So, another year is here, and resolutions abound! Or perhaps we are too sophisticated for resolutions in this post-post-modern world. I usually enjoy making resolutions, but find it harder and harder to do these days. I can have the most well-developed to-do list. And the day that list includes important errands…well, that’s the day my toddler decides he doesn’t want to wear pants. Or, when my to-do list includes reorganizing my cupboards…that’s the day my son has absolutely no intention of playing by himself for five minutes. This just isn’t the season of life to make ambitious goals.
And yet…I still do things like get into a post-Christmas baby-nesting phase and create three different corresponding spreadsheets to clean house and prepare for another child. I do this all, knowing full well that I’m boarding a train to crazy town and won’t get half those things accomplished. But I still just yesterday made a chart for weekly cleaning, another for daily cleaning and a final chart for nesting projects by month up until my due date. All-aboard!! Choo-choooooo!!!
I know what I would tell someone else in my same position. “Don’t worry about it.” But I don’t listen to that. Not even the echo of it in my own mind. Nope! I’ve already boarded that train, Sister!
Why are we so anxious to make new plans? It’s not a bad thing to set goals.The new year gives us that little push we need, after being buried deep in holiday chaos for two months, to resurface and reorder our lives. But I think sometimes it’s because we are all too ready to say goodbye to the failures and disappointments of last year. I, for one, want 2015 to be very different from 2014. And I want to be different in it.
When I look back on 2014, I wish a lot of things. I wish I had been less sinful. I wish I hadn’t stumbled around so much in the dark, just getting by. I wish some things had never happened at all…had never pressed down so hard on me or on the people I love. I wish I hadn’t lost precious things that are gone forever and cannot be replaced. My life turned out nothing like life I plotted and planned for myself this same time last year.
Maybe you feel the same way. Some years we experience a lot of things we wish we hadn’t. It’s not that we didn’t have blessings too, but the hard stuff feels so heavy.
No one does their resolutions perfectly. And no year is perfect. We can chart it out in Excel, but it isn’t a controlled experiment. It’s real life. And I’m a real person…not the superhero or Rocky character I’d like to be. I limp and stumble and screw up a lot. And sometimes another year reminds me I am still very broken and far off my own intended course.
Just because I’m not where I want to be doesn’t mean I’m not exactly where I was meant to be–right now.
I may not have been as put together or heroic or resourceful or joyful or successful or skinny as I wished in 2014. Does that mean last year was a waste? Does that mean I failed? Or that God failed me?
Before I close a heavy steel door on 2014…maybe, just maybe, I can appreciate something really amazing. And that is that I am here. I made it! Sure, survival is not a resolution. But it testifies to something.
It reminds me of one of my son’s favorite songs. “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt!”
We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one! What a beautiful day! We’re not scared!
Oh no, there’s a river! We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We’ve gotta’ go through it.
Splish, splash, splish splash, splish splash.
We begin our journey with such optimism, don’t we? “We’re NOT scared!” But every year, obstacles appear…ones we didn’t prepare for on our tidy spreadsheet of good intentions. You can’t very easily plan for the rivers or the dark forests or the wide canyons anyway.
If you’re going anywhere important, (heck, if you’re going anywhere at all!) you are bound to hit some snags.
When we sing that song about the bear hunt, it reminds me that there are just some things you’ve gotta’ go through. It wouldn’t be a bear hunt without a rushing river or a dark forest. And it wouldn’t be life without heartache and disappointment and, yes, even grief. There are some things my heart dreads…but if I come up against them, if they happen to me…I must go through them.
Last year, there were several key moments where the river raged and the forest seemed too dark and frightening. I didn’t want to go through them. But I did. And I am here as proof they didn’t destroy me. I am still hopeful. Making plans. Boarding the crazy train to over-achievement. Forgetting my limitations yet again.
Because I’m going on a bear hunt. I am. And I won’t be alone: God promises to be with me.
But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” — Isaiah 43: 1-2
I am His. He loves me. And I will keep walking. And sometime I will run and leap. And sometimes I will limp and stumble around and feel lonely in the darkness. But I will get through it. With His help, I will.
Lord, Please help me not to get too hung up on my lists and charts and goals that I forget to hang onto you. And even when I forget to hang onto you, please remind me that you are hanging onto me. Fiercely. With a love that never fails. Amen
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