I took a little break from blogging during the Christmas rush. I didn't necessarily want to as blogging is fun to me (geeky, I know) but I haven't really had any free time in the last 2 weeks. I worked through Christmas break and then did all the normal family stuff too, so that left little time for blogging... or sleeping, but thats another story. Anyway, my lack of blogging doesn't at all indicate a lack of thinking or reading, so I've got a lot of 'material' if you will.
I think Christmas is a lot of people's favorite holiday... maybe MOST people's favorite actually. Personally, I've never really been a HUGE fan of the Christmas season. Don't get me wrong. No part of me is anything other than ecstatic about Jesus' birth. I mean every good thing in my life is connected to Jesus, and without his birth well... to put it lightly, I sure wouldn't be where I am now. (Nor would you for that matter.) What I mean is that I don't like the average person's interpretation of Christmas. I don't like the fact that people pretend to like others who they loathe the rest of the year. I don't like that kids are more concerned with Santa than Jesus. I don't like that we (even me!) get so caught up in who got what. I'll tell you the best thing I ever got for Christmas... my savior.
If you've read my blog with any regularity over the last several months you know I've been making a lot of changes and (as a friend described it recently) coming back to my first love, Jesus. I'll be the first one to tell you that I strayed a LOT, and for WAY too long. But by the grace of God, I'm forgiven, and I am putting in the work to change LOTS of things. And the Christmas season provided a LOT of temptation and struggle in that work that I've been doing. How so? People pushing me in the mall. People being materialistic and tempting me to do the same. Me having to work around everyone else's schedule. Working TONS of hours, losing sleep, and just being CRANKY. To be totally honest, I'm kind of glad that Christmas has come and gone.... now on to one of my favorite holidays... NEW YEARS.
So why do I like the New Year? Well, its the same reason I always like the beginning of the school year when I was a kid. I'm all about a new beginning! Of course with Jesus every day is a new start... but seriously, for an organizational, check list kind of person like me, the New Year is a good mile marker along the way... a good place to make changes. Now, I'm getting to what I've been thinking about for the last few days, and what you probably guessed this post was about when you read the title...
So, as you know, when I want to do something, know something, blog about something, the very first thing I do is google it. Yep. I know thats silly, but its true. I am a google-aholic. I checked out a lot of stuff about new years resolutions. I have always be ADAMANTLY against such nonsense, as I don't like setting myself up for failure, and I had a sneaking suspicion that the most common resolutions were things that were difficult to accomplish. I looked... Lose weight, quit smoking, quit drinking, get out of debt. Yep, I'm right. Well, this made me wonder WHY people suck at keeping these resolutions. I didn't have to google too much to answer this question... as a mental health professional, I already pretty much knew why these goals are rarely ever reached. Two things. First, they show little resolve. I mean, if you aren't really motivated, then its HIGHLY unlikely that you'll reach your goal... and few of us can motivate ourselves to sufficiently deny our urges to eat, smoke, spend or whatever it is after we've developed the habit. Secondly, what does 'losing weight, getting out of debt' etc look like? Technically if you lose a pound then you lost weight, but I suspect that few would be satisfied with this. A goal needs to be concrete, that way we'll know when we met it. Writing goals down, telling others, and setting dates tend to be good strategies for seeing significant accomplishment. I've been praying for guidance about what God would have to work toward in 2011. To be honest, I don't see myself setting a goal to lose 20 pounds or save 1000 dollars. Thats just not my style. So, I've prayed for guidance about something that will work for me, and here's what I came up with.
Over the last few weeks I have come across several adjectives when I was reading Scripture or other books, listening to sermons, or in songs. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I spend 2011 cultivating certain characteristics (those adjectives I was talking about) in my own life, then I would naturally meet certain goals, fulfill some of the resolutions that most people struggle to accomplish. I'm sure that makes no sense, so let me explain. If I strive to cultivate simplicity in my life in 2011, I'll naturally save money and avoid debt. I don't need any more STUFF, and if I spend 2011 reminding myself of that and implementing that idea into my daily life, then I'll naturally have more money to pay bills, tithe to my church etc. I've been thinking, and I've divided my list into things I want to DO, things I want to BE, and things (characteristics, not stuff) I want to HAVE in 2011...
My macbook is about to die, and I've been monopolizing a table at Starbucks for quite some time now, so I think I'll tackle each of those ideas in its own blog post and tell you what I'm looking forward to tackling more specifically in each of those areas. Just thought should share that perspective before the New Year in case anyone else was looking for a new way to think about resolutions this time around... more to come... probably a lot more.