It’s hard to believe we are coming up on two years since the coronavirus – aka Covid-19 changed our world and our society forever.
At the beginning of 2020, I had plans to settle into our new life — finally homeowners after eight years of moving and renting — I was ready. I’ve linked a few posts from that time at the bottom of this post if you’d like to read or refresh your memory.
Today, despite the ever-changing landscape of the covid crisis, I am at a place of peace and rest that I haven’t felt in over a decade. Crossing the line of finally living in the same place for longer than 18 months has been huge factor! But I’ve also made up my mind to stop letting certain things control my emotions and energy.
The steps I’ve taken can be summed up with my lifelong mantra, which stems from the words in Isaiah 61:4…
“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
We haven’t only had to start over again in physical ways, but in spiritual and generational ways as well. Every time we take a step of faith in the name of rebuilding, we recognize an ancient ruin we’d failed to see before. I pray that a day comes when our past stays in the past. But when you rebuild upon an ancient foundation, you can find peace and gratitude in acknowledging where you came from while no longer letting it define who you are today.
My husband and I are in a phase of rebuilding a regular routine of spending time together. We’ve gone on more dates nights in the past few months that we have in the past decade! And since we’ve covered all the essentials in our times of talking over dinner or walking around downtown, we’re finally in a phase of rebuilding other (more intimate) areas of our marriage. With our youngest child starting his Senior year of high school, it’s nice to know we can reignite that old spark again and can look forward to enjoying life as a married couple.
Since we started our family pretty much right away nearly 28 years ago, spending time alone hasn’t come easily. I’m grateful we can still find ways to connect and enjoy each other’s company as we rebuild on the foundation of the things that brought us together in the first place, and kept us together during the tough times.
Watching our kids and grandkids grow and celebrating their milestones together is becoming the ultimate reward for rebuilding our life together several times over the years!
Making a conscious effort to restore my physical body to its natural rhythms and healing abilities is a daily battle. I’ve fallen into some bad habits that have been a challenge to curb amidst more pressing life stressors such as moving, financial setbacks, and adjusting to life with adult children.
But after nearly a year of fighting depression and anxiety amplified by the many ways Covid changed our personal life, I hit a breaking point. It wasn’t instant, but over a few months of me counting the days until the weather grew warm enough for me to be outside, I knew I couldn’t face another winter of survival. I couldn’t face another set back to my mental and physical health.
I’ve been cooking on a regular basis and decided that investing in quality ingredients that don’t trigger inflammation is essential to feeling good. I’m also making sure I exercise indoors at least three days a week using my array of PiYo DVDs so that when the weather isn’t ideal, I’m still moving my body! I also find that I have more endurance working in my yard if I’ve exercised as well.
Another factor in my journey to maintaining a rhythm of restoration is learning when to release myself of feeling responsible for other’s actions. Letting go and letting God may seem cliché, but I cannot tell you how much deciding to do something like NOT stay awake until my 17-year-old is home for the night (or early morning depending on his work shift) has brought me peace!
A good night’s sleep is KEY to my ability to restore mind, body, and soul and I cannot let worrying about the worst-case scenario dictate whether or not I sleep well.
I had to look up the definition to make sure I was on the right track in my thinking on this! According to Oxford, “renew” means to “resume an activity after an interruption.” Well, if this doesn’t describe my writing journey, I don’t know what does! My writing goals seem to be on a constant cycle of being interrupted.
Yet, no matter how long the interruption lasts, I find myself back here again. Even though my life is in a constant flux of change, it seems the best months for me to focus on my stories are January through May. Even if I manage to punch out a rough draft of my next novel during NaNoWriMo in November, the best time to edit is late winter or early spring (before my yard begins to demand too much energy).
Ultimately, my stories are how I share variations of all of the above. Be it my “memoir-style” blog posts about my real life journey, or the way I incorporate my past emotional wounds and trauma into fictional characters as I portray them overcoming their wounds and deciding to achieve a win by finding a way to be victorious regardless of their pasts.
Let’s REIMAGINE our Next Year!
As we embark on the final season of 2021 — with so much uncertainty surrounding us — I challenge you to dig deeply and reimagine the areas of your life you can control. I include prayer in each area of rebuilding, restoring, and renewing as well. When I allow God to lead the way, I tend to avoid feeling overwhelmed and feel peace in saying no to things that would otherwise burden me and aren’t really a part of my purpose.
Is there something that needs rebuilding? An area of devastation you’ve tried to leave in the past but it keeps creeping into your present again? Name it, talk it through with someone you trust, give it to God and ask Him if you’re supposed to be letting it go or building something new on its foundation.
Are you in need of restoration? Sleep and reducing stress are so important during these times and can help us to manage things like anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Is there something you need to give up or a new routine you need to set your mind to in order to assure you are minimizing stress and maintaining proper sleep? I’m betting just reading that caused a few things to pop into your mind! You know what you need to do! Is it worth the effort to make those changes and experience a more peaceful year come 2022?
Finally, what needs to be renewed in your life? Have you let a hobby start to collect dust because you feel everything and everyone else is more important? Have you given up on eating better, exercising more regularly, or spending time with your spouse with no agenda besides being in each other’s presence? It’s never too late to renew your goals for change. Sometimes the best way to renew what you know is good is to just do it and not think about it too much!