Thanks to Dawn for asking the question that prompts this blog post! You can check out her writings at INSPIRATION with an ATTITUDE – great thoughts and ponderings as she draws lessons from daily life and God’s Word.
Anyway, she asked me at the end of my last post if I had any plans – not resolutions, but plans, for 2016. I appreciated that she phrased it that way – I gave up resolutions a long time ago. I’m not sure when that happened – probably when the word began to mean failure for me. Or maybe not failure, but “goals set unrealistically high.” Or “too lofty,” or “not well-defined.” Whenever it was, I stopped setting resolutions because I knew that my life wouldn’t change from December 31 to January 1, and so why bother.
That’s not to say that I don’t have plans. I do, almost always – by personality, I’m a planner. I have plans for the future – like before I moved across the country – I had great pictures of when and what that would look like. Plans for the week – when is that chiropractic appointment? Plans for the day – gotta get the laundry done. But again, not plans that I’d really consider life-changing. Not plans to introduce new habits into my days or weeks or year.
I think this means that I react, but am not always proactive. And when I’m depressed (which I am not right now – yay!), I’m too tired to be proactive. I don’t have the energy to do more than respond to my circumstances. It’s too hard to make changes. Which makes getting well really difficult, because my thought patterns during depression have to change to bring about healing.
It’s at times like now, when I’m mentally healthy – this is when I need to put new habits into practice. This is when I need to think about steps I can take to bring healing, or to stay healthy. So when my mood shifts to the negative, I already have good things in place to combat the depression that wants to take over.
That’s why eating well and exercising and taking my medication and meeting with my therapist regularly and having daily time in prayer and God’s Word are critical – I’ll need all of these to be part of my routine when I get to the point that I can only function within my routine – when I can only react.
And times like now, mentally healthy times, are a great time for me to try something new – add something from my wish list. What would I like to do when I am mentally healthy that I might not be able to do otherwise?
Beginning in 2013, I have 1.5 years of my timing, my plans, that didn’t line up with God’s plans and so didn’t happen according to my timetable. I became so frustrated, aggravated, and I became further depressed when things didn’t happen when I thought they should. From that, I learned that my plans can’t be written in stone. I must plan with my palms open, not gripping too tightly, because God’s plans are always better, but often don’t match mine. So plans are good as long as I keep them in perspective and am willing to let them go when God leads me into better plans, His plans. And His plans are always for my good.
I plan to keep that in mind for 2016!
Other plans, ideas for my future year:
- Continue blogging. My last post of 2015 was my 100th one! I’m pleased with that for my first year as a blogger. I’d love to develop a consistent blogging calendar, but am afraid to commit for fear I’ll miss a deadline! Maybe I should have a plan for publishing, but not tell my readers, so then no one is disappointed. But then where’s the accountability in that?
- I’ve decided to write a memoir of my depression years and the lessons I learned of God’s faithfulness through it all. I’ve read a couple of books on writing memoirs – now I need to discipline myself with daily writing assignments toward this goal. I sure hope it doesn’t cause conflict with my blogging efforts.
- I want to volunteer a couple of hours per week in a memory care or assisted living facility. This is a great tool for fighting depression – investing in someone else. It takes my focus off myself and allows me to reach out to others.
- I plan to find a Bible Study where I can meet other women who love Jesus. I think this is important in my effort of making friends, which has been slow to develop in the 10 months since we relocated here. And I’m tired of being lonely, so I plan to do something about it!
So, those are my plans. But like I said, only if they line up with God’s plans for me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
What are your plans for 2016?