I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like them. I don’t keep them. So I don’t make them. I know that sounds like a lame cop-out. I just am too much of a perfectionist to set unrealistic goals and then have something come up mid-January to crush my dreams.
Despite my own issues, though, I love entering a New Year. I love the idea of starting over. Having a clean slate. Having a marker, a stake to drive into the ground, that says this year is done. Gone. Kaput. The New Year has come with all of its hopes, fears, and possibilities. With all of the new opportunities for adding purpose, for growing, for celebrating life.
And isn’t that what we really want for the new year?
So while I may not make New Years resolutions, there are definitely things that I would like to do differently. There are definitely changes I could make that would add purpose and growth to the most important parts of my life. And while these may be simple changes, sometimes they can make all the difference.
I don’t need anyone to tell me the benefits of drinking more water. I just need to do it. I drink a lot of coffee. A LOT. When I’m craving something to hydrate myself, it’s usually coffee. And nine times out of ten I get through the day, put the kiddo to bed, and am completely parched and think, “Oh my gosh! I haven’t had a single drop of water today!” So I spend the whole evening guzzling water trying to make up for the day’s lack. Suffice it to say, I’d like to drink more water. Throughout the day. For my weight. For my health. To be a good model to my child. And just because water is good. (It’s even better coming out of my fun new cup)
The Pickle was born in the Spring. Not long after, I decided I could not spend another moment cooped up in our house. So I bundled her up and we would walk the neighborhood. Or I’d drive her to the park and we would stroll. When she started walking, I’d take her to the park several times a week just to play and get her energy out. But somewhere along the way, we lost that rhythm. I got busy with other things. Driving ten minutes there and ten minutes back (or 15… or 20… or 30 depending on the park) got overwhelming and expensive. And we just stopped. This year… I’d like to go to the park more. For the exercise. For the fresh air. For the friends. For all our sake.
#3. Lean into God
Every year I say I’m gonna read the Bible more. I say I’m going to pray more diligently or more intentionally. I start on a reading plan or I start making a quiet time. But something. Always. Happens. I happen, really. I’m sure it’s just me. Last year I was at a point where I was getting up at 5am, walking/praying, showering, and reading my Bible. It was exhilarating! Until the Pickle started waking up at 6. And then 5:45. And then 5:30. And then it got to the point where I could barely make it out the door and she’d be awake. I was torn between devastated and furious. I would come back in to a little girl sitting on the couch saying, “Mommy! I eat. Mommy! I have juice. Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” That quickly cut out my Bible reading time. I often had to miss my shower. And a nice quiet prayer and journaling time? LOL.
So how do I lean into God every moment of every day when I am not guaranteed a time of peace and quiet or still reflection? How can I set my heart on things above when so many days I wake up buried in the mire of dirty dishes, piles of laundry, a cluttered house, and constant demands from the two people I love the most? This year I hope to find out. I hope to practice the presence of God. I hope to be drawn back into the arms of the One who loved me first and gave me everything. And I hope to remember that my perfectionism has nothing to do with His grace. They are two different worlds… and I can only live in one of them.
I know respect sounds like a strange word for this one, but it’s the word I’m choosing. I could say “love”. I could say “pay attention”. I could say “devote more time to” or “be more romantic with”… but when it comes to men, I think the word “respect” covers all of those pretty well. And I’d like to learn to do it… better. More consistently. With greater joy.
The other day I was reading a Pinterest list of “things you can do for your husband to show him you love him.” I read them out loud so he could hear, and he just laughed. “Did a woman write those?” he asked. Because I don’t know… I guess there’s something about me showing up at his work with lunch or leaving sticky notes that say I love you all over his car that just didn’t appeal to him.
No. My husband wants me to sit beside him on the couch and watch a game. My husband wants me to put everything aside, kiss him on the cheek, and see where the evening goes (you can get creative here… my family might be reading this). My husband wants me to keep my mouth shut long enough for him to unravel his heart and speak what’s on HIS mind… even if it takes a few days. And what’s more, is that I WANT to do these things. I want to serve him in this way. I want to build him up and encourage him and treat him in a way that will empower him to be the very best man, father, friend, coworker, and husband that he can be. That takes intentionality. That takes purpose. And it takes respect.