begin: for when you can’t quite hit the new year running

begin - for when you can't quite hit the new year running - @poetryjoy.com

Dear reader, I’m curious about something: did you hit the new year running, eagerly embracing resolutions, ready for the new and the next, planning and pushing ahead to your heart’s content? If so, that’s great and I rather envy you. 😏

Or are you more like me: crawling on your knees, flattened with illness and fatigue, and sighing because January finds you less than fit and able? The latter? Please raise  or vaguely wave your weary arm in my direction. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

For years, without fail, I’ve always succumbed to flu or a heavy cold before the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over. Each January I’m hugging the duvet, coughing into my pillow and barely surfacing.

Sadly it’s not due to enjoying myself, but because I have a faulty, inefficient immune system that easily succumbs to viruses and overexertion of any kind. I keep hoping things will improve. But they haven’t. Not yet.

Experience has taught me to listen and act on the information I hear from my depleted body. Namely to rest and take care of myself. Because trying to press on in the face of increasing debility has never been a good plan for me. It only exacerbates my pre-existing chronic conditions.

One thing that never stops being active and running like a mad thing is my mind, even when my body stills due to increased sickness. Yours too, perhaps? It chunters on like it’s got something really important to process, while my weakened body is trying to shush it into silent, restful submission.

begin - god replenishes, restores and revives quote (c)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

And I’ve been mulling over what to write. How do we begin again when we’re feeling lethargic, muddy-headed or uninspired? The wonder is that whenever our well, our energy, inspiration or abilities run dry, we only need to ask and God replenishes, restores and revives our limited supplies. And we can begin again with Him any time we need to.

The poem below came to me as I was resting. May it speak to all who are in the throes of illness or lack creative inspiration. I’m also rejoicing that my current ailment seems to be more of a persistent cold than full-blown flu this time. Hooray! Progress!

Writer’s woes

I want to begin
make a mark on this page
this year
on the lives of others
with my thoughts and words

I don’t know how
to begin to write a thing
without assistance
because my brain is muffled
and my thoughts are befuddled

I am uncertain
wondering how to choose
what will speak
louder than my husky voice
of love and grace, hope and faith

in the end
all I have is willing hands
empty though they be
just waiting to be filled
before a drop can be spilled

holy whispers
encourage me to start
right where I am
with surrender, trust and truth
as inspiration filters through
© joylenton

begin - writer's woes poem excerpt - new year (c)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Praise God for gifting this snuffly writer with something to say when she felt empty! Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. 😉 Do let me know how you are, especially if you’re also below par, and we can pray for one another.

Never forget that rest, recovery and healing are vital soul and body work. You and I might begin this year slow like tortoises but we can still end strong by the grace of God. With love and virtual (germ-free) hugs to you. xo 💜

19 thoughts on “begin: for when you can’t quite hit the new year running

  1. You definitely make a mark on my life, Joy. 🙂 A great one! This really resonates with me. Your vulnerability makes me feel more understood in this chronic illness battle. Again and again I try to act tough and ignore signs and tell myself “I can do this,” (often because I don’t want to let people down) even though in my gut I know I’ll pay for it. Sigh… I really wish I’d learn… And be more accepting of God’s plan for me. My heart desires and my limitations aren’t always cooperative with each other. Your tortoise example gives me hope, too. 🙂 “You and I might begin this year slow like tortoises but we can still end strong by the grace of God.” Yes, there is so much hope and encouragement in that. 🙂 Love and blessings to you!

    • How generous, caring and kind you are, Trudy! I feel the same way about you. 😉 Being open and vulnerable about our chronic illness struggles is hard sometimes, but I think it’s worth it if we can help another person to feel less alone with their problems, hurt and pain. I tend to want to not write about it much, even if it’s a dominant, unavoidable feature of my life. Yet now and then it overwhelms to the point where I cannot avoid mentioning it.
      What encourages me and you to share is when we’re met with understanding, kindness and grace instead of bewilderment, rejection or derision. I have this difficulty too: “My heart desires and my limitations aren’t always cooperative with each other.” Indeed! We might feel like slow, laborious tortoises compared to most, but it’s a pace that enables us to be sensitive to others, and to learn to observe and smell the roses on the way. Love and blessings to you too, dear friend! xo 💜

  2. I am beginning slowly, resting as much as possible! I too have been battling various viruses but now the battle is more of energy. So, leaning in and that is just fine. Get well!

