I think social media has pushed me right over the edge with it. All these posts about resolutions and reflections.
What is my word for the new year? Do I even remember my word from last year? What if I pick the WRONG word? How will I reflect on 2017? What did I learn this year? Did any of my goals come to fruition? Did I make the most of my time?
What resolutions will I make for 2018? Is this the year I’ll finally nail my personal disciplines? Is my planner ready for the new year? Where are my color-coded pens and motivational stickers? Do I want to take up bullet journaling for real this time? Should I join a gym or one of the those get-organized classes or a ’30-Days to a New Me’ webinar or a book club or SOMETHING new? Oh, and how can I help the kids do some reflecting and goal-setting?
And, most-importantly, where can I find a cute printable to help me with these times of reflection? Some years (and I’m getting really vulnerable with you all on this one), I have spent so much time looking for the cute printable that I actually ran out of time to do the worksheet and answer the darn questions!
Please hear me. I’m not saying that any of these things are bad things to do. Reflecting is important for our growth. Looking ahead with some dreams and goal-setting is powerful. We need to evaluate so that we don’t just become stagnant – emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically, and relationally. If picking a word for your year helps you do that – awesome! By all means, go for it! Use the printable. Find the perfect planner.
But, here’s what I want to say to you… there’s nothing magical about January 1. Nothing. It’s just a day on a man-made calendar. If I were to breathe a prayer over you right now, it would not be about finding the perfect system to get organized or the perfect planner to accomplish your goals.
No, my prayer would go something like this:
“Lord, thank you for the gift of another year. Thank you that you have called me into relationship with You and given me ultimate purpose and significance beyond any goal I could set. As I choose my word or reflect on my hopes for 2018, I want to submit them all to Your Lordship. Please make them YOUR word and/or YOUR goals. As I process what I want my 2018 to look like, make me hunger for building Your Kingdom not mine. Help me not to find my identity in picking the “right” word or having a well-oiled machine of a planner. Help me not to compare myself to other bloggers or the women I see on social media who seem like they’ve got it all figured out. Help me to find my identity by just looking into Your face. I know you love me too much to just let me be stagnant but that You’ve called me into a dynamic relationship with you where I lean into the Holy Spirit and grow more like you each day. Upend those things that need to go, give me courage and discipline to grow where I need to, and give my clarity of vision as I move into a new year so that I don’t waste the moments you give me. The truth is, I know I’ll come to the end of 2018 with a mixture of victories and regrets. I love that you can take my regrets and make them beautiful marks of redemption in my bigger story. You already know that story. Remind me that everything doesn’t hang on a cute printable. Forgive me for letting a new year produce anxiety instead of a sense of eagerness and adventure. Thank you for the gift of time, Lord.”
Friends, the truth is that we don’t really know what the coming year will look like. My word for 2017 was “intention.” Nothing about my 2017 was intentional because life just threw more crud at me than I could manage. It was one of the hardest years on the books for me and I come to the end of it weary. Emotionally, physically, relationally. A better word to describe it would be “faith” because that’s what stretched and grew the most in my life. Does that mean I shouldn’t have picked a word? Naw. It just means that there’s nothing magical about those exercises. Reflect, evaluate, dream. But do it with open hands. What if you get halfway through your 2018 and you realize you picked the wrong word? Gasp!! Or that your goals took a different direction than what you wrote down? Double gasp!! Nope… that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Listen, I grew a TON in 2017. It’s just that it was in ways I did not expect when I was journaling about it a year ago. So, be open to God’s hand in the midst of your planning and don’t let anxiety overshadow it. Instead, enjoy the adventure and see what God does to surprise you and grow you in 2018.
And, if for some reason you don’t get your evaluating or goal-setting done until January 12th, it’s OK. Let the Lord cup your precious face in His hands and guide your gaze to look into His eyes. Find your value there and be reminded that you don’t have to it all figured out this weekend in order for 2018 to be a great year with Him.