Friday, January 25, 2013

thankful for goals

i'm really late . . as in i haven't done a thankful thursday in a while.   i stopped doing anything when blogger told me one day that it wasn't accepting any more pictures.   i just took a break for a while.   when i came back to it, i finally figured it out and started posting again.   after a few weeks, i realized that i hadn't done a thankful thursday.   things were still really crazy, so i let it go for a while.   i'm getting things back together again so i thought i should get back in my gratituding habit.   i can feel the difference of not coming up with something every week actually.   i thought i was still pretty grateful but this looney blog seems to keep me thinking or something.

i started out thinking i wanted to do goals this week because of something that came up in a conversation the other day.   someone was saying that they didn't know anyone in church and had few friends with the same moral and spiritual values.   she was frustrated but found some comfort in groups and blogs on-line.    i happened on her comment and encouraged her to try again to make friends at church.   i told a quick version of something that i did several years ago.

i am naturally a very shy person.   i don't trust my social instincts.   i am very adept at shutting down a conversation with some strange observation that makes sense to me but everyone else finds, well, strange.   i recognize this in myself.   unfortunately, i see it in my son as well.   hoping i can help him though it.   anyway, i try to keep a conscience reign on my thought processes.   i have learned to recognize the feeling i have when i am going off into my own strange regions of my head and can usually hold myself off or just drop out of the conversation and listen until i can bring myself back.   don't worry, i don't go wandering off into anything totally disturbing or anything like that.   in fact,  i know several people that have the same strange places and we happily go wandering off into our weirdness all the time.   not a problem.   but i can't always just hang out with the people that understand all of me.   sometimes, i have to interact with people that are more "normal". that is just part of being social, making contacts, interacting with other parents, teachers, co-workers, etc.   been a long road of realizing and controlling.   i still had to overcome the shy thing.  

i did some praying about it.   i felt like i needed to just jump in.   i set a goal to say hello and intro myself to someone else very week.   a small goal.   simple, doable. . .terrifying but doable.

i did this for quite a while.  soon there were not any women left for me to intro myself to.   i didn't think going around intro-ing myself to the men was a good idea, but by that time, i was not nearly so shy.   i talked to new people every week.   it had become a habit for me to not only introduce myself but have a conversation with people i had not yet met.   i was no longer trying to overcome my shyness but hoping to make people feel welcome.   i went out of my way to speak to people new to church.   i had become more comfortable with other people in general.   over time, it was easier for me to speak with people outside church and in any situation.   still terrifying if i thought about it, but then, i didn't have to think about it so much.   it was more habit than anything.    no one believes me now when i tell them that i am shy.   i am still very shy, but no one believes me.

it's a good thing i followed that impression to go outside of my comfort zone.    i ended up making friends when i had to go to work.   then, God threw me into a new country.   new language, new culture, new people, new ways of communicating and dealing with a new kind of normal.   this would have been totally debilitating for me before.   i would have never been able to go and do and try with so many things working against me.   for the record, no one here believes that i am shy here either.    all because of a simple goal.

as i started writing this weeks edition, i realized that my goal to share my gratitude has really helped me.  it kept me looking up and lifted my attitude and the attitudes of those around me.

i realized something else as well.     i was ok with taking a step back when things got tough.   letting myself re-group.   allowing myself to set priorities and put some things down for a while without guilt or worry.      i still have goals in progress.   i am still struggling, working, setting and revising goals.   i realized that one goal can and probably should lead to another.   i realized how much one person can change themselves and the world around them, with the setting one simple goal.