I am a chicken. Always have been. Probably always will be. Rubber chickens got nuthin on me. I avoid confrontation like the plague and choose personal suffering over having the last word, speaking my mind, or “being right” anytime, every time, even when I know am fully in the right. I am trying to have more confidence and more boldness in word and deed; in fact, that is one of my goals for 2018- to be LESS CHICKEN and MORE BOLD. Some folks seem to have a natural knack for being both confident and kind, but I lack that particular trait, and am in fact generally spineless in the face of adversity. At least I can honestly say I am kind…?
Inevitably, as a year draws to a close, I reflect on the months past and what I accomplished or neglected to accomplish in that time, usually spending much more time considering what is left undone than what I did manage to complete. That alongside setting out with great hopes and aspirations into the unknown frontier of a new calendar year is certainly nothing new to me or anyone else. In school and in the workforce, each year (calendar or academic) is marked by reviews, grades, goal-setting, and points along the way used to define our successes and “opportunities for improvement.” For me personally and professionally, 2017, if I’m completely honest with myself, was defined by anxiety; which at its base is fear; and fear at its base, is pride. It was also thankfully marked with great kindnesses displayed by myself and to me by others, sometimes friends & family, and other times by complete strangers I will never see again. May God bless them all. 2017 was marked by deepest of depressions, angst in decision-making, second-guessing, anxiety to the point of near madness, anger to the point of mind-scrambling rage, and months of being completely shut down. I say this to my shame.
So what would it take for me to conquer my fears once and for all? To live BOLDLY, with confidence? I believe the answer is the opposite of fear: faith. I am a believer in Christ, have been for over twenty of my forty-eight years. That faith in Him is central to who I am and I continue to build my life on that belief system as I see and understand it in the Word of God. As is common for most humans, I struggle greatly with the original sin, pride, from which all other sin is derived. How I like to believe I am kind, loving, generous, selfless, and humble! But in my heart of hearts, though I may do good things and truly can quickly and easily forgive others, it is certainly true that those worthy and lofty traits I so love to believe I possess, often escape me in practice. Theory is so readily believed and thought, and embarrassingly rapidly forgotten in practical application. Faith in practice– easily believed & spoken, not so easily practiced. Seldom, if not never, has this been more true for me than this year.
One of my greatest challenges has been that my Mom has dementia. She was diagnosed February 2, 2017, after months of falls, increasing confusion, paranoia, anxiety, and more. 2017 for me was a struggle to find some SHRED of peace about the fact that Mom is going to continue to be hostile and angry toward me, her primary caregiver, MPOA (Medical Power of Attorney), and DPOA (Durable Power of Attorney). Given that 2017 is now in the past, I shall look back on it as memory and my notes serve, along with thoughts I need to express throughout 2018. And with the help of God Almighty I shall try to be confident, bold, and as fearless as I can possibly be. Perhaps penning my thoughts via blogging will be cathartic, as writing usually is for me. God help me this year, not knowing exactly what is coming with Mom, but knowing I see many blessings have been given in this the first year of our dementia journey- certainly not the least of which has been Mom’s financial savings, which has allowed her to live in a nice ALF (Assisted Living Facility) where I can know she is being cared for and even loved on a daily basis. And the fact that my husband has proven, as always, to be my rock. Without him I have absolutely no doubt I would not have survived this year. Why he loves me as he does is a mystery. And one of the greatest blessings I have ever had in my life.
Things I know are coming quickly in 2018 are many more difficult decisions and challenges to me emotionally, mentally, and physically as I prepare Mom’s estate and get things in order for the months and possibly the next few years as her dementia progresses.
THIS chicken is praying for BOLD FAITH in 2018. What are you praying for?