Growing up, my grandmother talked about how the days flew by. I thought she was nuts, maybe losing her mind. Every hour seemed to last forever for me. I wanted to drive a car, go to high school, get a job so I had my own money, and be independent. For the most part, time lasted forever.
Now I understand where my grandmother was coming from.
Time flies by before I can capture all the nuances and beauty of the day. The fleeting hours remind me that life on earth won’t last forever.
There’s a scene in Saving Private Ryan that grips my heart. Private Ryan and his wife visit the cemetery at Normandy, where he finds the markers of the men who saved his life. The opening of the film shows Ryan going to his knees with wrenching sobs. It isn’t until the end of the film that we understand the burden he feels at this moment.
The question of living well haunts me.
Grandma’s words remind me that time is a limited commodity and it is important to realize how quickly it’s gone. What seemed like forever as a child has now been a blip. Life happened quickly.
As we approach the end of 2023 (didn’t we just start it ??? 🤯), take a few moments to review the year.
1. Where have you grown?
CS Lewis penned, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.” So true. You often miss the personal growth when it’s happening.
When dealing with betrayal recovery, I find you only see the healing by looking back. God and I have journeyed many recovery miles over the last decade plus. The beginning of this journey looked impossible. I felt sure nothing would ever be right again. What I didn’t understand then that I can see now: life wasn’t right then.
It felt like minuscule progress when I wanted to leap past the pain. Like a child, I couldn’t focus on the present because I strained to be done with recovery. Give me a series of steps, and I’ll check them off.
But growth happens in the moments, the lessons, the painful, and the productive. Only by learning patience first could I heal. Patience with myself to work through the depression. Patience with Dave to overcome his addiction. Patience to rebuild trust with God and then Dave. Patience to allow the Holy Spirit to do his work in Dave and me in his way and his time.
You have grown somehow. Take time to look back to one year ago. What do you notice about yourself? Look for positive growth. You can focus on the areas that still need work later.
Write each growth achievement down, no matter how insignificant you believe it to be. Turn off your inner critic (she gets enough time already). Acknowledge every bit of progress. I love to do this with my clients to help them see their progress when in the middle of the mess. CS Lewis understood this. Only when you look back can you see the things that are different.
2. Where do you want to be at the end of 2024?
Before you jump to goal setting, get into a comfortable private place. Turn off your phone, television, computer, tablet, and anything else electronic. Now close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. That’s it. Relax your body.
Using your imagination, look into the future one year. What do you want the end of 2024 to look like? Also, how will your relationship with your husband look? Dream BIG. Tell your inner critic to be quiet just a bit longer. She’ll get her chance.
Write out these goals as if they have already been met. Use the SMART goals concept. Right now, focus on personal and relational goals, which are harder to define.
What do you need to change in your relationship with your husband or significant other to bring healing to your relationship?
What thoughts or attitudes can you adopt to aid in your recovery?
How will making these changes improve your life and relationship?
Here is an example: “My husband and I love ballroom dancing together every two weeks. Ever since we started lessons, we’ve developed a new level of connection. It has helped our communication level improve. Plus, we have a lot of fun.”
During our recovery, one goal Dave and I adopted was to pray together daily. We specified it to be in the morning, holding hands and praying out loud. We adopted the concept of using sentence prayers, each one praying about what was on their heart. We didn’t do it perfectly, which wasn’t the point after all. But as we look back on our recovery journey, we are encouraged by our relational growth through this practice.
Use these two questions to spark your ability to live well and continue growing.
Time is finite. We can’t renew it. When it’s gone, it’s gone. But you can capture it and use it fully every day.
You aren’t bound to live the same way you’ve always lived.
God created you to grow, mature, change, adapt, and also to discover a rich life with him. Don’t believe the lie that you or your husband cannot change. You can. It’s your choice.
Not sure how to answer these questions without your inner critic drowning out any other rational thought? Please reach out. I promise to listen to your concerns and your inner critic and help you replace the negative thoughts with potential positives. Together, with God’s help, you will find your new path toward the life you desire. Let’s talk.