I had 15 minutes until I was on to speak. I was prepared, I was ready, and I was sitting in the front seat in the parking lot sobbing.
This is how I knew it was time for a break.
I used to think that life was a balancing act—that if I was careful and centered enough, I’d somehow be able to balance all the things I care about at once, not letting a single one fall.
But in this last season—with my book coming out, and work booming, and my fingers flying over my keyboard at a rate even my brain can’t keep up with—I’ve discovered that at least in my life, that’s rarely true.
Life for me, especially in the last few months, has looked much more like the pendulum swing of a grandfather clock. Heavily to one side, heavily to the other. Heavily towards stress, and no sleep, and squeezing out every word, bit of wisdom, and ounce of energy I have, and then taking a break—at least that was my intention.
But there I was in the parking lot, realizing with tears rolling down my cheeks that the pendulum hadn’t swung in the other direction in a really long time.
I don’t know how you get when you’re over-tired and stressed, but I cry. I cry a lot. Poor Carl has had to wipe more than a few tears these last few weeks—my tears making a puddle on his shoulder until his t-shirt is wet and salty all the way through.
So there in the car, with fewer and fewer minutes to spare before I was in front of people, needing to be wise and charming at once, I realized I needed to make a change.
From my teary spot in the front seat, I knew that if I let life go on this way, if I didn’t stand in the middle of traffic, with my hands out, stopping the busyness that kept coming and coming and coming, I was going to crack. Life wasn’t going to stop; I was going to have to make it stop.
So I’ve decided to make December my month of re-filling, of pouring back in all that I’ve spent so long pouring out. December is the month where I’m saying, no, and stop, and not right now, not today, instead of yes, and of course, and right away, and I totally have time for that!
I’m throwing my hands up to the busyness that keeps rushing past and saying “enough,” and I’m doing it very much on purpose.
So in the spirit of intentionality, I’ve decided to make some intentions for the month. I wanted to share them with you, and invite you to make some right along with me. Let’s make December a month of intention—intentionally steering our lives toward a more full, more restful, richer way of living.
My December Intentions:
1. Care for my body
Full disclosure—healthy eating and exercise haven’t been at the top of my to-do list recently. I think they never are when things get truly busy and chaotic. And so this month, I’m wiggling them back up to the top. The gym, and cooking, and healthy foods are going to be a priority. No more excuses. I want to take better care of my body, and that has to be an intentional decision.
2. Slow mornings
Something that filled my spiritual life to the brim for years was waking up early and spending time with God each morning. In the past few months I’ve been terrible at that—choosing the snooze button every time. But this month I’m working to change things.
I’m going through Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift, an Advent devotional, and intentionally slowing down and spending each morning with God even if just for a few minutes.
3. No new projects
This is the most freeing, rebellious-feeling intention of all. I’m not starting anything new until the first of the year. I have a long list of writing projects I want to dive into—book ideas, and other fun things I can’t wait to try. But for now, I’m saying no. In fact, I’m saying no to anything extra these days, and it feels incredible.
Those are my intentions for December. I’m going to work hard at carving out time for those things because right now they feel like the most important things I can do for my body, my mind, and my soul.
And so far, way less tears. So I think I’m on the right track.
How about you? What are your intentions for December?
P.S. Here’s a podcast episode all about setting goals and intentions for the year or for whatever season you are in.