I recently found my list of goals for the year 2003. Hoo-boy! was it old news: Lose 20 pounds, be more patient, organize the finances, meal planning, and laundry, pray with greater intent, write something.
DANG am I glad I reached those goals and can now focus on planting a garden, finishing my basement single-handedly (because I don’t like to use my left hand for construction projects), and learning Farsi for the Foreign Service.
Everybody is resolution writing and year in review-ing. I’m scared to check if I posted my goals last January. And despite often thinking that my latest post is the best thing I’ve written up until five minutes after I hit publish, I won’t be listing my favorite posts of the year. Because six minutes after I hit publish, I want to go snivel in bed, covers pulled tight over the lower half of my face.
Two of my favorite bloggers, one as secular and brazenly-career-minded as possible and the other as devoutly on fire as only the recently-converted can be have led me to think on my resolutions in new ways.
Living up to your potential is not crossing off everything on your to do list on time, under budget. Or canonizing your ideas in a book deal. Really, no one cares. You are not on this earth to do that. Trust me. No one is. You are on this earth to be kind. That is your only potential.
Any list of New Year’s resolutions should having growing closer to God as the ultimate goal. I need to remember this and ask myself with each one, “Is my true desire with this goal to better conform myself to Christ?” This is true not only of the goal itself but the way I approach it (e.g. you could approach a budgeting goal in a God-centered way or a greed-centered way).
I do have goals for this year. I’d like to lose 20 pounds, be more patient, organize the finances, meal planning, and laundry, pray with greater intent, write something. Oh, and plant a garden.
But I want to chose one overall goal, one goal that’ll bring me closer to God and bless my children. One goal that has a hundred applications every day and would correct something that I have rationalized and defended as my right as an overwhelmed mother.
I want to go an entire year without yelling.
Probably I am delirious about the possibility of even approaching this, but I want it. I want it so bad I can taste it. I want to believe in the grace of Christ, the tender mercies of our Lord, that if I try really, really hard, and pray really hard, I can change what is all too often the fundamental dynamic of my interaction with my children.
I would never yell at a friend the way I do my four year old when she won’t put her boots back on. Right. Now.
I would never yell at my boss the way I do my seven-year old when she touches something I’ve told her thirteen times not to touch. (If I had a boss.)
I would never yell at my two-year old in front of my Savior. (I think.) (Unless I somehow forgot He was standing there.) (Like, say, if my two-year old threw her syrup-drenched pancake squares on the floor. Repeatedly.)
So that’s it. The goal I am going to resolute over all others:
Can I do it?
Yes and no.
Beth at Blog O’Beth has a family tradition of writing predictions rather than resolutions. This makes a lot of sense to me. I could predict, for example, that I will lose 20 pounds but gain back 15 or that I will organize the finances only to give up on meal planning altogether. But I’m too young for that sort of realism.
Instead, I predict that:
1) My kids will disobey, and annoy, and irritate beyond all hope of bearing.
2) I’ll backslide on the yelling. In fact, one day in early February, I will snap in the middle of a crowded grocery store and implore at the top of my lungs “Why, oh everything holy in heaven and in earth, WHY?”
3) I’ll feel bad about this yelling, which means that my goal is working. Because:
4) I’ll learn for sure that it is possible to interact with minors who share my DNA without resorting to threats of violence, and:
5) Just the act of trying, really, really hard, and praying, really hard, will improve the spirit of our home.
What do you predict or resolute?