Yup. You heard me. I’m making a non-resolution this year. It’s sort of like when the Mad Hatter wishes Alice a very happy unbirthday. Here’s my explanation…
New Years resolutions are all about setting goals, making plans for the future, reflecting on the past, and imagining what can be done to improve our lives long-term. My New Years non-resolution is that I make 2014 a year of doing none of these things.
Before I go on, let me qualify my last statement. In 2014, I will still set goals and make plans, be reflective and continue to improve my life. However, I will in a much more short-term manner. In my opinion, the reasons why so many New Years resolutions fail is because an entire year is just too long to stay focused on a specific goal and most resolutions are just too vague. It’s easy to put off year-long resolutions and think, “I can slack today because I still have another 364 more days.”
That being said, my New Years non-resolution is to focus on the present and live in the now.
This resolution was sparked by yesterday’s church service focusing on Ecclesiastes 3:
“For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
My pastor said something that struck me; we should embrace each season of our life, no matter how challenging or how unpleasant. We should not be so forwardly or backwardly focused, wishing we could go back to an amazing season of our life or longing for a particular season to come.
Lately, I’ve been so guilty of constantly looking forward to a new season in my life (having a “real job,” getting married, starting a family), and generally wishing I was out of my current slump. Rather than embracing where I’m at and praying for God’s guidance and joy, I’ve taken it into my own hands to try to climb out of the hole I feel stuck in. The problem is, I keep falling back to the bottom of the pit. I think I’ve “hit bottom,” to quote Bridesmaids.
Subsequently, I haven’t been real with God and I guess, in a sense, haven’t been real with myself about where I am. But Ecclesiastes 3 resonated.
So, today, on a family outing to a local mountain town for hiking and pie-eating, I tried just embracing the present. I tried out taking in the views of the peak we climbed up to (refer to the photo above), enjoying the coffee we sipped downtown, realizing the beauty in each of my family members as they are now, fixating on each moment as they came… without ever thinking about how the moment could be different or may things be in the future. I never thought about the next activity, the next day, the next month, the next 5 years. This required some concentration… and spontaneity. It sparked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Baskin Robbins. I never once thought of the number of miles I’d have to run tomorrow to burn off my scoop of German Chocolate ice cream, which I typically would do.
After just one day, I felt less anxious and discontent about my current season of life. Hey, maybe it’s not perfect, but at least there are moments of utter fulfillment to be found within it.
So my plan for 2014? I plan to set short-term goals and aspirations rather than looking too far ahead. I plan to appreciate the season I’m in… even if it’s a hellish one. I plan to be refined by fire. I plan to appreciate not only the current season of life as a whole but each individual moment within that season. I plan to find joy. I plan to talk to God and ask His plans, rather than dreaming up my own. I plan to accept that I have no idea what life’s going to throw at me.
In 365 days, I’ll let you know if I succeeded. But I’ll just tell ya’ now, I’m feelin’ pretty confident. ; )