Ah, the end of 2014. A time for self-reflection, for looking back, evaluating life decisions and measuring the year’s success.
In other words, it’s time to polish off those Christmas cookies while you wallow over your annual list of let-downs.
Seriously, does anyone sit down and have a rush of accomplishments come to mind? Or are you like me, settling in for what seems like a necessary acknowledgement of how once again, I couldn’t keep up.
– Remember that crazy idea about getting up early? Pu-lease. No amount of solitude or Starbucks lattes could entice me out of bed before work beckoned or babies cried. Face it, I’ll never be the 6 am early bird that I so long to be.
– And what about my house? Is it STILL messy? I thought that new schedule, that new resolve, that new routine was going to actually change things around here. But for all my cleaning I can still guarantee that every room is punctuated by clutter as it was yesterday, last week, and last year.
– I had plans! Plans to read books, write articles, support causes, invest in relationships, get organized, get over anxiety, spend more time with God. What happened to last year’s eager resolutions?
I wish 2014 was the unusual year, but it looks painfully similar to my last decade of year-end reviews. While I celebrate the year’s facebook-worthy milestones, I can’t help but linger over my private defeats – the struggles that persist, the weaknesses that still hold me back, the fears I haven’t overcome, the failures I find myself repeating.
So what is this year’s great resolution? Of course I realize a more balanced perspective is in order. There WAS progress this year. I could purpose to dwell on what things went RIGHT in 2014:
– We potty trained two toddlers. (That’s 12 diapers a day I don’t have to change, people! And did I mention our year-long battle with toddler diarrhea ?… I will never get over how INCREDIBLE toilets are.)
– I nursed Henry for a WHOLE YEAR. (Annnd now you know where all the saved diaper-time went.)
– I finally found balance in my work-from-home/stay-at-home-mom routine. (I know all you work-from-home mama’s know exactly what I’m talking about. You can do it, ladies. It just took me three years to figure it out.)
– And of course there was the little fact that we paid off my school debt, Henry’s medical bills, and Nora’s adoption. (Insert obligatory thanks to Dave Ramsey.)
But a tally of all that went right, doesn’t erase its lurking counterpart. It might distract for a bit and provide some excuses, but my other list lingers and is ready to forecast a repeat of my often unmet resolutions.
This year, I have no grand epiphany; but in the quiet, on this eve of either renewal or resignation, I’m reminding my soul to have hope for 2015.
My performance, my personal bests and worsts of 2014, can’t be where I start planning for 2015. They have their value, but no power to predict the outcome of the year ahead.
The only hopeful place for me to begin the new year is in the faithfulness of Christ.
He’s the only one to keep His every resolution – and I can’t believe saving me is again part of His annual plan. My 2014 failures have already been met by last year’s intended atonement and His promise to keep me clean in 2015 is as resolute as ever.
When I plan my upcoming year, I don’t want to fixate on my shortcomings, but revel in my clean slate. The year is new, and so is Christ’s resolve to free me from my stubborn sin. I prefer a more instant version of this process that God’s decided to draw out over the years of my life, but if He’s willing to walk me through another year of slow but steady growth, I’m ready to get started.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)