Why I’m Already Throwing Away My New Year’s Resolutions (A Little Epiphany on a Friday)

So I’m a planner. Some might even say an over-planner. If you’ve seen my planner, you’ve probably gasped and commented something along the lines of “oh my gosh” or “wow, you’re busy!” And while it looks like a lot of the time I’m in way over my head with plans and responsibilities, a lot of that writing is stuff I’m hoping to do and, to be honest, most of it never really gets done.

I also really love the New Year and the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Each year, I’ve made a list of things I want to do, who I want to become by the end of the year and while I usually do accomplish several things on my list, I often fall quite short of the bar I have set for myself. Which isn’t my favorite feeling.

This year I started planning several months in advance, made several lists, bought several planners to write said lists in (don’t judge me for the multiple planners, I’m just a sucker for pretty paper things) and let the idea of becoming someone better consume my mind for months.

And then all the sudden, as I was falling asleep last night, this little voice in the deepest part of my being (I believe it’s the Holy Spirit) said to me loud and clear: “God is not asking you to measure up, He is only asking you to be.”

Let me say that one more time: God is not asking you to measure up, He is only asking you to be.

And I was floored. I went from hazy sleep to being wide awake in a matter of seconds. Really God? You’re saying that I already measure up? You’re saying that I’m already good enough? That I’m already enough? SERIOUSLY?!

“Yep. Already enough. And I’m not asking you to be anything else, I’m just asking you to be.”

Crazy.

See, somewhere along the way someone or some event in life told me that I wasn’t good enough yet, that I wasn’t even enough, and at some point I started to believe that lie. And the way I compensated was planning. I planned everything, wrote every little thing down, because if it looked like I had my life together, then maybe one day I might actually believe it and my life actually would be well put together.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying planning is wrong. And I’m not saying goals and resolutions are bad. I love goals. I believing having a clear vision for my life makes everything a lot easier, but today I am just tired of trying to be good enough and plugging my hears when I hear Jesus saying “Mary Cate, STOP STRIVING SO MUCH AND BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY YOU ARE ALREADY GOOD ENOUGH.”

Whew. I’m already good enough.

And I know it’s not always going to be an easy fight to believe this. I know there are going to be good days and bad days, but I don’t have to try so hard to plan for them. Jesus has already won that battle and declared victory over my life so the only fighting I have left to do is fighting myself to replace that lie with the truth about who God says I am. And if God had enough grace to send his son to rescue me, and if Jesus had enough grace to hang on the cross for me, then I should have at least a little grace for myself. It’s not an easy task but it’s one I’m willing to battle every day because, to be honest, I’m just freaking tired of the heaviness that comes with believing lies instead of truth. Jesus has more for me if I’m willing to say yes and, today, I’m saying yes.

So this year I’m failing. I’m giving up my expectations for this year, and I’m okay with that. I’m throwing out my resolutions, I’m taking down the notes and lists I’ve written around my room that scream “be good enough!” “be good enough!” and I’m just going to be. And not the kind of “be-ing” where I’m lazy and idle and only stay in my room and sleep. This is an active “be-ing” where I’m going to live a little more gracefully, be a little more present and speak a little kinder to myself. I’m learning that sometimes failure is okay and when I stop resenting the fact that I did not meet my own expectations, I can realize that I’m just a flawed human being and my expectations were nearly impossible anyways. And this makes me a little kinder towards myself, and a whole lot kinder towards other people. Because I’m just loving them instead of placing expectations on them. I’m loving myself instead of placing expectations on myself. And in learning to love myself, I can come to terms with this body and soul of mine and maybe in the process, my eyes will change and I will see things about myself that everyone sees and I’ve been missing the whole time because I’ve just been thinking about how I haven’t measured up.

This year that I’m going to learn to live. Open-eyes, open-hands living. Taking things in moment by moment. Fighting to stay present and doing things instead of thinking about it and writing it in my planner in hopes of doing it later. I’m still going to do things, hopefully incredible things, but I’m going to do them because they’re things I love instead of because they’re on my list. Life’s a process. It’s always going to be a process. But in the cutting back of lists and expectations, maybe I can enjoy it a bit more. Maybe I can stay in the moment a little bit longer instead of moving onto the next thing, look longer into someone’s eyes instead of looking at my watch, breath a little more fresh air instead of planning inside when I’m going to go outside and breathe that fresh air I want to be breathing. Maybe, without the expectations, I can learn to notice the glory hiding in the moments of ordinary life. Maybe I can learn to just be.

 

So happy 2014. We’re three days in and I’ve already thrown my resolutions in the trash can. But I’m walking away a little lighter, a little more free, and a whole lot more expectant for what Jesus is going to do in my life this year. Because when it’s Him doing the important stuff, I’m not frantically clawing at the finish line I just can’t seem to reach, and my life, instead of filled with anxiety and list upon list, become a little more full of life and joy and peace.

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“Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:1-2
(a.k.a. the most convicting verse I’ve read all week. My striving isn’t getting me anywhere.)

 

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