The past few days I’ve been seeing a long checklist template floating around Instagram stories, with a bunch of “New Year’s Resolutions.” You’re supposed to check all of the ones you’d like to accomplish in 2018. Things that would make you look like a real loser if you didn’t check the boxes—volunteering, donating money to charities, reducing plastic waste, etc.
All good things. But I can’t help but have a bit of an anxious feeling in my stomach whenever I see lists like this.
We need to make our resolutions, choose our “word the year,” buy our gym memberships, our Whole 30 cookbooks, our planners, our journals with promises to ourselves that we’ll spend more time in God’s word.
It’s like we look at this year as a flop, see ourselves as failures, and say “NEXT YEAR. That’ll be it. The year I fix everything.”
You know what? The jokes that everyone makes about resolutions are true. Because I know I won’t follow through on everything. I know I’ll still be overwhelmed, tired—maybe even a little bit lazy—at the end of the day.
And you know what else? I don’t want to scrap 2018 and start over.
2018 was the year our amazing second son joined our family. The year I was stripped down to my core by exhaustion and postpartum anxiety, and I learned my real strength in Christ through caring for two young children.
My husband and I learned that even though kids take away a lot of the time we used to have together, even though we have fights and arguments and bad days, we’re a pretty good team. And that we will always be a team.
I was forced to give up some of (key word: SOME) my anxiety. I’m slowly learning to give it to the Lord, and also because I just don’t have the energy to be so stressed out all the time anymore. When I take time to think about it, I’m so grateful for everything the Lord has given us.
Yes, I still take things for granted. I snap at my kids. I forget how much I longed to be a wife and mom. I don’t thank Jesus near enough for these blessings. But after a back-to-back brain tumor and a miscarriage, I’m just thankful. And I want to focus and dwell on the blessings of 2018, rather than the shortcomings I need to fix in 2019.
I want to really take some time with my family to reflect on 2018 and thank God together for all of his blessings to us. I’d rather my children go into each year with a heart of gratitude than a heart of drive and competition. And I really believe that starts with me.
So if you’re feeling stressed about the lists, resolutions, and goals…maybe take a different spin on your list this year.
Maybe it looks more like gratefulness and rest than flaws and stress.
Maybe we should just thank the Lord for all the blessings of 2018, and trust him with whatever 2019 might bring. I’d like to think when I focus on gratefulness, the fruit of that will be so many good things in the coming year. Better than anything I could come up with to put on a list. Because anything good I do is Christ’s faithfulness in me—it’s not because I made up a bunch of resolutions and checked some boxes.
So maybe my word for 2019 is just going to be “thankful.” Because that sounds a lot more restful. And I already know the Lord will bring a whole host of things to be thankful for. He always does.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” —Colossians 3:16
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