Resolve or Not to Resolve, That is the Question!

 

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It’s that time of year again!  The annual brawl with my New Year’s resolutions. I make them with a measure of love and good intentions, and like a bad boyfriend, drop them at just a hint of my next desire. Why is that? And like many of you, I have spent the last several years resolving to not resolve. I mean really, what’s the point if my white-knuckling approach is not going to result in sustainable change? But then I toss and turn and bristle at the thought of abandoning resolve altogether. Isn’t resolve one of our core values as a country? Isn’t bettering ourselves woven into the very fabric of our culture? Of course it is, so how am I going to approach 2015?

I took a look back on my 2014. For the first time in my life I started taking bold, daring steps into an unknown direction. One step at a time with the intention of discovering the purpose for my life that God was revealing. I truly believe that we are all created for a higher purpose. I believe that our lives are not without meaning and impact. My grandfather died three years ago, and I was amazed to see the hundreds of people who poured out gratitude for the contribution he made into their lives. He didn’t tour the country speaking to millions, he didn’t write a book that would reach the world, he didn’t march on Capitol Hill to be heard by the nation.  He invested all of his love into his little community.  He was placed at a small church in a little farming community in Oklahoma and gave it everything he had.  He made a difference.  We are ALL positioned uniquely in our communities to make a difference.

For me 2014 was a year of obedience to God’s calling, and as I began to experience spiritual growth and the presence of God through obedience, it became a mantra of mine, and a primary focus. Good thing, right?  Not when I allow my obedience to become an obsessive obligation filled with pressure and stress. I tend to be obsessive with virtually anything to which I commit, so I knew I needed to approach 2015 differently, especially when other areas of my life and health were ailing. You see, I decided that I would stop exercising for the next year so that I could focus on my purpose. No joke, friends.  I need help. And like all good girls, I found my help in the span of about 15 minutes panning Facebook this morning. I saw three posts that spoke directly to my dilemma.  My good friend Paul Gotthardt taught me, when you see repeated patterns in your life, start listening because it could be God trying to get your attention.

Here’s what I found this morning:

 

IMG_65777060872939_resized1) This little dandy of a meme.  It struck me that my attitude toward God’s purpose in my life needed to be repositioned in my mind without lessening its importance. (To find more memes like these, click here)

God’s purpose should never take the place of His presence.

2) An interview with Jennie Allen, posted in July, that somehow showed up on my newsfeed in December. Jennie has been walking a path not only of higher purpose for her life, but one in which she is encouraging women all over the world to step up and live their purpose. Jennie said, “It’s a gift that we get to serve God and obey Him and love Him with these days that we have here. I think I’ve turned that into pressure at certain points. I told myself that I needed to do something big or great, but I’m learning that this isn’t about doing something for God. It’s about doing something with God.” (For the full article, click here)

God’s purpose should never take the place of His presence.

3) An article by Michael Hyatt entitled, “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do.” In brief he gave three points of advice: 1. Forget about the ultimate outcome, 2. Instead, focus on the next right action, 3. And do something now.  (For the full article, click here) I know that the power I wield, enabling my resolve to create anything sustainable, comes from my God and his spirit within me when I am in his presence. Even if I can accomplish a multitude of things in my own strength, it won’t last long, and I won’t really be satisfied. I resolve to be with Him in 2015 and I’ll do it now.

God’s purpose should never take the place of His presence.

Aaaaaand I’m going to start exercising again!

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I Put Santa On The Naughty List

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Dear Santa,

I’ve been thinking about the naughty list and I’ve decided to put you on it this year.  It all started last weekend when I took the kids to the toy section of Target.  They’d been faithfully earning spending money for the last four months and a chance to do a little Christmas shopping.  My daughter picked out a seemingly innocent Doc McStuffins toy and gleefully brought it home.  Of course, I’ve opened enough toys over the years to anticipate the fight that would be upon me from the packaging.  But I had no idea.  You think the Elf on the Shelf is up to shenanigans; the little elves who packed this toy were all full of naughty!  For those who are well-versed in toy packaging, they wouldn’t be surprised if I told you this toy was secured by a myriad of strings, twisty ties, plastic hooks, and tons of tape.  But would you believe me when I told you this was literally screwed to the package?  And not with ordinary screws.  Little, tiny, miniature screws that require a specialty screwdriver.  It took me more than thirty minutes to get at least two screws loosened without stripping them.  A few of those minutes were spent contemplating whether my children could play with the toy while continuing to be affixed to the cardboard package.

I stewed about that for a few days and eventually moved on…until I got a phone call yesterday that you wanted to deliver a package for my husband a little early.  My husband had been talking about wanting a commercial-grade, Cajun deep-fryer.  I am not philosophically opposed to enjoying deep-fried delights every now and then, but I just couldn’t see the financial return for such a spend.  It would mean we would have to deep-fry our meals every night for years to make it financially reasonable, and trust me, my derrière can’t handle that.  Plus, I didn’t like the idea of our back yard looking and smelling like McDonald’s.  So I’ve been pushing back and crushing these dreams for months now.  Until yesterday…You undermined me and went behind my back.  Now we have a huge deep fryer awaiting grease and Twinkies.

But don’t worry Santa, I’m not really all that mad.   I still love Christmas and it seems that dreams do come true during this season of magic.  I’ve even realized by these complaints alone, I have yet again made this season about me.  And it’s not.  And I’m the naughty one.  My family is thrilled with their toys and it fills me with joy to see them smile.  Santa, isn’t it funny that we all manage to be naughty?  We just can’t help it.  It occurs to me that this list has truly disappeared.  So no need to worry, Jesus died for every name on that list.  Now that’s the real magic of the season!

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