[I have no idea where this photo is from, but I love it. I found it on Pinterest. If anyone knows where it came from, I will gladly give credit!]
But I didn't meet, or really even work on my dream for this project. I had high hopes, then just didn't do. I have plenty of reasons why I didn't. It was VBS time. I had a massive cold. Maybe it's not the right dream for this phase of my life. I'm thinking, partially, that the problem was it's not a big enough dream at this time in my life for me to be motivated enough to set time aside for it. And that's okay.
During this 24 day experiment, I did make progress on my fitness goals. I kept up with my fitness challenges, and made it to the gym a few times (when my health allowed me to). I made a giant workout calendar counting down til the main event (more details later). And I love the atmosphere of the group! Every time I log into Facebook I'm greeted with silliness and dream-chasing, which makes it impossible to not make progress in some way.
But, the first-ever Start Experiment is over now. We live, we learn, we move on....to Round Two! The second-ever Start Experiment starts Sunday and the theme is "Audacious". Exciting!
I've been debating whether or not to stay on for this second round, because lately I've just felt lousy. My cold is finally clearing up, but I'm just exhausted in every possible way. I've even slept through my alarm clock(s) three days this week, which is so not like me! I've neglected this blog. I've neglected my journaling. I've been doing the bare minimum of life. So I've felt like I don't have the energy to take on this new challenge.
But today I was thinking. And internet surfing. Which led me to a bunch of posts about introverts (particularly this one from a fellow Starter). Now, I've know since before I knew the word that I was an introvert. But today I realized that it's probably a major cause of my problem right now. I spent July so super busy with very little down time: I had my usual work, ministry, family/friends commitments, plus two very big, very draining events, and a few smaller ones. Then we slammed into August, with life and parties and again, I've given myself no real rest. At all. I realized last week that I haven't made it to the river once yet this summer. And I LOVE the river. It's my happy place, and I haven't been in over a year. The one true day off I had in 7 weeks I had planned to go but it was stormy.
So, my risk for Round Two (and this might seem weird to some of you), is to be selfish. Not just at 5am, like Acuff says, but all the time. For the 24 days of the Experiment I'm going to be selfish as much as possible. I'm going to say no to things. I'm going to intentionally take one day completely off each week for Ashley time. I'm going to get a pedicure. I'm going to go to the river. I'm going to dig into my Bible. I'm going to eat healthy and get my exercise in every day. I'm going to read lots. And swim. I haven't gone swimming all summer. I'm going to blast my music and dance around my room. I'm going to dream of my next project. I'm going to do whatever I feel like doing to recharge and relax. I believe that this is the only way I will be able to continue the things I need to do.
"But Ashley," you're saying, "The experiment is about punching fear in the face and being audacious! How can you punch fear in the face or be audacious if you're not doing anything?"
Great question. Have you looked at the definition of audacious? I like the third one on dictionary.com the best: recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or the like;
Convention says I need to accomplish something big in this time. But really, I know myself. If I push myself to do do do this month, I will spend the rest of the year sick, tired, and stressed, wanting to give up the things I love doing. I don't want to get to that point. So I'm going to be selfish. And that is scary! I've still got bills to pay, a ministry to run, and this isn't a goal many people will fully understand. But if I'm going to be happy, healthy, and doing everything God designed me for, then I need to take the time to be selfish.
It's hard, but I have to. And I have to learn how to better juggle all these different things with regular Ashley-time. So that's my goal for this next round of StartExp: to be selfish and learn how to make true rest a part of my life.
What do you think about my plan to be selfish? Have you or do you do something similar? How do you incorporate real rest into your crazy life?