I don’t really “do” resolutions. Not in the sense that I plan a complete overhaul of my life with no actual goal or purpose in mind. I know all too well (read: from many years of doing it) that unless you have a goal that you’re working toward or some kind of purpose that necessitates some sort of change, you’re really just spinning your wheels and likely doing something because you see other people doing in and it seems like a good thing to try.
This year, I’m looking at resolutions a bit differently. Rather than seeing them as a laundry list of things about myself I should change, I’m more interested in seeing how I can change through doing things. Let me explain a bit…
The most popular types of resolutions are to give up something you do or love that’s not good for you and replace it with something that maybe you don’t love or that is better for you. Classic examples: workout more, eat less. The other extreme would be to continue at something you do love but set the bar a bit higher: PR a 5K, finish a marathon, run X number of miles this year.
See a trend?
Resolutions seem to be focused on doing more or less of something. Maybe that’s because doing more or less is easier to measure and therefore is a tangible way of looking at progress. That’s not to say that this is bad because it isn’t. I still have goals for the year that I want to accomplish and actions that need to be taken (i.e. eat less chips) in order to reach those goals. I just can’t help but think we put a little too much stock in our own worth based on our successes or failures at said resolutions. Often times we’re so focused on the end result that we fail to take into consideration the root of the behaviour we want to change or adapt. I’ll expand on this another day when I talk about some of my health and fitness goals for 2016.
The definition of Resolve (or one of the definitions, depending on context), as taken from the Webster’s Dictionary, 1928 edition (which is a more traditional version of the dictionary that takes words and defines them in biblical context. My inner geek gets excited about stuff like this! Especially knowing I won’t accidentally run across a definition for “Booty” or “Twerk” anywhere in it), defines the word Resolve in numerous ways but these two definitions stand out to me:
To separate the parts of a complex idea; to reduce to simple parts; to analyze.
To inform to free from doubt or perplexity; as, to resolve the conscience.
So how do we separate a complex idea into simple parts and absolve ourselves from doubt? Well…I don’t exactly know. If I had a full proof answer, I’d be penning best sellers instead of sporadically writing at a blog that no one reads. What I do know is that this world is an angry place to be. There is evil all around us and it’s threatening to overtake the good because it’s getting harder and harder to see good when we’re getting beaten down by bitterness, resentment and hostility toward one another. It’s hard to do and see good when your heart is angry and hurting. Sometimes it’s easier to keep people at arms length and hide our heads in the sand. It keeps us from experiencing disappointment and heartache and let’s face it, we don’t have to love people we don’t interact with….right?
Maybe there is work to be done in all of us. There’s certainly a lot to be done in my heart. I’ve spent years feeling anxious, angry and depressed and always looking for a surface solution (i.e. people suck so I’ll just spend less time around sucky people) rather than looking a bit deeper to find the root of my own discontentment. I just assumed the world sucked and the human heart was beyond repair. Or maybe the world was ok and my heart is what needs the most attention.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live out my remaining years under that cloud. I want to find the goodness in people. I want to find and express the goodness in myself. That’s a resolution I can get behind. I’m less concerned with being more or less of anything. I just want to *be* and let my acts and my intentions define what that really means in the context of my life. I still want to run faster, lift heavier and do things that scare me but I don’t want the definition of my life to be solely based on the outcome of those things.
I want to enjoy the fruits of my pursuits but I can’t really do that if, while I’m pursuing, I’m not growing. I honestly don’t think you can have one without the other and be satisfied. To be a successful runner (whatever that even means), but to hate myself means that I unless I dig down to the root of why I hate myself, I’ll have to rely on always getting faster and running stronger. If that’s taken away…what am I left with? Just my self-hatred. No thanks.
This year, I will resolve to:
Be generous. I am blessed and there are so many out there that need to be blessed. Be it with time, money, gifts or a simple smile to someone having a rough day, I want to give abundantly and not worry about who might be watching or paying attention.
Be humble. I’m not perfect. No one will ever mistake me for that, but I still possess the “at least I’m not…”. I don’t want to makes excuses for my poor behaviour or my attitude when I fight with my husband. I want to accept responsibility for my part in any situation and be quick to apologize. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of apologizing. Like…a lot.
Be confident. I have worth. I have gifts. I can tap into neither if I don’t have the courage to stand up and try stuff. I really need to learn to speak truth into my life and not be so down on myself. This is a lifelong struggle and has the potential to really rock my world in 2016. Balancing confidence with humility…I’m gonna need some prayer warriors for that one!
Be bold. Rather than be wishy-washy and *hope* that maybe God will work in me, I want to boldly ask Him for the desires of my heart. Maybe something will align and maybe it won’t. But if I don’t ask, I may never know. This one ties into confidence. Big time. I have to learn that I don’t have to be of a certain status or place in life to ask God for things. I need to pray bold prayers and be prepared for the answers.
What about you? Are resolutions a part of the fun of 2016? Do you find them helpful or hurtful to how you view your accomplishments? Do you want to resolve to *be* rather than to more or less of something?