Idea for a New Years: do what fills you up.
Welcome to 2024! It’s that time of year that many of us make New Years Resolutions. If you’re like me and resolutions aren’t your thing, maybe you make a goal instead? Honestly, neither ever seems to work out for me. A whole year is a long time to resolve to go to the gym four times a week. It’s even a long time to keep up with a goal to lose 20 pounds. A year is really just… a long time!
Going into 2024, I’ve been reflecting on the time that was maybe the most fulfilling in my life. It wasn’t when I first got married. Definitely wasn’t when I had my babies. No, the most fulfilling time of my life was in 2020.
Yes, I do remember 2020.
I am well aware 2020 was the COVID lock-downs and mask wearing era. Sometimes it feels like a bad dream remembering saying goodbye to Joshua at spring break and not seeing him until August. Those months were incredibly difficult, finishing the semester at home and wondering when I’d see him again. For so long, we didn’t even know if Texas Tech would reopen. And for us, a lot more than our last years of college was riding on that. Because I knew he was intending to propose when we returned to school.
Yet, those months at home, I felt fuller than I had felt in a long time.
I spent a lot of my time in college working retreats in the Catholic Student Association. We had retreats every semester for fellow college students. A smaller group of us traveled around the diocese to do retreats for middle and high school students. I went to Mass and adoration every week. Life was immersed in Catholic culture at college. I lost all of that when COVID shut down my school and sent me home.
That meant the burden of immersion in my faith rested on me.
I truly felt more fulfilled in that time that I ever did in college. In the morning I started a routine of exercising while listening to Ascension Presents. I read books in the afternoon about faith and relationships. After gathering a group of women friends, I started reading every week with them over zoom.
I was challenged for the first time in my life to make my faith part of my everyday life. Without any help.
Going to Mass nearly daily in college was a great way to make my faith my life. Adoration is nothing but food for the soul. But at the same time, it can be easy to make our faith “checking boxes.” We can reach a point where our routine needs to be switched to keep being effective. Especially in college, we can become numb to the effects of what we’re doing.
When Mass, adoration, retreats, and routine were taken away, I was left with myself. I could not derive fulfillment from exterior factors. The need came to fulfill myself, for myself. With no one around me to help. That time in my life of exercising my body and feeding my soul with God’s influence was the most fulfilling of my life.
So, as we welcome 2024, I invite you to answer the question: what fills you up? Then, do it.