I explained last year why I’m a bit averse to making traditional resolutions.
But at the same time, there’s so much value in pausing to look at life, to reflect, analyze, evaluate, plan and project.
It’s so easy to find yourself in a rut, slamming up against the same old walls, falling into the same old pits, laughing at the same old jokes…
So last year I set an intention for myself.
One word to center on
To return to
To look for in the hard times
And so I started to grow, to learn, to question why and how I did things.
And while I still have depths to grow down towards, I feel like I’m standing a little taller and a little more established this year.
Which brings me to this years word:
I don’t always enjoy life.
Critical optimism tends to be the mindset I most easily drift toward. (And yes, I know, “critic” and “optimist” don’t usually go together)
I get so caught up sometimes with things that need to be done
Counters that need to be cleaned
Emails that need to be sent
Lessons that need to be planned
Advocating and writing and learning and working
That I forget to look up and see, despite the brokenness, this world indeed is “very good.”
Like my daughter soaring down the slide over and over and over again in the summertime.
Not worried about the other children.
Not concerned she is missing out on a better, bigger, faster slide.
Not stopping to rake over the wood chips to make a level landing spot for herself.
Just the moment. The rush. The sheer joy of flying down the slide.
I want to celebrate.
I want to rest.
I want to not feel guilty or ashamed of engaging in those things.
To sit down with Cadence and watch the snowflakes drift lazily, rather than cursing under my breath how they’re keeping my too-afraid-to-drive-in-that-powdery-stuff self homebound for the day.
To “accept the things I cannot change” and find “courage to change the things I can” and to enjoy and find pleasure in being exactly where I am right now.
Because the horizon drives me.
I’d rather look at the road ahead than the wildflowers growing by the wayside next to me.
Because the flaws and cracks glare neon in my mind.
I don’t have to work at finding my faults…or anyone else’s. I notice those right off the bat.
Joy. Joy. Joy!
Because Christ has come. Because Hope is real. Because Love has won.
And I’m just working it out, day by day.
Because life isn’t a big collection of amazing, life-altering, fireworks and champaign moments.
Life is a quite, turning of pages. A muted collection, like a book of stamps that sits unassuming on a shelf.
Daily tasks. Wake, work, rest, prayer, repeat.
Choices, made intentionally at best and reactively most often.
The small things
The underwhelming moments
That all work out into one big, glorious thing that gives the world a glimpse of its Creator.
And in the midst, I can choose to look in despair at the small, mundane and quiet.
I can choose to prance around in some false sense of importance or grandeur, borrowing new clothes from the Emperor.
I can choose joy. Regardless. In every circumstance.
“Your genuine faith will result in praise, glory, and honor for you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words.”
1 Peter 1:7-8, CEB