making plans and setting goalssemi-sweet morsels

We’re two weeks into a new year and for the first time since I can recall, I didn’t make a single resolution. Normally I embrace the annual fresh start and you know I love a good excuse to implement (or re-implement) purposeful behaviors, but there was just something about ringing in the new year without placing consideration to what I hope to achieve at the forefront of my thoughts. It was nice to just celebrate being where we are.

the elle in love, intentional marriage, a fresh start

When the Mister and I sat down a year ago to plan out 2015, we knew that the year would be bringing some change. But we had no clue – not even a hint – that we’d be where we are today. At first I wondered how on earth we went through a roller coaster year like that and came out on the other side without one of those life-changing, “aha” moments. You know, like when you experience a different culture and instantly have a renewed sense of gratitude for your blessings. Or when you attend a weekend retreat and just know you’ll never be the same. Throughout the entire process of relocating, that moment never happened for me. There was no sudden insight or realization. No specific time that I can point to and say that was when I was transformed.

But I have noticed small differences. New qualities in myself that even I am shocked to discover. Like finding that the little things (and even some of the big things) that used to give me anxiety really don’t anymore. Or realizing that I’m no longer clinging to my “right” to have some of what I once thought I couldn’t live without. The list of these subtle changes goes on, and not because of anything I did. Rather, because of what I didn’t do.

For what seemed to be forever, it felt as though the world was just passing us by while we did nothing but face the pain of letting go… letting go of the dreams we had when we bought our first house, of several of our belongings, of our comfort zone, of our determination to stay near family, of pursuing “success” according to worldly standards, of our need to be in control, and of my desire to make a plan – just to name a few. It was a painful process – one that I stubbornly fought as best I could. I longed for answers. In a way I guess what I really craved was a distraction. How much easier would it be to let go of (fill in the blank), if only I could start aiming for the next thing. We are so accustomed to doing, building, and achieving, that waiting, tearing down, and standing still are often the equivalent of misery.

Yet here we stand, having come through a year of more stillness than we’ve ever known (or wanted for that matter), and I can honestly say that it ended up being a year of far greater movement than we ever could’ve imagined.

I am writing this today mostly because I want to remember the significance of stillness through our next season(s) of life. But also because just maybe you are needing to hear it too… making plans and setting goals are good things, but it is equally important to not get so caught up in what we hope to accomplish that we forget to sit and listen to what God is asking of us.