“So what are your New Year’s resolutions?”my older brother asked me when I called him on the last day of the year. My husband and I were driving down to Indianapolis to spend the beginnings of the New Year with friends. I didn’t really have an answer for my brother.
My husband and I had discussed several shared goals and desires as husband and wife, but at that moment I became aware that I had not set any personal aspirations. Typically I become reflective, nostalgic and both aspirational and inspirational this time of year. What was happening with me? Had I ceased striving for greatness? In my embarrassment I gave the first glib answer that dropped into my head, “I haven’t formed any for next year, because I have made some major changes this year and I’m just going to continue improving on them throughout the next.” It sounded profound and I got away with it by immediately asking my brother what his resolutions were.
How sincere was the answer that had popped out of my mouth. Had the truth burst out of the deepest recesses of my heart or was I becoming slothful and in need of prodding? Perhaps the truth lay somewhere in between, I mused.
A little over a year ago I came to the realization that I had lost myself in my teaching career. I love teaching… and children… but anything a person does to almost the exclusion of the rest of who they are is not healthy.
I love reading and learning… beyond just a first grade level of books, yet it had been years since I had relaxed with a copy of Scientific American, tuned in to NPR or read a biography. I enjoy writing and knew that in order to excel in a craft I needed to exercise daily discipline, but I had not written much since I completed my Masters in Creative Writing several years prior. I love the Lord and while I had been listening religiously to Joyce Meyer and Charles Capps on my drive to school in the mornings, I had not been spending enough personal time with God- in His Word- so that the head knowledge I was gaining from both the radio and our pastors at church could flow out of my being as a natural extension of who I am in Christ. There were relationships I needed to take time to develop… and so much more. Instead all my energies were poured into school, ten plus, twelve plus hours a day. Each evening I came home from school thinking exhausted thoughts with little time and energies for the rest of life.
Humans are created with a spirit, a soul and a body. All three of these parts must flow in unity in order to function as a whole, healthy being. Not only was I not developing all the aspects of who I was, I had ceased to fully enjoy and function in the maximum potential of the one thing I was pouring my life into… teaching.
I had lost touch with my inner being; I had gained weight and no longer looked nor felt like the real me. Over the years I had allowed culture shock, depression and the busyness of living to rob me of the fullness that God had intended my life to be.
After I pushed “end call” at the conclusion of the conversation with my brother and had reflected over the changes that I had chosen to implement in the previous year, I realized that a transformation had begun even earlier than that. Little by little I have been reclaiming who God has created me to be.
I look into my reflective mirror and see the image of God resonating back. I smile. It is true. I don’t need to create any New Year’s resolutions, but I am aware of the necessity of continuing to spend time with God- reading his Word, worshipping him in song, resting in his presence with a posture of silent listening, living in a state of constant thankfulness and awareness of his presence- so that he can perfect the work he has begun in me.