Picture credit: The talented, Cynthia Miller
“Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” -Jonathan Edwards
How to Make Meaningful Resolutions
Joanna Gaines is my BFF. Ok, sooooo I’ve never actually met her in person. Alright, admittedly, I’ve also never corresponded with her in any normal way. Wait! Does pathetically saying, “You’re awesome. I want to be like you,” to the television count? LOL. What is it about that chick that is so appealing? Well, she rolls with the punches and she goes after her dreams in a big way. As 2016 begins, I find myself sitting by the throaty and crackling noises of a full, topaz fire, thinking about resolutions. In the past, so many people, myself included, have made grandiose commitments, only to see them quickly fall off the map, like a palm covered, tropical island that is overcome by the vast, rolling waves of the green-blue sea, to always sit just under the murky surface, hinting at what it might have been. I really love January. When the ornaments and tinsel all get packed away and we are left with the simplicity of our lives, there is something sober and fresh in it. January feels… a lot like being told the stark truth after an arduous and confusing conflict or looking out on a bleak, winter garden, with dark, thin trees that dramatically stand out against the bright light of a Colorado morning, clouds fat with snow. One of my husband’s friends and now Daniel always says, “It is good to get to the truth of a matter quickly.” I often want to patch things up in myself over and over, like a hole in the guttering that constantly leaks, year after year. There is a time to see the parts that aren’t working for what they are, pull them down and start over with certain aspects of our patterns or lifestyle.
I met an amazing man last night. I was so moved by the story he told us yesterday that I got out of bed today choked up. As he shared about fighting and winning (a couple years in) with stage 4 cancer, I found my perspective on new year’s resolutions shifted. If you are interested, you can watch his interview here. Last week, I typed up ideas for making resolutions that stick, like honey on a spoon, but this tenacious athlete whom I met, who spends time with his kids when he’s weak from a surgery where they removed pieces of major organs and continues to pursue and have a passion for coaching his sport, absolutely silenced and inspired me with two things. 1. I want to see life with clarity and go after it, so that every day doesn’t roll into the next, like lapping waves at low tide, lulling me to sleep. 2. His raw faith, as he said he “needed” God and that’s what got him through, set my heart on fire. Those two things, are the essence of meaningful resolutions. I saw a quote this week, “Know who you want to be and then make decisions that point in that direction.” Writing resolutions is knowing who you want to be and pointing your arrows towards the target. And, during hardship? Point the arrows with more grit than you can summon alone.
As I consider which joists are past their time, rotted out and, as our good-natured heroine, Joanna, who is as both laid back and intentional with her designs as a Texas rancher surveying his vast fields of branded cattle, would say, “Need to be torn out and replaced,” from the structure of my life, I want five things:
1. Attainable goals, including specific monthly steps.
2. Physical, emotional, spiritual and practical goals, all four.
3. I want to pray about them and ask God what he sees.
4. I want my goals scheduled and posted in my house, so I remember them.
5. I want to be absolutely convinced of them and then go after them with all my heart.
A Health Survey
These are some questions I am asking myself to help form new health goals for 2016.
Emotional: Instead of justifying myself, how can I listen better and what can I learn about myself from people who hurt, offend and confront me? In what ways do I want to respond better when someone ruffles or offends me, like grains of buff colored sand stuck in my clothing? Are there any negative, condemning things I am believing about myself and what truth can I surround myself with to help silence the lie? Am I focusing on the good in people or the negative? What practical steps can I practice to shift that?
Practical: What areas of my life aren’t running smoothly and what systems can I put in place to ease that (ask for help from someone who is highly organized)? Do I have belongings that are gathering dust, like a dark, weathered ghost town in the prairie full of the scratchy tufts of sage brush and doors hanging off red, rusty hinges, that I need to make the time (and sometimes will) to get rid of?
Physical: In what specific areas am I not committed to my fitness, health and eating? What baby steps could I begin to take to “right” that? What do I need to schedule to make sure they happen? What equipment do I need to invest in? What would help me stick with it? What are my new fitness goals?
Spiritual: Am I aligning myself with God, who sets my heart straight each day (through a short time of prayer, worship and reading the Bible)? What is one practical area that I need to ask God to help me with in regards to how my beliefs play out in my interactions and behavior? What is one thing that I do that consistently hurts others or makes them shut down, as fast as a 1970’s wood framed television when the plug is pulled? Are there private areas of my thoughts and heart that need examining and shifting? What truths can I fill my head, heart and eyes with that counter those? (Idea: write them on your mirror with dry erase markers).
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43: 18 & 19