So the fireworks went off and the kisses and hugs were given among choruses of Auld Lang Sine and ready or not another New Year was thrust into our laps. The turn of a calendar page somehow ignites a blaze of remembered dreams and suddenly all the things that seemed unrealistic when we were planning our to-do lists last week seem attainable. For some reason we’re all Cinderella and there’s a special magic that comes at the stroke of midnight. Yes, last year we couldn’t figure out how to exercise five times a week, eat less sugar, write a book, call the family more, give up bad habits and read fifty books. But now it’s the new year and we’ve got all the special powers that come with January first and surely the dozens of resolutions will fall into place.
How much can I do and what can I improve? How can I be better and where can I go? These are the New Year’s questions asked between sips of sparkling water under palm trees.
And then we get a week into January and the resolve starts to dissolve. The fresh beginning has already gotten stale, motivation is fading into memory, and I’m over here feeling in over my head and desperately hungry for some way to find a more realistic and sustainable lifestyle than the one I dreamt up on New Year’s Eve.
What can I eliminate and how can I go slower? How much can I decide not to do and is there a way to find a gentler pace in all this madness. These are the mid-January questions between wiping counters under gray skies.
I have a whole list of ideas for the year. Things I want to do, dreams I have, personal goals, habits to incorporate. But there’s only one thing I call a resolution.
Step outside for at least ten minutes every day. Notice my feet making contact with the earth, the oxygen pulled into my lungs, the air touching my cheeks. Turn off the phone, the music, the podcasts, the mental checklists, the need to burn calories. Just be outside, be alert to where you are, ground yourself in the present moment.
It feels like chaos and hustle and inadequacies are the reality most days. I couldn’t even get through the first Monday back from Christmas vacation before I felt overwhelmed and behind. It’s easy to believe that this is the biggest truth about our life – that we have too much and are not enough.
If 2018 turns out to be a bust in every way possible I will consider it a year well-lived if I can learn to ground myself in my actual reality:
That I am loved beyond measure, belief, reason, or understanding. That, regardless of how I feel like I’m doing, God looks at me with the delight of a father enamored with his child.
So I put one foot in front of the next, I look up at the sky each day and down at the ground under my feet and I remind myself that in this very moment, on this particular day, the truest thing about myself, my greatest reality, is that I am loved.
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:17-18