New year’s has never been my favorite Holiday, but I enjoy the passing of it. It comes with a sense of newness, of turning the page and starting a new chapter. I love that part of it. I think that is part of the reason I was drawn to teaching- the new start each year and the times we get to re-set.
It is a time to think of what we want to let go of, to change, or to work towards in the new year. It is a time of hope for things we want to see or do in the new year, still full of possibility at the start. While I have probably not kept as many resolutions as I have made, I still love to make them. Over the years I have gotten better at keeping them, but still have a long way to go on my stick-to-it-ness.
Over the past couple years I have seen a lot of people choosing a word they want to focus on for the year, either in place of or alongside a resolution. When I was thinking about my resolutions, there was a clear theme coming through that seemed bigger than any resolution I could make.
I went back and forth between the words “dedicated” and “discipline.” There have been times when I was learning a lot through discipline and about discipline, whether that be the Daniel Fast, training for races, or reading scripture on more of a schedule, I have stuck to a lot of those things. Over the last couple years however, I have been learning a lot about grace. Grace in ending something sooner than I said, grace in the lack of motivation to read scripture and journal daily, grace in not attending church, grace in the guilt I feel when I “fail” the things I set out to do.
With and for everything there is a season though, and I am feeling the pull back to the season of discipline. I didn’t choose that word, however, because dedication felt like more of a choice. While I am sure I will learn more about being disciplined, both having self-discipline, and relying on the Lord for it, I am choosing to dedicate myself to it.
My resolutions to do actually complete a whole30 (eye roll at everyone and their mother doing it, I know), read 20 books (or more!), attend church regularly, and write weekly, all fall under the umbrella of dedication. In times I know it will be tempting to lean in to grace, reminders of my word will help me push back. This verse has been coming to mind during these thoughts, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” – Matthew 5:37. My word, even promises to myself, need to be kept, or else whats the point of making them?
Next year has so much possibility and potential. 2016 was filled with joy, grace, and fun for me personally, and a lot of challenges outside of my little world. I don’t know what it holds for my surroundings, but I know I have the choice to choose to stick to and stand for what I know is important. My hope for 2017 is for the same for so many walking into it with doubts and uncertainty, to choose hope and dedication to make 2017 the best year yet.
Happy New Year to you!