Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014

photo credit--Miss Lily Jane Denton
Refine, huh?

Now that's a word.  Just happens to be my one-word resolution for 2014.

How am I doing with it? you ask.  Funny you should ask that question. It's a question I ask myself many times a week, and I can't seem to get a straight answer from myself--just some rambly, disjointed ideas bouncing around, refusing to link together very coherently.

Today, however, is February 28th, and I am contractually bound to respond.  So . . . respond I will.
photo credit--Mr. Micah T. Denton
A few weeks ago, someone asked me what refine meant on my necklace. Before I could answer, he said, "That's your word this year, isn't it?  How's that going?"  I thought for a second before replying, "I don't know.  It just doesn't quite seem to fit me yet."  He caught my attention with his response: "That's okay. The year is still new.  There's still time."

He is so right.

Last month, I felt like Elsa from Frozen.  I tried to just "Let It Go," but as I tried to let go, I found I simultaneously needed to hang on, and that dichotomy almost paralyzed me.

February 2014 changed me. I don't know if I can articulate the change well, but I don't need to, because C. S. Lewis did. He wrote:
 “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."     --Mere Christianity
February was a time where I recognized change coming over me--a priority shift, a redefinition of myself.  I found February to be one of those pivotal moments in life--those times when you learn so much about yourself and your role in life that you are forever changed.  That sounds quite dramatic, doesn't it?

Well, it wasn't.

Like I tried to express in this post, my brain is constantly thinking and processing and applying and learning. As I experience this learning process from a more mature position than ever before, I am beginning to see a few of my flaws in more realistic light.  I see so many times that I've failed, but instead of lingering on the failure, I'm seeing the possibility to alter the future through active redirection, repentance, and action.

We don't have to ride in the same train car forever. We don't have to read the same books or wear the same clothes or be defined by who we've always been. The future is ours . . . to mold, to actively participate in, and to transform.

I don't know exactly where I'm headed, but I know that the ride is exciting--more exhilarating when I embrace God's hand in my life instead of thinking I know which track the train should use. I see that I don't need to have perfect attendance or perfect design or perfect children or perfect . . . ANYTHING . . . as long as I'm on the train (a train on a roller coaster track), and as long as I trust the conductor. I know I'm happier when I make sure I prioritize a few things in my day EVERY DAY, and when I don't, I no longer go to bed berating myself. Now I try to end the day by analyzing my efforts and forgiving myself, waking to the gift of a new day with a clean slate and fresh hopes.

I still have many days (most days, even) where I backslide. Days when I make big mistakes that I have to face. Days when I forget that perfect isn't the only acceptable outcome. Days when I wish I'd stayed in bed.

Samuel Beckett wrote:
 "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
That's now my goal each day: Fail better.

Here I am, 44 years old, and I'm finally beginning to see.


  1. jen i love this. i think for so long i have been trying to do a better job at succeeding, but as we are starting to talk about having another baby the thing that i have really been thinking about is not how to have it go well, but how to have myself respond better to things and change not going well. i love love LOOOOOVE how you put it. "fail better." this is a great motto. thank you!

  2. I love that quote from CS Lewis, we often don't really know what is really happening, the bigger picture, but we do just have to step back and keep the faith and keep trying. And yes if we fail big it means we are living big and trying and then we might just win big too.