2019 has been the year I learned what my limits are and everything finally became “too much” for me to handle. I have always been the type of person to do “all the things”. In high school, I was on the dance team, in theatre, took dance classes at a studio, went to church, had a boyfriend, had slumber parties, and still managed to also be in school 8 hours each day. I got to college and continued this idea of doing “all the things” with leading a small group, being a youth leader, working a part-time job, dating long distance, and all of this on top of my college course load of 12+ hours a week. As you can imagine, this lifestyle followed me into my marriage where Brad and I were both working full-time jobs that required more than 40-50 hours a week, and we were part-time youth pastors (which doesn’t really exist part-time), while also trying to juggle a healthy marriage, spiritual life, mental health, and life on top of it. It became nearly impossible. This year, I, along with Brad, finally reached our limit. Enough was enough.
I experienced true burnout for the first time in my life at the beginning of this year. I was on the edge of quitting my dream job because I was overworking myself but I wouldn’t let anyone else know. I was exhausted but wouldn’t ask for help (the Enneagram 2 in me).
I got used to the new norm that Brad and I would go days without speaking to one another because our schedules were polar opposites. Brad would leave before I’d get up and either be asleep before I got home or I’d fall asleep before he got home or came to bed. We would literally just miss each other. Brad works about 70 hours a week and I’m on call 24/7 which makes being married super complicated at times. Date nights became less and less. Bickering and arguments became more and more.
I lost two grandparents this year. I experienced a lot of loss this year, even outside of losing my grandparents, but I was too busy to really process it. I still don’t feel like I have actually grieved or processed either of them passing. Whenever I’d get close to letting myself go there, something else would come up that needed my attention.
My anxiety has been at an all-time high. I’ve been waking Brad up in the middle of the night because I’ve been grinding my teeth so loud. I’ve been extremely anxious and on-edge about everything. I’ve been more sensitive than normal and struggled to not fear the worst in every situation.
This was all compiled with many other unfortunate situations and circumstances this year. As you can see, 2019 has been so challenging for me, my marriage, my mental health, and my comfort zone. It has felt like these first few years of marriage we have been treading up a mountain and every time we think we’ve seen the top, we turn another corner to see that we aren’t even close. These past few years have been some of the most difficult, stretching, frustrating, lonely, and uncomfortable years of my life. They have also been marked by growth, friendship, worship, and self-discovery. 2019 was the year I
learned acknowledged my limits.
After I acknowledged my limits, I started to gain my freedom back. I started taking steps towards the life that I want: a deeply intimate relationship with my husband, to be fully present at my job, to work from rest instead of avoiding it, and to put my mental health as a higher priority than it has been, having deep connection with the people in my life, and to be at a place where we can start building the family we’ve always wanted. As I head into 2020, it’s with these things in mind.
I always choose a word or phrase for the year. For 2020, my words are MEND and REBUILD. Mend means to repair. Rebuild means to build again after being damaged or destroyed. This upcoming year is going to be marked as the year of mending and rebuilding what has been damaged and/or destroyed in my life. This upcoming year won’t be easy but it will be so worth it.
Another way I’m choosing to mend and rebuild is to focus more on the things that bring me joy and delight than with the things that do not. I’ve spent the past few years doing a lot of what I thought I had to and very little of what lights my heart on fire. I got very focused on what needed to be done as opposed to what filled me up. Here are some of the things that bring me joy as well as some of the things that do not:
What brings me joy and delight?
- Being with people I care about
- Deep conversation and authentic connection
- Laughing, fun, and adventure – true joy!
- Homemaking and hosting people
- Being with Winston
- Being out in nature
- Board games and puzzles
What does not bring me joy and delight?
- Being rushed or in a hurry
- Not feeling known or heard
- Being alone for long periods of time
- Being inside all day long or cooped up
My intention for 2020 is to do more of the first list and do less of the second. I want to fill my calendar with more of what brings me joy and delight. I’ve always referred to myself as a joy seeker and this year, I’m taking it to a whole new level. I’m challenging myself to include at least one thing from the first list in my calendar every week. I’ve learned that we prioritize what’s in our calendar. I want to prioritize the things that get me excited, make me smile, and bring me the most joy.
I encourage you to do the same. I’ve made a simple, printable worksheet for you to write your word of the year and what it means to you, as well as your list of joy and delight and your list of things that do not bring you joy and delight. I encourage you to download it, print it out, fill it out, and hang it up somewhere you can see it easily. Put it up as a reminder of what you felt this year would be marked by and a reminder that you deserve the things that bring you joy.
I’d love to hear your word for the year! Share it in the comments below. Let’s encourage one another as we head into the new year and the new decade!