Who can believe that we are on the verge of turning the page on the month of January? For some unknown reason, I normally think of January as my slow month. The month where I am going to get my life "together", purge my closets of unneeded items, and reflect on what is most important. For those of you with a scorecard- I accomplished 1 out of the 3, but only by accident.
In my attempt to feel like my life is "together", I found a highly recommended planner. It has all of the things I need to keep my life on track and help me make the plans to accomplish the goals that I set for myself for 2018. The planner arrived right before the children arrived home for Christmas vacation. It went right to my desk to wait patiently for me to arrive to start using all of its wonderful features. The Nomatics planner has all of the pages that I was looking for in a planner including a streamlined and simple layout. My only problem in January was choosing to find the time to fill in the pages. (You can find out more about the planner here.) In January, I discovered: Tools are only good if you use them.
Moving to a smaller home (I know I keep promising the move will happen, we are getting closer every day!) I need to continue to let some things in our house leave so that someone else can enjoy them. Letting things go can be an emotional experience, one that I tend to push down the road to another day when I tell myself that I will have more time and more emotional bandwidth to deal with the separation. As each day in January filled with other, more "pressing" duties, the final closet/basement purge has yet to happen.
Thankfully, I did accomplish one thing this month that was probably more important than "getting organized" or "purging my belongings". I was able to get away for a weekend retreat-- a spiritual recharge. The retreat, hosted by the Marist Alumni, was just what I needed to regain a sense of calm and peace in a time when all things in my life feel a bit chaotic and out of my control. This retreat has been on my calendar for months, but because I am not using a planner very well, it snuck up on me. I did not have the time to gather all my "spiritual reading" and make my mind up in advance about how God was going to speak to me. I was forced by the confluence of "busy" and "chaotic" to enter into the retreat with no preconceived agenda and arrived a blank slate to allow the Holy Spirit to do what the Holy Spirit wanted to do. This was liberating and I am hopeful that I can hold onto this interior disposition as I enter Lent.
February is going to be my reset month. Lent is the perfect time to take stock of what is working in my life and what is not. A time to test out new Spiritual Disciplines to see what stirs in my soul. A time to set aside my physical comfort to recognize that the Holy Spirit is the true Power that can order my days and direct my steps, if only I allow Him the freedom to work within me.
As we turn the pages of our planners-- or swipe the screen to a new month-- pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him what you can do to cooperate with Him this Lent to grow more deeply in love with God. Allow Him to fill you. Pray for eyes to see His glory and a heart open to trust in His unfailing and powerful love.
Ash Wednesday is February 14, think about what practical things you need to do to start preparing yourself for the arrival of the season of Spiritual Reset. Next week I will have some ideas about some Spiritual Practices you may want to try during Lent.