  3. Hi, I’m having trouble leaving my comment on your post, a password snafu, and I’m too tired to sort it (Don’t I sound almost British?) 🙂 🙂

    Dear Joy, I too am resting these days, listening closely for God’s healing instruction. Living slowly. Listening some more.

    And I’m calling my recovery a micro-sabbatical, a chance to be a student and willing apprentice of (among other things) this line from Hafez:

    “Stay close to the sounds that make you feel alive.”

    Hope you feel better soon, dear Joy.

    Love to you!

    Laurie

    • Dear Laurie, I think you have similar sensitivities and SOH to us Brits! And I hate those technical gremlin glitches as well. 😏 Your days sound similar to mine too. May “healing instruction” soothe your soul, and your active listening provide fodder for your personal life, creativity and walk of faith.
      A micro-sabbatical is a beautiful expression for these slowed down days of leaning and listening with less distraction than before. I could ponder the Hafez quote for days, if not months. Richness indeed.
      I’m already feeling brighter and better due to the lovely comments here and faithful praying friends. May your recovery include further fruitful soul pondering. Lots of love and gentle hugs to you! 💜

  4. Oh Dear Joy, Yes, I can so relate to that position of slowness and rest. I am so very grateful for the ways that you bring such encouragement through your words. Even from your weariness you find a way to invite us into the search, to ask God for His own dear wholeness in the midst of our breaking. I love the imagery that you have painted of open and empty hands, waiting for His filling yet again. He doesn’t tire of our waiting, does He? Oh thank the Lord for His graciousness to us! And thank you for sharing your gracious heart here also. May He bless you with restored health and energy through these days of resting my friend! Gentle Hugs and Love across the pond! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, I thought of you as I wrote this post, knowing how much your life has been forcibly stilled and slowed due to chronic illness, and that you would appreciate how it feels. So it’s a joy to hear you have been encouraged here in your own weariness.
      We’re constantly seeking God’s “own dear wholeness in the midst of our breaking” and His strength poured into our weak and weary days. It’s a wonder to witness His prompt response to our needs and His loving remedy for our hurting hearts and lives.
      God’s graciousness, mercy and compassion toward us inspire us to go and do likewise to others. May “restored health and energy” and better pain relief be yours, my friend. Love and hugs to you too! xoxo 💜

  5. I can’t say that I hit the New Year running either… after making it through the season, with my body and soul exhausted, I typically crash. Thanks for the reminder that even when we are down, the Spirit speaks to us ❤️❤️

    • Michael, you have such a busy and heavy schedule during Advent and Christmas, so it’s not too surprising if you crash afterwards. And yet you keep on giving. You keep on serving the Body of Christ. And God keeps giving you strength and energy enough to go on day by day, caring and praying for people, ministering to the flock. Because He calls, anoints, equips and gives you grace to come alongside and share with others. May a proper Sabbath break restore and refresh you in body, mind and soul. Blessings of rest to you, Brother. ❤

  6. Oh, Joy, I do love this and I appreciate your poem so much! I certainly didn’t hit the new year running. I was fighting a cough for awhile and we had a car accident that left our car in need of work which we are still waiting for. And other things here and there and sometimes it feels like it’s too hard to write, but I just need to remember to wait on God. He will give the words in His timing. Blessings to you, dear sister/poet/friend! Thank you for your encouragement. Much love! xoxo

    • Dear Gayl, I’m sorry you have been fighting a cough for a while. It’s so wearying. My husband has had a bad cough for over a month now but it seems to be less frequent than it was. And I’m so sorry to hear about your car accident. Such incidents can shock, shake and worry us. I hope you weren’t hurt at all. It’s often the way that trouble seems to multiply when we feel least able to cope with it. Then we turn to God with greater urgency than before. Maybe you need to wait for words to arrive while you wait for the car to be sorted. I find that words tend to come in waves and swells or trickles. But they do return even though we might fear they never will! I’m grateful if this post encouraged you, dear friend. May you rest and recover your equilibrium, along with the inspiration to write freely again. God is faithful. He’s not in a hurry. And He might just want you to rest a bit first. Much love, blessings and hugs! xoxo 💜

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