What were your New Year’s resolutions when you began 2018? Lose weight? Exercise more? Become a better mom or dad or spouse? Maybe you didn’t make any promises as you launched into a new year, but like me, you had worries or stressors that could greatly impact your life for better or for worse in 2018. Because of these anxieties, beginning the new year can come with “what ifs” or the “maybe nots,” and what should be celebrated as a fresh start can serve as a reminder of another year full of the weighty pressure.
Worry can affect not only our attitude or thoughts about our circumstances, but it can also negatively affect our physical health, our sleep, and interfere with lifestyle choices. My 2018 began with the details of our adoption process, which can bring about its own worries when preparing the applications and completing the home study and covering the finances. Becoming overwhelmed with the process to begin adoption erased from our minds any thought of a New Year’s resolution and replaced it with a progression of anxiety with all that was going on in our lives and what we wanted to have happen.
Once we had completed all the necessary documents, background checks, home study visits, and much more, we were told to just wait for potential matches as we pursued adoption. Something that we had no control over, but wanted so badly, would consume our thoughts and conversations. We would go to bed wondering about a prospective birth mother we had sent our profile to and wake up speculating when we would receive the next possible situation to consider.
Spending our time worrying and having an anxious heart over something that we could not regulate nor push the process any faster started to affect our moods, the attitudes we had as a family and the responses we would have toward those closest to us when we were asked questions about our adoption process. Our 2018 represented a family that clung more to an intangible anxiety than to an idea of hope.
How can we change our perspective and be better prepared for the ups and downs on an adoption journey or just in life? A friend of mine calls it front-loading. If you’re an athlete and have a big race coming up that will expend a ton of energy, you must carb-load in the days and hours before the race to prepare your body to have a better performance during the race and faster recovery time once it is finished.
So, in life, when we are experiencing the highs and the lows, front-loading will help us be our best in the midst of the experience. We don’t have to front-load by worrying about what could happen, but by taking care of ourselves, physically, mentally, and spiritually, we can be better prepared to approach a situation when it comes our way. In our family, we front-load by prayer and building our faith so that we have a solid foundation if we face something difficult. We also have a close-knit group of family and friends that we rely on to provide an atmosphere of love and be encouragers for the good and the bad. We also try to be the best version of ourselves by getting enough sleep and taking breaks when we need them, being physically healthy and having fun. Front-loading our lives will make the highs more enjoyable and make a softer fall for the lows. Front-loading also keeps our perspective about life headed in the right direction so that when life takes an unexpected turn, it makes it easier to get back on the right path to the bigger picture.
We choose to begin our 2019 different and better than our previous year. We have learned so much through a year of adoption ups and downs that our focus has changed. Our commitment to adoption hasn’t wavered, but our attitude in the process will reflect our growth as we see the hope to come. Instead of beginning our year with worries over situations that are out of our control, whether they be adoption-related, family absorbed, or other issues that may arise out of our imperfect lives, we are choosing to see the hope in what is to come and surrendering our control when our hands have nothing to grasp. I choose to see the potential in what our story will become instead of antagonizing the details along the way.
My faith has grown in place of my ability to govern the unexpected. Here’s to 2019, a year of hope in place of worry, truth instead of fear, and peace instead of conflict.
Jill is a 31-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 4-year-old and 3-month-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.