January-ing. The process of writing lists, making resolutions, acquiring gym membership, and valiantly attempting to form the habits that will make this a successful year. Dreams. Aspirations. Hopes for achievement and betterment. That’s the norm for this month. That’s what January-ing is about.
I’m not sure that I feel like January-ing this year. We just got back from a week on the beach, and before that a week in Kansas. My only agenda for the past two weeks has been to do whatever I feel like. Have a sugar cookie. Go ahead and eat another. Sleep until your body wakes itself up. Read only children’s fiction. Sit in the pool. Swim in the ocean. Let your toes sink further into the sand. Feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks and on your shoulders. Linger at the dinner table. Order another dish of ice cream. Drink coffee all morning.
The typical January-ing patterns somehow seems a little bleak in comparison to the idyllic beaching habits I fell into.
Beaching and resting may not be the only contributing factors that have made me less inclined to January-ing. There seems to be a reluctance in my heart to put my nose to the grindstone and push hard into resolutions, goals, and lists. I don’t want to waste 2016, but I’m also not sure about making it revolve around a list of resolutions I compiled in one night.
I want to start this year well, to maintain habits I value, to pursue dreams I think important, to make plans to live my days to the hilt. At the same time I find myself wanting to linger over the morning coffee, to run a mile and then walk the rest of the way, to curl up on my bed when the afternoon sun falls across it.
I’ll turn 26 this year. The formative season of college days and early adulthood is passing and I’m slipping into the grown-up version of myself. And as a follow the rules, make lists, do things simply for the achievement factor kind of girl – I’m hungry to see freedom become part of my identity.
Freedom to do what I want. To pursue the careers I desire. To wear the clothes I find comfortable. To read the books that bring me joy. To be with the people who inspire me. To shape our marriage and family and lifestyle in the way that suits us best. To serve in the ways that make me come alive. To walk with Christ as He calls me personally. To be Greer as I am, and not as I think I should be.
I’m ready to let go of the regulations I’ve set for myself, to let go of the need to act as others will expect me to. I want to loosen my grip on the tendency to make lists and then accomplish them, to achieve for the sake of achievement. I want to embrace the freedom to do what I love, to pursue that which makes my heart come alive. I want to live the full and abundant life God has promised me through His Spirit of Freedom, and not the regulated, stiff life that comes from living bound to laws, lists, and rules.
This is the kind of January-ing I’m after this year.
There’s a lot of lists being written down these first days of the year. 2016. What will it hold? There’s a lot of hearts in this world hungry for this year to contain a little more, to go a little further, be someone a little better. There’s a lot of resolution and plans being made. How will I make 2016 the year that I want it to be? What is my game plan to get to next New Year’s Eve with less regret and more success?
And all the while we’re missing out on the freedom to be ourselves and watch 2016 unfold organically.
Maybe it’s time to declare freedom from whatever is holding us back. Maybe this is the year we can live to the hilt – not by checking off a to-do list of habits and resolutions – but rather by living into the people we’re created to be. Boldness. Courage. Confidence. Freedom. Maybe that’s what will lead us through this year and make 2016 all that we are hoping for.