I LOVE New Year's resolutions. I. Love. Them. I make long lists. I color code the lists. I pull out my planner and schedule the lists. Planning a better future, an ideal next year, is pretty much my favorite thing.
Last year I resolved to do so many things I can't remember the things.
Clearly, I resolve too much: Learn to play the piano, exercise more, cut dairy, read a novel a week, visit a shut-in every Friday, join a weekly Bible study, brush up on my Spanish, write three new devotionals, conduct more workshops, spend more time preparing home school lesson plans...
There are a million ways to grow and learn, reach, explore, mature, and be better, and every year I pile on the resolutions. I cram my life full of noble goals, all of it to make me better, happier, and holier.
But sometimes it just leaves me more tired. And when I get too tired, and give up on my goals, I feel disappointed, too. Disappointed, disillusioned, depressed--all the D words.
Last year I bought a sewing machine in January and planned a year of learning to sew. I bought fabric and dreamed of all the stuff I'd make. I also resolved to write a novel in three months. And I decided to write a modesty resource. And I cut dairy (in addition to gluten) from my diet. And that's just the stuff I added to an already packed routine.
By February I was a wreck.
I just wanted to do all the good things I could think to do. And that was a terrible idea.
This year, I'm resolving to resolve less. I'm taking an honest look at my life and asking not just "What do I need to do more of?" or "How can I be better?" I'm also asking,
"How much room do I have in my schedule?" and "What will I have to get rid of if I want to add this habit or practice?"
I've learned, if I don't make room for my resolutions, they'll stack up on my back like life-sapping burdens, accomplishing exactly the opposite of the joy, health and satisfaction I'm seeking.
If I resolve less, though, if I trim the fat from my life and make measured and actionable changes, I'll set myself up for success.
My resolution this year is to maintain (and grow in) the disciplines leading me closer to God. I'm also going to wake up at 6 a.m. on week days. That's it. Do I want to do more? YES. And I'll probably do more, too. But I won't expect more and I won't resolve more.
As I end this, I can't help but think of a flustered Martha's interaction with Jesus...
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I think too often I've been "worried and upset about many things," planning and resolving to order every detail of my life while Jesus stood just ahead saying "few things are needed—or indeed only one."
This year, I'm focusing on the "few things." Join me.