I am not a fan of New Years resolutions, per se. Mostly it's just the term I hate, at this point it sounds like such a hollow concept. But despite the frustrating lingo the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of life. I love to evaluate my spiritual, physical, emotional status, our family culture, my relationships, and my goals as one year closes and a new one opens. I have kind of a state of the union address with myself about where I'm at versus where I would like to be. So I don't use the word resolutions but I guess it's all the same, I just call them goals (it sounds more attainable and if your goals aren't attainable then you're setting yourself up for failure). I do the whole pick a word thing (whimsy and kindness and community, can I have three?) and a verse for the year thing (Micah 6:8). I even have a quote this year! It's to help me remember that I set the tone for our house so my state of mind is important and needs to be in a good place ("Very largely does the wife hold in her hands, as a sacred trust, the happiness and the highest good of the hearts that nestle there [home].....home happiness depends on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere." - J.R. Miller).
My heart is yearning for transformation in 2016. This past year was filled with a lot of complicated emotions and compromises, it wasn't a bad year exactly, but as it closes out I'm thankful to see it go. 2015 was...in the most politically correct terms, educational. I learned a lot about myself and my inner workings and the Lord and how he moves. It wasn't all fun, okay like almost none of it was fun, but I'm thankful for all of it and I can't wait to act on some of the things I learned. Truthfully most of my energy this past year was put into processing the things I was experiencing and learning, so much so that almost none of it went toward changing what I needed to change. It was like a football game, all my energy was in playing the game, it was a game that revealed what I needed to address and a lot of my weaknesses as a player. I made what vital adjustments needed to be made in real time, but I knew some things I'd have to learn from the game tape. I wanted to implement improvements but in the moment my energy was in the game, playing as well as I could, as hard as I could, and yeah, taking some hits. I'm starting 2016 with the last game behind me, ready to review the game tape, and to grow and change and be better.
Also apparently 2016 is the year I start using sports metaphors.
So I've shared my word, my verse, my quote, and now for a few of my goals. Truthfully my goals, the whole of what I learned in 2015 and want to implement in 2016, can all be summed up in one succinct command I am giving myself: Make. Healthy. Choices. (Except when I say it to myself it more often sounds like this: "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES!!!!!!!!!") But if you want details here they are:
- 1. Make healthy physical choices. What I put in my body, how and how often I move my body, the products I use on my body, all of it needs a healthy choices overhaul. (And we're starting with a bang right off the bat with this one, January will be our first Whole30 of 2016!!! Just so we're clear those are not exclamation points of excitement, they're the kind of exclamation points you use when someone asks you how you like the rhinestone frog broach they gave you for Christmas and you say "I love it, I'm going to wear it all the time!!!")
- 2. Make healthy emotional choices. Honor boundaries between myself and people and things that deplete me or demand too many of my resources. Don't allow other people's perception of a situation to dictate my boundaries and reactions. Be okay with people not liking how I handle something. Create space for myself to do the things I love that nourish me, like art and reading and listening to loud music and dancing crazy.
- 3. Make healthy spiritual choices. Feed my spirit regularly through deeper study of the Word, personal worship time and the teaching of trusted spiritual leaders. Say yes to the Lord when he speaks or directs, don't be afraid, don't be so concerned with my own vision that I ignore his. Build community, nourish community, dive head first into the deep end of messy, beautiful, complicated community.
- 4. Make healthy family choices. Homeschooling, screen time, housecleaning, prioritizing, time management, meal planning, it all needs to be improved or fine tuned or heck just plain attempted (I'm looking at you housecleaning) to create a healthy family culture. I spend a lot of time thinking about how my kids will remember their childhood, I want their memories to be of a house full of love and joy and laughter and music and kindness and learning, I want them to remember a healthy family culture.
- 5. Make healthy financial choices. Save more than we spend, resell, shop second hand, go without, choose the cost effective way over the convenient way, give more, take less, abstain, sacrifice. Vote with our dollars, be ethical in what we purchase and why.
There you have it, my heart for transformation in 2016 laid bare. The best part about serving a God who is so big and so merciful is that it is never too late to be the version of myself that he is calling me to be. Even if I tank one or two or all of these goals in the coming months, even if my human weakness gets the best of me, he will still be rooting for me to be that version of myself, still giving me chances to be that version of myself. Of course the flip side of that coin is that even if I ace all these goals I will have a whole new crop of things to work on afterwards. That's the thing about growth and change, there is always work to be done.
So as revved up as I am for transformation, as determined as I am, I will remember to have grace with myself when I tank or slip or set myself back, and humility when I achieve a goal. And you remember too, as you sit down to pen your own goals or resolutions for the coming year, as you work and strive, remember to have grace on yourself, sweet friend, when you fail, and humility when you succeed. Let's both remember to aim for progress, not perfection.
And now for the best part!!! A chance for you to get in on some of this healthy choices action!! On our kitchen wall, above our table, I have a beautiful, framed print that simply says "Make Healthy Choices" and I'm giving away one away!!! As well as your pick of one of three books from my 2016 "to read" list! If you win you can choose from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony, or The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey! Just follow the directions to enter!! This giveaway will run till January 8th at which time a random winner will be chosen and announced right here on my blog, so be sure to check back on the 8th!