Some years it seems like there is a wedding to attend nearly every month, other years are full of baby showers or graduations. This year, more than anything, our family and friends dealt with grief.
As 2015 came to a close, the losses came one after another. Some dear friends and family lost loved ones after long illnesses, others were blindsided by the death of their family member. Grief settled in among us.
So there I was, sitting in worship, all happy with myself for choosing joy as my one word for the year. Our senior pastor was speaking at a conference, so our executive pastor was preaching. I knew I was in for a treat as I always walked away with a fresh take on things after one of his sermons.
I pulled out the sermon notes and saw the topic — New Year’s Resolutions. This was going to be great, I thought. Surely the confirmation I had lacked in my prayer life would come today. Joy it would be.
As I sat down to ponder what my one word would be, I thought — this is the year I do things differently.
I have long had this idea in my mind of how life should be. How my family and friends should interact, what my health should be like, how I should manage to juggle working full time in an office and our active home life.
Each year I would imagine that dream life — and let’s be clear we are talking about a fantasy life, not a real life — and think of the things I would be doing in that life that I wasn’t doing now. All those things would up on the resolutions list.
Instead of getting me closer to this dream life, resolutions made me feel farther from it. It seemed like I needed to change everything about my life — a life I loved.
Resolutions… Just that one word carries so much expectation, doesn’t it? What does it say about us as a culture that at the beginning of every year we focus on what we need to change about our lives in the coming year?
We focus on what we aren’t doing well, what we failed to do, what we started but didn’t finish. When we sit down to make resolutions we focus on our failures, not our promises.
At least, that’s the way it was for me.
I would focus on what I didn’t do, have, wear, eat… and not what I did. What desperately needed to change, not what did I need to do more of. I didn’t like it. It made me feel bad.
Honestly, it started my year off with a funk and not with a bang.