Reading social media over the past few days since New Year’s Day, it appears that hardly anyone is happy with how they look, eat, organize, exercise, or think.
Resolutions, epic lists, promises to change, affirmations, and memes you’re supposed to print out and put on the refrigerator to keep you “motivated” – indications that, in some way, people feel they just aren’t good enough just as they are. These are indications that if people make a bunch of lists and resolutions, all the “bad” stuff in their lives will go away to be supplanted with awesome muscles, will power, and deep thoughts.
I’m all for progress and healthy change when needed, deeply desired, prayed about, and planned for. We (well, most of us) are hardwired to want to be “better” and God knows, we all (me especially) could benefit from self-assessment and correction in everything from healthy habits to spiritual growth.
But this New Year hyper focus on what’s bad or lacking in a person’s life and the many happy-talk ways to fix everything troubles me. Because when I read about wonderful, strong, mostly happy, smart people who want to change so much, all at once – well, I don’t want to lose them. I love/like them just as they are. I can acknowledge and support their desire to lose weight, run a 10k, apply for grad school, or whatever it is they want to accomplish. Just don’t wipe the whole slate clean, ok? There’s a lot of slate wiping going on right now. Please stop.
I like the messy, the blubber, the menopause crazy, the lack of willpower, the tantrums, the admissions of angst, the sad, the grief. It captures my heart and brings me right up next to you. I can cheer your diet because you want to get healthy, but if you’re deep into that bag of Lindt Truffles and don’t give a damn, I’ll be right there with you too.
We aren’t and never will be “perfect”. And our notions of “perfect” are completely made-up. God loves just as we are, where we are, and how we are, RIGHT THIS SECOND. Eating a whole bag of truffles isn’t a sin. But trying to micro-manage, change, and control every aspect of your life might be. It for sure causes a lot of stress, disappointment, and unhappiness. I know this because I used to be obsessive about making “resolutions” and to-do lists. Pronouncements and self-expectations that, for the most part, never quite worked out.
Because all my efforts were rooted in self-will and neglected to include God. I prayed to me, rather than Him.
Right now, I’m working on being less of a cursing, aggressive, horrible asshole in traffic. That behavior needs to stop. I prayed about it and God totally agrees and probably wants to mightily smite me. So now, when I get behind or front of a challenging driver in traffic, I pray for patience and understanding. I give it up to God. And I calm right down, and actually feel compassion for that person in back or front of me. That never, ever would have happened if “deal with your traffic issues” was on my old resolution list.
So, I want all my pals (and readers) to relax, and stop beating yourself up about 5 pounds, the out-of-control collection of Tupperware, the dropped college classes, the mother-in-law you can’t please, the miles not ran, and the books not read. I am not making fun of your feelings about making changes. I KNOW all about those feelings. There are to-do lists all over my desk. But maybe start your plans for change in your life with a prayer for guidance about what God wants for you, rather than self-willed “resolutions” that are for other people you want to please. I know this has made a big difference for me. And you know what else? I never ever in a million years would have thought I’d admit to praying for traffic patience, let alone admit I’m am powerless without God IN PUBLIC, ON A BLOG. That’s the biggest and and most profound change I’ve ever made – that I’m not afraid to admit I believe in, need, and pray to God. I’m in love with Him.
I guess the whole point of this post is to tell you there’s a reason you are loved completely and unconditionally and it’s not for how you look in yoga pants.
And if you absolutely have to have a New Year’s resolution, there’s this:
Because if there’s one thing that can make help achieve everything you desire in life, it’s a taco.
Jesus take the wheel…maybe I will get there some day, but it ain’t easy
No, it ain’t! Especially in traffic!
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you always make me smile
I’m ready to start the Taco Cleanse! And for the record, I did not make a single resolution for 2016. I’m happy with my life, my pants size, my sweet tooth, etc. Thank you for reminding us that we don’t need to beat ourselves up over important stuff.
I mean UNIMPORTANT stuff!!!!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!! Been beating myself up about EVERYTHING that needs to change…..and now I know it doesn’t and it shouldn’t! XO 🙂
The best New Year’s essay EVER!!! Thank you so much for your wisdom.