Tuesday, January 1, 2013

{Insert Obligatory New Year's Post Here}

According to Macy's (and we all know they are the authority on all this), Santa's arrival at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off the Christmas season.  I don't know if they officially declare it the end of the season on New Year's Day, but that how I see it: the holidays are officially over on New Year's Day. (And please - they have to be; I cannot keep eating like this one.more.day. It literally feels like 40 Days of Gluttony. In every way.)

Obviously, we all know that NYD isn't just the end of the season; we all know it represents the start of a whole new something else (even though the only difference between one year to the next is just a span of few seconds).

For me, I do like to look back a little, before I look ahead. And it is actually kind of convenient for me: my birthday is December 31, so on  New Year's Eve, I not only get to finish off  the calendar year, but chalk off another birth year, too.

So I was doing a little thinking about 2012 as we were approaching the end of this year...trying to reflect on the good and the bad.  There were definitely good things about 2012, but as I looked back, I definitely felt like this was one of the harder years.  Not awful...just tougher.  Not to be depressing, but from my perspective, the first word I thought of was LOSS.  Very good friends lost their mom this year. An old youth group friend lost his wife. I lost my unborn baby. Hurricane Sandy. Newtown, Connecticut.  To name only a a few.

That's not to say that there weren't some bright spots and many ways I saw God's faithfulness. They definitely were there.  But the past year would definitely fall in the more 'challenging' category.  If I'm honest, I am not sad to see 2012 go.

So, looking ahead to 2013...

James and I talked about the new year a little over dinner last night. [And I even got him pause the Bowl Games today to look at the budget I came up.]  But I am actually one of those people who likes to resolutions. I made some last year, and while not perfect completion, I did make progress.  So being motivated by results...we started talking about...well, not maybe not resolutions, but some hopes and anticipations -and yes, probably some resolutions mixed in there - for the new year.  And here are a few I came up with:

*Church Involvement: About this time last year,we prayed and made a choice to seek a church closer to our home; it just got too hard to be involved with our church being 40 minutes away with the nightmare-ish 347 in our way, thwarting our every attempt.  We actually were very blessed to find a church fairly quickly...one that is literally 3 minutes away, right in our neighborhood, actually.  We spent the year getting to know this small, simple, sweet body of believers - and we think it's time to get involved.  And I'm excited about that.

*Health: Well, it's not a new resolution, just a continuation of last year's resolution. I made progress last year to get back to the gym, zumba, eating better...and I love how I feel when I'm taking care of myself. I managed to get off 75% of the weight I gained after being married, so I'm hoping to cross that one off the list, stat.

*Spiritual: I was telling James that I felt like I've spiritually plateaued a bit.  And I can say for sure, that in the past few months, Jesus has definitely been stirring my heart and drawing me close to Him again.  I had an amazing growth spurt in my relationship with Him some years ago - probably between 2005-2007.  But it's been a while since I've experienced Him like that.  I know I can't re-create that, but I can create opportunities and space in my life to spend quality time with Him.  And I love how I feel when I do that.

*Personal: I don't know how to put this one into words, but I'll try.  I want to be braver. Take more chances.  I know that sounds cliche, but I don't mean 'do more adventurous things.'

If this makes sense, I want to be less afraid to be myself. To be courageous enough to obey God in the moment and not stall. To step out and talk to someone...about God, about anything. To be more willing to offer myself to others. To not shy away from opportunities to get involved or be uncomfortable or put myself out there or feel awkward. To be less self-conscious and more conscious of others. To be bolder.  To be less afraid of the future. To worry less. To be at peace and trust God more. To be OK with not having to (well, not being able to) control every detail of my universe.

When I think of the person I want to be, I think of someone who is calm, serene, takes the challenges of life in stride with grace and courage and peace.  Someone who is willing and available to give of herself to others, without always measuring and calculating and controlling. I want to be more of that person this year.

Sure, there are more things I'd like to accomplish - financial clean-up, organizing my house, projects I've procrastinated on, being better professionally, investing in sharpening some rusty skills -  but those are things would like to do. I think I would like most of my energy to go toward letting God renovate the person I'm supposed to be.