The first day of a new week, a fresh page on the calendar, the dawning of a new year…these are a few of my favorite things. Why? They all represent a fresh start, a chance to try again.
After many years of failed resolutions to lose weight, stop yelling, floss daily, I stopped making them. Instead, each new year, I ask God to show me a theme for that year. I ask Him to give me a word or phrase to focus on, an area to grow in, a direction to move toward.
For 2013, I believe He’s given me the phrase “truly live.”
It seems much of 2012 (maybe even much of my life) has been spent looking ahead or waiting…
When my children were small, I was waiting for them all to be in school. During difficult financial years, I wasted my days looking forward to when we’d have enough money to do the fun things I dreamed of. When I started working, I decided that I’d have to wait until my season of working was over before I could really “be a writer.” Many days, I find myself looking forward to bedtime (the kids’ and mine). During my recent season of spiritual dryness, I’ve caught myself waiting for things to change, waiting to feel like I think I should feel, looking forward to when God seems close again.
Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with looking forward or being in a season of “wait.” But for me, I’ve too frequently allowed my day-to-day to be ruled by my hopes, wishes, and dreams for the future – to the point where I’m not really living. A lifeless existence is a joyless one, and I’ve been taking the shortcut to the place of no joy.
This year, with God’s help, I will choose to live – to truly live. Live in the moment, live for today, live in this season (not waiting for the end of it), live with joy.
What will that look like? I think… I will say yes more. Yes to playing a game with one of the kids, even if I am tired and wishing for bedtime, because bedtime will come when it comes whether I pass the evening with fun or boredom. Yes to staying up too late having (decaf) coffee or wine with a friend, even if things are busy and I’m exhausted, because the busy season will end when it end whether I pass through it with friends or alone. Yes to trying new things, even if I’m not keen on them, because the trying will bring joy to someone else and will have me in that person’s company, which is a great way to live through a day. (Yes Pat, I’m referring to maybe going ice fishing. Sigh.) Yes to writing about something that spoke to me, even if I don’t have time to write an entire post or an entire book, because each little bit of putting my thoughts to paper (or pixel) gives pleasure – to both me and God.
I’ll still be looking forward to the days when I see the ministry God placed in my heart fulfilled. I’ll still surely wait and wish for bedtime. I’ll still long for the day when we have enough money that I can do some things I’ve really wanted to do (beach vacation, oh yeah!). But rather than living my days through the lens of this waiting, I’m going to let God teach me how to truly live…
After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live. ~Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (The Message)
Past themes for the new year:
2012 – Listen and Go
2011 – It’s Not About Me
2010 – The Year of Consecration
2008 – Out of Control