Today I am tired. I have a cold. Last week I was glutened. So there hasn’t been much of this Christmas break when I haven’t been sick in some way—never totally out of commission, but always a little under the weather. And yet I haven’t lowered my expectations of everything I’d hoped to get done during the break. I’m finding it difficult to allow myself to fully relax and get any real rest during my time off, because there’s always the sense that there’s something productive I should be doing. It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that I just can’t do everything, see everyone, or finish every project with the limited time I have. Even if I were operating at 100% capacity, I would still have to make decisions about what to prioritize and when to say no, even when I wish I could say yes. It’s hard sometimes to acknowledge my limitations.
But there are a lot of things to be grateful for this Christmas. When I look back on 2014, I’m overwhelmed by how many amazing things have happened and how blessed I feel to be standing where I am right now. And none of it happened overnight. Everything good that happens in my life comes gradually, requiring patience and perseverance on my part. These blessings have arisen not out of the frenzied, frantic mindset that I sometimes get caught up in; rather, they have come from the times when I’ve allowed myself to slow down and live with intention. This means letting go of a lot of things, including the need to feel in control. Some of the most important decisions I’ve made this year involved a big leap of faith, and they were made without any knowledge that things were going to turn out okay. Being willing to take risks has paid off in a big way. Looking ahead to 2015, I am thrilled to be accepting a promotion at work as a full-time editorial assistant, and I’m planning on finally moving into the city, thus ending this crazy commute.
I’ve been listening to this song a lot lately and reflecting on its lyrics: “Here in the dark, I do not ask to see / The path ahead, one step enough for me.” I’m reminding myself that I don’t have to be able to envision the whole outcome in order to move forward, that I can follow the gentle pull of God’s guidance, moment by moment, and wherever He leads me will be where I ought to be. Maybe right now I can’t ever imagine being able to do what He has in mind for me down the road, but the picture will fill itself in as I go. I’ve also been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and this quote stuck with me as well:
“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”
When the whole task is overwhelming, I can focus on just the little bit of path ahead and do the next right thing. Maybe I can’t see or picture how we can get to that final destination, but I can’t allow my fears to keep me from moving at all. So I’m stepping forward into places I haven’t traveled before, places I hadn’t thought I’d go—because now I can see those first few steps lit brightly, even though the path beyond is shrouded in mystery. I’m taking some chances, and so far, I’ve been delighted—and sometimes surprised—with where it’s led me.