By now, we’ve all seen those videos—you know, the ones floating around social media where someone is calling on God and asking to not be the strongest soldier? That’s me. I feel like I am on the phone with God, asking that this year would be gentle and peaceful. Dear God, I would rather not be put on the ‘strongest soldiers’ list. Thank You. I’m not sure about you, but for me 2022 was full of beauty and loss. I found myself coming into 2023 without wind in my sails. I struggled to even think of a word for this year.
Sis, how are you? How did you walk into this year? Were you running in with zeal and renewed energy, ready to tackle a new year with your goals and vision board all set? Or were you like me, moving a bit slower (crawling into the year, actually) and hoping that 2023 would be a bit gentler? Every time I wonder if I will be able to endure the pain that comes with transition and loss, I’m reminded of other seasons in life when I lost something or someone and, eventually, I found my way through it. But I needed time.
I think there’s an unspoken expectation that we have to start the year ready to accomplish audacious goals. We buy new workout clothes and make big, new plans for the year. Ultimately, some of us make promises to ourselves we can’t keep. I am guilty of this—I’ve broken many “resolutions.” Since I crawled into this year, I’ve decided I should start things slowly instead of going at full speed when my tank was already on E.
I wonder if we are missing the whole point of the turn of the new year. I wonder how different things would be if we reflected on the year before and processed what happened, if we took a moment to sit a little longer and think about the joys, pains, adventures, and victories… What was the highlight of our year? How did those moments feel? How do we feel in our bodies?
As it stands, people typically give themselves a day or so to reflect on the closing year. Just 24 hours to reflect on 365 whole days of life, and then we move on to how we will make everything better and different for the new year.
I think we have it all wrong.
What if we position ourselves to start off slowly, to spend the whole first month of the new year reflecting on the year before? What went well and what didn’t? How did I recover from the hard moments? What do I need to keep healing? Everything doesn’t have to be rushed, and you don’t have to rush yourself. Honestly, I am writing this to myself because I’m an overachiever who likes to get a lot done, but the truth is sometimes I don’t sit with my wins or my pain long enough.
I wanna dust off my hands and I wanna move on sometimes. But I know from experience that the best gifts I can give myself are rest, reflection, and peace. As I get older, I realize I have to sit in the hard spots, the good spots, and everything in between. I can reflect on good and bad times and still look forward to the future with anticipation and joy.
I don’t have to choose. And sis, you don’t have to choose either. You can be happy and sad all in one and still hope for a softer year. You can make room for ease and gentleness, starting with giving yourself grace and tending to your needs first.
Do you feel overwhelmed by the new year? How are you slowing down to reflect before jumping back into the rat race?Leave a Comment
Gwendolyn Lipscomb says
Thank you for this reminder. This year I have started slowly with fasting and praying. I definitely needed to inhale and exhale.
Great message,I feel like the words were written just for me.
So many of the same sentiments.
Thank much for speaking to my heart and soul.
This message was so on point. That is exactly what I have been thinking. It’s okay to give yourself a break, slow down…rest!
You are correct we pile everything into Jan 1 because it’s the beginning of a new year which is true, but I dare say that “every day” is the beginning of a new year because 364 days from that day recognizes what?
Enjoy life, start again and compliment yourself for your accomplishments!
Valerie Anderson says
Faitth, your post are always on point. I definitely told myself this year I want to move slower and go deeper right down to the amount of books I read. I am tired of competing and trying to keep up with the folks that I admire. I am okay right where I am at. I am an avid journaler and have been reflecting on my journal entries from 2022 and still doing so. Thank you for validating the need for rest, reflection, and peace. I am going to need this year to practice and do just that. By the way, I am a social worker too and have read a little James Cone.
I love this site. It brings such joy and needed inner reflection.
Thank you for helping me accept that reflecting back is a neccassry step to move forward. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by a combination of personal setbacks, challenges, losses and the need for new initiatives. Rushing forward, I was ignoring there had also been wins.
I’m this Person your talking about. this to shall pass, and in time I will get it done!
Bless you for this wonderful message! Chemotherapy has forced me to slow down and reflect. But I am confident that God’s grace and mercy will be with me in 2023. So much ugliness in this world – still trusting that He is still on the throne!
Tena, The Wine Whisperer says
So true! We need to enjoy and learn from our journey ❤️
Wow! What an excellent article! Thank you for sharing and reminding me that it is okay to slow down and be quiet with myself. I am a work in progress. Working my self into anxiety, that I know that isn’t good for my body, soul, spirit!
I have totally forgotten how to set goals and celebrate me for a change. A new day, a new start! 2022 had been no joke but looking forward to greater things in 2023! Looking forward and not behind me!!!
I am doing exactly that…resting, reflecting and being at peace. I turned my spare bedroom into a love room. It’s where I pray, affirm and sit in the solitude. 2022 was the hardest year of my life and I am still healing from spine surgery. It’s been five hard months of recovery. And I have another spine surgery coming up this year. I’ve definitely decided to come slowly into this new year knowing I have more health issues to tackle. Thanks for the reminder we can come in slowly without our caps.
B. Christian says
Yaaaassss Ms. Faith…I will be tip-toe-ing into 2023….I feel as if I’m finally exhaling….I have been on such a long journey but I do believe that not only am I closing a chapter but I’m in a new book…Looking forward to retirement, new adventures, new journey’s, “EVERYTHING NEW” as Tye Tribbet says…I’m ready to focus, enjoy the freedom and ENJOY LIFE!!! Live to work not work to live!!! Be safe and Be Blessed!!!
Thank you Faiith for this love letter to yourself. So often we care for everyone and everything with all we have. But, this letter, this letter you wrote opened my eyes to see self-care is essential. Grace, patience, and compassion for ourselves are the beginning of a great journey. So many times we don’t acknowledge our hurts and joys. However, embarrassing those things can and will make us stronger. Thank you again for showing grace and love.
This was spot on. We have to learn to pause. We have to buy into the hype that we have to be all and acquire all. Accepting our individual strengths and weaknesses is imperative.
Jackie Warren says
I feel exactly this way! Like we have been conditioned to rush into the new year, but as I get older, I feel like I should take more time to reflect on the previous year and how I would like to move forward. I prefer to sit in my feelings, positive and negative, revisit situations to make sure I handled myself the best way I could have and offered up the best advice to those that asked.
So I am in agreement with you!
Edith C. says
I have certainly been happy, sad and overwhelmed from the events of 2022. So, I paused and asked God to help me. Now full of hope; I am better at being still and taking care of myself. 2023 is looking bright!