Here I am, in a new year, with a new president, with new heartbreaks every day, with new headlines weighing me down.
Here I am, stuck in the tension of too much information, but wanting to stay informed.
Here I am, craving slowness and stillness and silence, but also needing to be connected for my career.
Here I am, wanting to fight for justice and the causes I care about while also wanting to protect my own heart and take care of myself and my people well.
Here I am, wanting to be my healthiest self, but being tempted by what is fast and easy and convenient.
Here I am, in the middle, in so many areas.
Here I am, wanting, needing, desperately seeking changes.
I don't have the right answer.
I don't have a magic formula.
I can't throw away all the technology and live in a remote wilderness where news won't reach me.
I can't live an entirely cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly lifestyle, even though I'm vegan and try to be as green as possible.
I can't abandon my responsibilities to do only the things I love all day long.
The tension can feel overwhelming. The confusion can be daunting. The constant stream of noise can just be deafening. The unanswered questions, the moral dilemmas, the desire for justice, the need for rest, the battles between religion and culture, the fake news piling up on top of what I wish was fake news... it's just all so much. Does it feel that way to you, too?
So what do we do?
What can I possibly do to make this better?
ow can I attempt to stay sane, to stay focused, to stay hopeful?
How can the hope I have in Christ truly anchor my soul, and how can my trust and faith in a good God keep me working, acting, loving, and fighting the good fight?
I think we must start small. We must find all the little things we can change, tweak, adapt, remove, add, start, or stop. We must start somewhere. We must not stop there, though. We must continue down this journey of personal growth, step by step, little by little, for the rest of our days. There isn't a destination we will reach where we've figured it out, but I think we can make progress that will help and be healthy and be worth it.
So here I am, starting small.
Here's what I've been doing and will continue to do:
Turning all my notifications off on my phone (except texts and calls)
Putting "do not disturb" on from 9 pm to 8 am every day, without fail, and putting my phone out of sight then, too
Charging my phone across the room at night so it isn't within reach
Using the Kiwake app to get up in the mornings
Donating monthly to an organization working with Syrian refugees
Wearing a FitBit to track my steps, flights of stairs, heart rate, water intake, etc
Making my FitBit steps goal within reasonable reach but not without definite effort
Drinking 100 ounces of water every day
Making a legit budget on Mint
Canceling Amazon Prime
Canceling other unnecessary monthly memberships
Tithing to my church
Reading my Bible in the mornings, every morning
Taking my vitamins daily
Deleting the Facebook app from my phone
Not buying books for all of 2017
Reading many, many books, though (with a goal of 150 total for the year)
Reading books by diverse authors
Reading classic literature
Saving extra money toward my goals through the Qapital app
Setting goals in my PowerSheets
Unsubscribing to anybody trying to sell me anything
Unfollowing accounts that cause me to spend money, compare myself harshly, judge unfairly, or have any other negative and unhealthy reaction
Praying every hour when my FitBit buzzes at the :50 minute mark
Writing and doodling my sermon notes every week
Keeping a salt lamp on both at work and at home
Not eating out as much as possible
Using a humidifier
Praying for the president and our nation's leaders (even though it's hard, and especially because it's hard)
Diffusing essential oils
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
Purging my belongings (again and again and again)
Not watching the news
Following varied and diverse news sources online
Only checking the news intentionally twice a day instead of constantly being bombarded with it
Spending my morning commute in total silence in my car
Reading before bed
Journaling morning pages when I wake up
Removing added sugar from my coffee
Removing sidebars on my blog that were attempts to sell people products they probably don't need
Following diverse voices on Twitter
Writing little love letters to mail to friends at least once a week
Praying out loud when I'm by myself
Growing herbs from seeds in my kitchen
Going on walks without my headphones
Leaving my hair in its natural state instead of straightening or curling it
Removing clutter anywhere I can
Eliminating plastics from my kitchen to use glass instead
Talking to close friends about the hard things in life
Reading poetry often
Engaging in conversations about things that are bigger than me
Sponsoring a child
Making art just for the sake of making art
Listing the little things I'm thankful for in my 1,000 gifts journal
Tell me, sweet friends, what little things are you doing to help keep yourself sane and balanced? What are you doing to live well despite the tension?
One year ago on the blog: The Good People
Two years ago on the blog: Soaking Up Shallow Waters
Three years ago on the blog: #TheBachelorWedding and Jesus on TV