When my alarm went off in the morning I sat up and discovered that everything Paul said to me sounded muffled, my ears ached and my world tilted when I stepped out of the bed. Still, I debated on whether to go to church for a full half hour until we discovered that our outdoor AC unit had frozen overnight and someone was going to have stand outside and hose it down until the ice melted and the fan blades were set free.
Well. I hear that brisk outdoor air is good for unclogging ears.
To be fair, my sweet, non-handyman of a husband did offer to stay home, but having to stand and spray lukewarm water on our frigid AC unit actually gave me the justifiable excuse I needed to feel ok about remaining home, decreased capacity to hear the sermon notwithstanding. So I stayed home. I de-iced the AC unit (praying that it was just a fluke that caused it to ice up and not an expensive problem just looming on the horizon). I fed and changed and played with a teething Meg. Some laundry was started. The teething Meg became a tired, grumpy Meg so I cuddled her until her droopy eyes signaled the advent of nap time.
And then I sat in my rocking chair, hoped that Meg wasn’t crying since I couldn’t hear her if she was, drank coffee and thought about the future. I reviewed the last year and began to think about how I wanted to tackle the new one. Going beyond my normal dreams of a spotless house and children that never squabble, I thought about who I wanted to be when the next year rolled around. So here is my wish list.
I want my concern for other people to eclipse my fear of their possible judgment.
I want my actions to be deliberate and steady, not easily realigned by emotions or circumstances.
I want my love to be steadfast, mirroring to others what God shows to me.
I want my mind to race towards the good gifts God gives to me rather than to bog down with the uncertainties and frustrations of the day.
I want my parenting to be genuine, showing that grace, discipline and guidance all work together in every person’s life.
I want my counsel to be helpful without sounding empty, fake, or preachy.
I want my home to be clean; not so messy as to make life frustrating, but not so relentlessly tidy that my children fear my reaction to an accidental spill, stain, break, tear, smudge, splat, streak etc.
I want my security to rest in God, confident that he is the one who rules all else I might want to trust.
I want my marriage to be rich and full of honesty, dependence and joy.
I want my words to be thoughtful; as in, I think before I declare, yell, mutter, sob or write them.
I want my door to be open, my camera ready, my kitchen in use, my laundry unfolded, my TV unwatched because I am with people (hopefully feeding them too : ) and building relationships.
These are things that I want for my everyday life. It’s where I want to live and who I want to be. I want to change where I am weak, even as I depend on grace to outrun my weaknesses for the glory of God. I don’t want to rest on my spiritual laurels, but press forward for that glorious prize.
As you march (or stumble, bleary-eyed because your kids were awake all night and you haven’t had coffee yet) into 2015, have you taken the time to look backwards and do some detective work about yourself? What was admirable? What was problematic? And what could be contributed to just a crazy day that most likely will never happen again (thank God!)? If you asked your spouse, what would they praise and what would they caution against doing again? Do a little digging into the past year so that you can intentionally imagine a year where you became different. Think of specific things that you want to change (other than the ubiquitous desire to lose…and I mean permanently!!….those last ten pounds) and write them down. God’s grace is easier to see in the specifics. So, I’ve tried not to be vague (“I will be less concerned about cleaning” vs. “I will care more about my friends and family than I care about the state of my kitchen”), because vagueness always gives me the wiggle room when I start to slip.
I should be quick to add that no list will be truly beneficial if your sense of self-worth is tied up in the keeping of it. God won’t like you more in 2015 than he did in 2014. Your identity is set. As children of God, saved through the sacrifice of Jesus and living by the power of the Spirit we can’t become any worse or any better in the eyes of our Father-God. Our only call as children is to live our lives in grateful service to the God who saved us. I want to be a better handmaid in the house of the Lord because he is a good God whom I love to serve. (And let’s be honest, if I can make my service easier and less frustrating by the removal of some pesky bad habits…I’d like to do that!) The strength to keep to my goals must come from the belief that God is worth it. Throughout all of 2015 I want my live to reflect the fact that I rejoice in his goodness and believe his promises.
So while I earnestly hope a bad earache hasn’t grounded you today, I do hope that you’ll find some time to reflect on your life and imagine what you’d like to see yourself be in the year to come.