Today was the day. I carried the empty bins from the basement up to the living room to start the task of de-Christmasing (not a word but should be) our house. It's somewhat of a sad job for me. I love Christmas and the extra magic that the season brings to life. I even love the anticipation of the season--once Halloween is done, BAM. Holiday fever sets in. And then we get to today. The family gatherings are done. The holiday traditions are completed until next season.
But this year, I decided to make it a day of intentional reflection. I searched out some music on Spotify. (In case you're curious: "You've Got Mail" soundtrack, Switchfoot, & Phil Wickham) And I thought about 2018. Personally, 2018 brought healing (physically & mentally) from 2017, renewed confidence, contentment with my quirks and viewing them as strengths & not weaknesses. I made time for rest and room for hearing my own thoughts. As with the ebbs and flows of life, 2018 wasn't without pain and tough days , but overall, I leave the last 365 days thankful for what I learned and where I am one year later.
That got me thinking. As my sons & I reminisced about our Christmas tree ornaments while we moved them from tree to storage box, I wondered what our lives will look when we're doing this same task one year from now. The boys will be five & eight--how will they have changed? How will I have changed? The older I get, the more I'm realizing that our ability to grow & learn doesn't stop with age. But for some reason, it almost feels like we have to be more intentional about making it happen. We can become stagnant so easily and accept that life is simply the way it is, when in reality, there is always room for growth.
Of course, there are many things that are out of our control but it reminds me of the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." I've never really been into resolutions and goals at the beginning of the new year but if there's one thing I appreciate, it's the possibility and opportunity of so many things in the days ahead. Instead of stating what I'm going to accomplish in 2019, this is what I'll be curious about when I look back one year from now in January 2020.
- Did I care for my loved ones & myself well?
- A true sense of self--beyond my faith & family, what am I truly passionate about?
- How did I pursue what I am passionate about to positively impact the lives of others?
- What did I do that was uncomfortable, yet important in me being the person God has created me to be?
- In a social media-drenched world of opinions & voices, was my voice encouraging or hurtful? Was it life-giving or draining?
I hope that you'll look at the year ahead as a year of opportunity--perhaps an opportunity to grow or maybe an opportunity to take growth from 2018 and rest in the strength that you gained from that growth. Whatever life brings your way in 2019, I pray that you'll remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. (Thanks, Christopher Robin.)
2019, here we come.