My New Year’s Resolution
My new year’s resolution is to enjoy life more. I want to enjoy my life as it is now, instead of longing for something different.
I often find myself looking ahead to the next season of life, instead of enjoying the one I’m currently in. This was especially true when I was a student. I can’t tell you how many times I said to myself, “next semester will be so much better. I’m sure my classes will be easier, and life will just be better.” It was never even true; another hard class always came along!
Although I’m not a student now, I can still see the same attitude popping up. I feel like I can’t be happy/relaxed/enjoy myself until some change happens. However, this attitude is causing me to miss out on the good things in my life now.
There are four steps I will take to help me do this:
Accept things the way they are, and try to appreciate them. Right now, I feel like I will be happier when my son, Benjamin, can talk more, since right now his main form of communication is to grab on to me and yell. But if I wait to enjoy him until then, I will miss out on a lot of the great things about who he is right now. He’s really cute and fun, and he’s learning a lot. I want to enjoy him now, and accept him how he is, even if I don’t like the yelling.
“Settle in” to my current dwelling and phase of life. Recently I’ve been feeling like I will be happier once I’m settled in a more permanent home. Right now, we’re living in a garage apartment for the rest of the school year and probably part of the summer, then after our summer travels, we’re planning on going on a year-long overseas mission trip next school year, then after that we don’t even know what we’ll do! Because of this, I haven’t been settling in to my home as much as I would if I knew I was staying for a long time. I avoid buying kitchen appliances that I need, because I know I will be moving overseas soon. I avoid making new artwork for the living room, because I know I won’t be living here for very much longer.
I’m currently staying in a hotel for a conference, and I actually unpacked our suitcases and put our clothes in the dresser and closet. This isn’t something that James and I usually do, but it feels good to do it. Unpacking for a hotel stay, even if I’m only staying a week and I’m going to have to re-pack soon, is going to help me feel more settled.
When I do get home, I’m going to buy things I need for my house (within reason, obviously) instead of just feeling like I shouldn’t because I’m going to be leaving soon.
Find joy in my work. The book of Ecclesiastes says, “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.” (Ecclesiates 2:24) I think this ancient wisdom is totally true today! If I look for joy in my day-to-day tasks, then how much more joyful will my life be? I believe I can find joy in chasing Benjamin around, in cleaning the house, in cooking, in doing laundry, in changing diapers, in driving to campus to do ministry, and in shopping at the grocery store. ! I want to look for joy in the tedious tasks of life, instead of longing for a time when I won’t have to do them anymore.
Cling to Christ. Paul wrote in Philippians, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11) How could Paul, who was beaten up, or imprisoned, and shipwrecked, be content all the time? I can’t even be content when my classes are hard, when my baby wakes up too many times during the night, or when my work is frustrating, and those things don’t seem nearly as bad as what Paul went through.
For Paul, the secret to being content in all circumstances was drawing strength from Christ. Regardless of the hard things life might throw at us, Christ is a constant. And since I, like Paul, have a relationship with Christ, I too can find the strength in him that leads to contentment, even joy.
What are your new year’s resolutions for 2013?