Granted, I may be tired this New Year’s day. Not that I was out late partying it up. My husband and I sat by the fire last night, watching the first Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve without Dick Clark. Neither of us drank — he out of solidarity with me, my sinus infection, and my antibiotics. At midnight, we kissed. And one minute after, we went to bed. Party animals.
So maybe it’s that I’m tired, or fighting this infection, but this year is, for me, the year of the Anti-Resolution.
I’m tired of all the aspiration. For the past few years, I have spent so much time aspiring to be a better, stronger, faster, slimmer and more bionic version of myself that I almost missed myself entirely. I have stared at pictures of unrealistically flat abs and ridiculously high paychecks. I have organized myself into that place of oblivion where my task-unstructured self can’t find anything. I have berated myself for my “D” personality and spent 100-Days not being good enough. I have counted Points, carbs, milestones, bills, scoreboards, miles. I have tracked pennies and failures, Christmas lists and meals. I have sought counsel and tried to go it alone. I have fought with my husband, yelled at my kids, and berated myself.
I’ve worked hard at working. Denied myself ice cream. Yelled at myself for being flaky. For not being a good enough wife, mother, friend, businesswoman, Christian.
And I’m tired. I want to rest. All this aspiring has skewed my priorities, gotten things mixed up and turned around. A wise woman taught me through her legacy, God First, Family Second, Career Third. While I always thought I was prioritizing my life according to those values, in that order, the truth is I had something that went before it all: Me and all my resolutions.
I spent a lot of time resolved to become something I wasn’t. All that resolving, all those aspirations took a lot of energy. All the planning, the strategizing, all that counting — all that emotional energy consumed me to the point where I focused so much on myself that I couldn’t see anything — including me!
When I began to focus on God — instead of me — it was as if He took my head, turned it to a mirror, and said, “Look. Look at my creation.”
Yeah. So I go through phases where I study something intensely for a period of time until I get bored and move on to something else. Maybe that makes me flaky. But it also makes me fairly educated about a number of various different topics, and therefore good dinner company.
I work in bursts of energy then retreat to a time of introspection. Maybe instead of berating myself for this, I should instead recognize that this is the way God made me and that there is value in it. That those bursts of energy can accomplish way more than many other people get done in a lifetime, and that if I allow myself the retreat, it will avoid things like sinus infections that keep me down for two weeks. That my cycles of productivity just might be God-given.
I’m really starting to get — just barely, but it’s there at the edge of my mind — the whole dying to self thing, this giving up your life so you can find it stuff. As I give up more of myself and let Jesus move in, He re-orders my priorities to be more aligned with His. I’m starting to think this is how I should move through my life. I thought that’s what I was doing, but I was really putting a lot of things before Jesus, and then a lot of things before my family and my home. As I allow Him to move in more, He gently takes me by the chin and shows me my home, my family, my priorities.
So this year I’m not making any resolutions. I’m not saying I’m not going to try to be better. But I am going to start seeing the beauty in how good I already am, and how good everything I have is.
I’m releasing all the aspirations and the goals and I’m going to let Jesus shape my future. I’m not going to make big claims about where I’m going, what I’m doing, or what I’m going to earn. I’m not going to try to control the future with my positive thoughts any more. There may come a time for that again, but for right now, I’m releasing it all and waiting to see what happens. And I’m going to start relishing in this creation that is me, instead of berating it. I’m going to let myself become whatever I’m supposed to become, without forcing it.
I’ll work out because I enjoy working out and what it does to my body and how it makes me feel. I’ll eat healthfully most of the time but indulge in my favorites often enough to not feel deprived. I’m not resolving to do this. Because maybe there will be times I won’t.
There are many people in my life who hope to mold me. I appreciate each and every one of you, and all your insights, correction, and even your rebukes have proved wonderfully useful to me. I hold them dear.
But it’s time for me to start understanding that God made me exactly the way He wanted me to be. There is beauty standing right in front of you. If you can’t see it, than I can’t help you.
And if, when I say that, if you think I’m talking about me, you got this post all wrong.