I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution type of person. I love the idea of it. The part of me that’s extremely goal-oriented and gets amped up on the feeling of a new beginning is a big fan of the concept. But the part of me that’s terrified of failure and fairly non-committal does NOT like the sound of saying I’ve got 365 days to do something/give something up/change something forever and if I don’t do it, I’ve already told everyone I was going to and then it’s just like “LOL Remember when she said she was going to stop head-banging in public this year? NICE TRY, SCHMIDT.”
Here’s the thing. I was so shaken up at the end of 2013 by a myriad of life events, that whether I wanted to or not, the beginning of 2014 felt like a chance to do things differently. And I got all caught up in that cliche way of viewing the beginning of the year, that all-be-darned if 2014 wasn’t a fantastic year that I made space in for God to surprise me and grow me and change me and ugh. Just thinking about it makes my cold, cynical heart swell with joy.
So when 2015 was nearing, I wanted to access some of those early 2014 vibes again without feeling like a hurricane of misfortune or a year-long resolution was the only way to do so. I don’t like the stereotype that people give up their resolutions by March. I don’t like how crowded the gym is in January or how many people just recycle their resolutions every year cause they never did quite get around to accomplishing them. It bums me out so hard.
This is what I knew at the start of the year- there are things in my life that are especially valuable to me. There are characteristics I possess that I’m always desiring to grow in. There are people in my life that I want to love better. There are hobbies I have that I wish I made more time for. One day I was thinking about these things and I just started listing them aloud to myself while I was driving.
You are a sister. You love books. You are an employee. You care about current events. You have a relationship with Jesus.
And I kept going and adding more and just thinking–these are things I care about deeply. These handful of things are a huge part of who I am, what I do, and where I find my value. I want to do something about that. Daily. And I knew that just putting a blanket statement over all of 2015 wasn’t going to cut it. Saying “I’m going to go to the gym 3 days a week this year” or “I’m going to read three chapters of the Bible a day this year” was just not feasible for me. For me, these are invitations to feel discouraged in a few months and then throw in the towel a few months after that. I needed something tangible. I needed something that made each day of the year relevant; made it feel important and like it was full of potential.
I thought up 13 statements similar to and including the ones above. I wrote each of them down 28 times on construction paper and underneath I wrote “Do something about it today.” Every morning while I’m brushing my teeth, I pull one out at random and it becomes the theme and charge of my day. And that “something” that I need to “do” “today” is wide open. ‘Cause some days are PACKED with stuff already, so I can’t just pull out a “you are a friend. Do something about it today” paper and reconstruct my whole day to be about taking Courtnee to visit an elephant and buy her thousands of chicken wings and arrange it so she can meet the cast of FRIENDS. But I can send her a text reminding her of something funny. I can put a letter in the mail about how much I value her. I can pray for her. I can see if she’s free for yogurt later. I can be mindful that I’m a friend and do something about it. Today.
“Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted.” —Shauna Niequist
I don’t know if 2015 will be the best year ever. I have no clue if those 28 times I’m going to pull out a construction paper saying “You are lucky to have a car. Do something about it today” will make me become a person who drives an immaculately clean car by the end of the year. I’m not sure if I’ve got 28 fresh ideas to be a better Surge leader, daughter, writer.
What I do know is that this little faux-resolution has breathed new life into every day of my year so far. I do know that every time I pull out a construction paper that says “You are paying for a gym membership” I roll my eyes and hate what it’s implying. But I pack my gym bag and I fit it into my day. I know that I approach certain days differently because I had a tangible reminder that I believe in Scripture that morning. I know that I’ve shown up, made space, and taken time in new ways.
So I guess I ended up with a resolution this year and it was kind of basic to say the least–Every day in 2015 I will pull a piece of construction paper at random out of a navy bin that sits on my desk and do what it says. And I think I can manage that just fine.
I’m also going to go out on a limb here and say no head-banging in public in 2016!