On January 1, my facebook feed was full of New Year's Resolutions posted by friends and family. And I had one friend who mentioned the the One Word project-- instead of picking a set of resolutions by which you can succeed for fail (or forget about completely), you simply pick a word that will remain in focus for the year that assists you in becoming more of the person you want to become. I knew, almost immediately, what my word was going to be.
Despite having picked this word back in the very early days of the month, I gave myself until the end of the month to blog about it. Here I am with just minutes to spare. Good thing procrastination wasn't on the list of things I need to work on this year!
Perspective. This word has really kind of been on my heart/mind a lot ever since Derek left for active duty in July. It is so easy to find reasons to host pity parties for ourselves, no matter what is going on in life. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "if anyone deserves to have a bad attitude-- it's me! I'm husbandless, I'm pregnant, I'm a mommy by myself! This is HARD!" And then it dawns on me that all of those negative thoughts arise when I am focusing so inwardly!
The first way the word "perspective" plays a role is to consider life's purpose, the ultimate goal: to live a life pleasing unto the Lord; to obey his commands. With this in mind, I am reminded that we were obedient to his calling for Derek to enlist, in the first place. It's a little harder to grasp this concept with the factors that we didn't particularly choose at this time, like the timing of the pregnancy. But, it is still something that has to be accepted. And when looking through the events as a part of God's plan, it seems so less overwhelming and daunting.
Next, is to put into perspective what these actual obstacles mean in the long run of life. Ideally, Derek and I live to spend decades and decades more of life together- this is merely nine months. And yes, Derek may miss the first four weeks of his daughters life, but what is four weeks in the grand scheme of him being there for her for the rest of her life?
Sometimes it takes conscious effort to change perspectives, forcing myself to finding the positive aspects of the situation instead of finding the negative ones. Like, the pride that accompanies the fact that my husband is so selfless that he obediently followed God's command to enlist in serving others. I have been humbled by the tremendous love and support from friends and family- people to clean the house, shovel the driveway, help take out trash, to offer their 4x4 monster truck as transportation should this baby decide to come during this upcoming storm of the century. How can I sit and be upset with the cards we've been dealt when I am surrounded by such compassion and generosity?
Lastly, there is looking at the perspective of how other people live their lives. Not that it makes my life easier, per say, to know that someone else has it harder. But, it does help shift the "pity me" thoughts into "wow, I may not have it too bad after all." I have come to the conclusion (maybe a little late in the game) to realize that everyone (every family) has their cross to bear. There are families who are dealing with the deployments with wives nervous at every knock of the door hoping it's not the army to tell her that her husband isn't coming home. There are wives who have husbands who work long hours to provide for their family and despite actually living at home, they see very little of each other. There are pilot's wives who deal with separation consistently throughout the husband's career, missing babies' milestones and family events. Everyone has it rough in different ways. I am no exception.
Ultimately, the concept of perspective is to shift the focus outside of myself- my wants, my comforts, to a focus on God and others.
In as little as just a few hours after choosing my word, I was faced with circumstances in which I had to decide the perspective in which I would focus. Throughout this month, in ways both big and small, I have been reminded of the importance of this word in my life at this time. Whether it's considering how Jackson may feel in a certain situation instead of just getting upset at his actions or accepting that having Derek home for three days for the birth of our little girl is, in fact, a great blessing and not something to whine about.
I am excited to be challenged by this word. I am anxious to see how it changes me over this next year.