This Is What Christmas Is

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:1-7 NIV)

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Reflections on 2012

It’s only December 21st and I feel like Christmas is over. I feel like I have wasted the advent season yet again. I didn’t listen to enough Christmas music. I didn’t just enjoy the beauty of my Christmas tree. I didn’t reflect enough on what the season is truly about.

For the first time since July, I am off work for more than just a weekend. I actually have time to just sit. Time that I don’t have to do anything. I can just be. I laid on my living room floor and realized I have ran, ran, ran since July. I haven’t paused for 2 seconds since then.

I am realizing I need margin in my life. Much more margin than I have been giving myself. I need to find a better work/life balance. My life has definitely been off balance lately. I have felt off kilter for quite awhile. Today at our office Christmas party we were counting off 1-2, 1-2 and so on. I had to think about what to say after the person next to me said 2. Yesterday I went totally the wrong way to a client’s home. I have forgotten so many things that should be second nature to me. I have been overworking. to be honest, I could be more productive at work. Sometimes, I socialize much more than I need to. I am really, really bad at telling myself no and making myself get back to work.

I am just shy of working my job for a year. If I continue at this pace, I will burn out. This morning I was thinking that I couldn’t believe it’s been a year already. But, time does go fast when you run yourself ragged. Tonight I am realizing what a long year it has been. I do have hope the next year will be better, since I’ve heard it takes a solid year to learn the job of a caseworker. I’ve definitely been feeling the learning curve, more so in the last few months than I did in the beginning.

As I think about how I’ve been so busy I’ve nearly missed the advent season, I wonder if that can’t be said about 2012 altogether. I’ve been far busier since I graduated than I ever was in grad school. I think I’ve shifted more towards extraversion, but tonight I’m thinking I shifted a little too much and my inner introvert is the pounding in my chest. The introverted part of me has been in hiding and is begging to be let out.

In 2013, I hope to swing the pendulum a bit closer to the center of my work/life balance and perhaps learn how to savor this life that is quickly passing me by.

This Week

I’ve been feeling really stressed…

And yet really thankful.

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I’ve been enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas, although with temps in the 60s this weekend it doesn’t much feel like Christmas.

I’ve felt true anger towards foster parents who give up on kids, all the while wanting to maintain control over their lives.

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I’ve been learning that just doing whatever it is I am putting off can actually relieve stress. Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher, or going to see that client I am dreading. If I just do it I instantly feel better.

I’ve learned i just need to let go of things I can’t control. Like clients who don’t return my calls. I have realized I can’t take it personally.

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I’ve learned paying extra on a student loan can lift a burden and create one all at the same time.

I’ve learned a Christmas candle combined with Christmas music can go a long way in making me relax. I’ve also discovered I don’t understand Spotify at all, but I am thankful for creative people who make Christmas playlists I love.