly. But already, I've done a better job on the list than I would have guessed.

The big goal this year is to lose 45 pounds. At one pound each week, I can be done by Thanksgiving. That means I won't have to try to lose weight during the 2011 holidays; I can simply work on maintenance then. I'm four weeks into the weight loss goal now, and am down 5 pounds. I've been tracking my weight loss on Facebook, which has the dual benefits of providing encouragement each week when I post the results of my weigh-in, and the accountability of knowing that if I don't post weigh-in results each Monday, someone will call me on it.

The drastic change in me this year is absolutely a God thing. I've tried to change a lot of things about me over many years, always sure I could do it on my own, with varying amounts of success. This is the first time that the changes I've made have been so far-reaching and drastic. My day-to-day outlook has changed. I'm giving up control of many things that I once clung to desperately. Always the planner, I have accepted that I will not follow my own plan for my life. I'm following God's plan, and the results have been simply amazing. I would never have imagined the amount of peace that giving up control could bring to my heart. Things I've struggled with much of my life, animosities and grudges that I've held close for years, secret competitions where others didn't even know we were competing; they're all fading away.

Have I ceased to make any plans? Of course not. But I try to pray about many of my plans, especially the big ones, to make sure I'm on the path God has called me to. Most days begin with a prayer that I can live the day for God's glory, not my own, and that His will, not mine, be done that day. Throughout the day, periods of momentary stress or aggravation are punctuated by prayers for patience and strength.

My relationship with Christ has helped me to become a kinder person, a more loving wife, a better friend and relative, and a more effective employee and co-worker. There is not a single aspect of my life that hasn't been touched.

I still have a long way to go. (Don't we all!) But I know that now, after so many years of floundering, I'm finally on the right path.