It's already 2024 for some of those within the ADOH community - or connected to us. Yesterday I headed to my website mulling over what I wanted to post (and why) as I thought about 2023 and pondered what might be ahead in 2024.
And then I spotted the January 2023 date for my last post. And sighed. It’s New Year’s Eve and social media posts about resolutions for the coming year reminded me of mine as 2022 ended. One was changing my level of connecting with those expressing interest in the ADOH work and community by setting a goal of sharing one post a month.
As I reflected, I considered what posting monthly would accomplish. With thoughts about the prevalence of relational trauma – and its significant impact on mental health and interpersonal relationships – I looked forward to sharing insights from others working in the betrayal trauma (and beyond) fields from a faith-based foundation. I focused on steps I’d need to take, including identifying what I needed to start doing as well as tasks I could stop without reducing my ability to effectively serve ADOH students and alumni.
As a certified life and relational coach, I place a high value on identifying and achieving goals. As I’ve continued growing in bringing a trauma-informed perspective to my work and personal life, I’ve also developed a deeper understanding of the importance of reflection before choosing resolutions for the coming year or setting achievable goals.
"'Reflection is a deeper form of learning that allows us to retain every aspect of any experience, be it personal or professional — why something took place, what the impact was, whether it should happen again — as opposed to just remembering that it happened. It's about tapping into every aspect of the experience, clarifying our thinking, and homing in on what really matters to us.’”
“Practicing self-reflection takes discipline and intentionality. It requires pressing pause on the chaos of life and simply taking the time to think and ponder about your life, which is not an easy thing for many people to do. But it’s an incredibly valuable practice.”
In describing the value of self-reflection, Dr. Mark Roberts, from Fuller University's Max DePree Center for Leadership offers some thoughts about using the Prayer of Examen as a self-reflection practice. His post includes links that explain further.
Now… coming back to my sigh
It wasn't just that I did not achieve my goal of posting every month that generated the sigh - I didn't come close. Previous to this season of life, I would have felt deep embarrassment and listened to whispers from the internal critic who likes to remind me of my "not-enoughness."
But I didn’t. I remembered living out of my core beliefs and values... setting aside time to ''be still and know' God, consulting with others, and then reflecting on my options, as well as why I made decisions related to both my ADOH responsibilities and in my personal life.
So what about 2024?
As I consider whether I want to write out some resolutions and/or set achievable goals for 2024, it’s thoughts from those like the following that will guide me to do so from a healthy, balanced perspective. Like Coach Erica's article. Erica describes a 'Non-woo, quick & effective annual reflection process" with some good insights and information. An article I'll come back to again!
Or this suggestion from Christian therapist/author Holley Gerth “Try Micro Goals Instead of New Year’s Resolutions”
"Last year I wanted so deeply to set new goals, dream big dreams, see past this current circumstance into what could be. But every time I sat down to brainstorm or hope, my mind would not cooperate. I found while my brain would not run happily into the future as I desired, it would take one small step at a time. It did, indeed, want to keep moving if I just found the right way to motivate it. For me, that turned out to be micro goals."
Or this about reflecting on “Longings Over Legalism in Your New Year’s Aspirations” from licensed trauma therapist/spiritual director Chuck DeGroat
“What if our year began in longing, though? This isn’t some contemporary therapeutic technique, but an ancient path. St. Augustine (4th century) himself said that grace begins in desire. And another early pastor and pleader in the church, Gregory Nanzianzus (4th century) said that “God accepts our desires as if they are of great value. So let us not be apathetic in our asking.”
Poet Ullie-Kaye words reflect the grace-upon-grace we hear from the heart of Jesus: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30, The Message
”It’s okay if you did not crush your goals this year
It’s okay if you held on by the skin of your teeth.
It’s okay if your heart didn’t stop hurting.
It’s okay if you still cry yourself to sleep some nights.
It’s okay if you don’t have extravagant plans.
It’s okay if you enjoy the peace of your own company.
It’s okay if you don’t enjoy the peace of your own company – yet, but you are trying
It’s okay to fall apart a little at every small reminder, and it’s okay if they don’t feel remotely small at all
It’s okay to rest as much as you need.
It’s okay to replenish yourself.
It’s okay to prioritize your well-being
It’s okay to bring whatever offerings you have
It’s okay to say no.
It’s okay not to be okay, you are still growing.
So what about you?
If you create a resolution for the year - what helps you do so?
Would you like to share your resolution with us? Please do so below.
And if you have questions about ADOH, you can reach me via email: email@example.com
God of all time, help us enter the New Year quietly, thoughtful of who we are to ourselves and to others, mindful that our steps make an impact and our words carry power.
May we walk gently.
May we speak only after we have listened well.
Creator of all life, help us enter the New Year reverently, aware that you have endowed every creature and plant, every person and habitat with beauty and purpose.
May we regard the world with tenderness.
May we honor rather than destroy.
Lover of all souls, help us enter the New Year joyfully, willing to laugh and dance and dream, remembering our many gifts with thanks and looking forward to blessings yet to come.
May we welcome your lavish love. May we cast off the small, vindictive god our fears have made. May the grace and peace of Christ bless us now and in the days ahead. Vinita Hampton Wright