Is it that time of the year again? Ready or not, a new year is here. Every year, close to my birthday, I get my thinking cap ON and get overtly analytical about where I am and where I want to go.
It can get very emotional as I go down my TO DO list. That one is always long. Somehow, I have been blessed with the gift of too much. A lot of boxes to check and a lot of tasks to complete. This can be quite overwhelming and exhausting. It almost feels like a bunch of heavy luggage that I am dragging down a long airport hallway. Now, when I look back and ask myself… What have you accomplished in the last 38 years? Of course, I have degrees and a career that I love. But deep inside, have I completed all that I thought I would have completed by this age? In all honesty, I have always aimed for more. Not sure if this is a gift or a curse. It may be related to my upbringing and the way I was raised. I was taught to always strive for more…to not stay stagnant but to grow. I am quite thankful for these values because living things grow, right? So, in my mind that is what makes sense, and this is what I should do. If I am alive, I must not stay still. I must move forward, and I should also grow in all areas of my life.
However, how does one deal with the days where deadlines are not met or one falls behind on tasks. How do you manage the times when real life happens? You or your little one gets sick, something breaks in the house, or you have a disagreement with someone at work or at home. It seems that the small or large bumps sometimes get in the way and make you slow down. The reality is that life is NOT picture perfect. It is a combination of highs and lows, successes and disappointments. Life is a road of turns and bumps, in some occasions a highway and in other occasions a narrow and lonely road.
Moving forward, as I look to the future and a new year ahead, I look at it as a blank page. I surely need to have a LARGE dose of grace to bathe myself in for the mistakes and failures made in the past. I am really good about giving grace to others, but many times I fall short on giving myself grace. I can be so critical of myself and easily bring myself down in the blink of an eye. But I cannot get stuck in that. I can sure get better at extending grace to myself. I need to understand that LIFE happens, and many things are out of our control. I should embrace these life moments, the seasons, the bumpy road and all the adverse events in order to overcome them. I can look for opportunities to learn in the midst of adversity, which is in my opinion the best reaction I can have. I must look for a way to fix the broken, to be patient and to love myself with flaws and all.
I have come to understand that there is one thing I surely need to get a hold of…this is HOPE. It is very easy to be pessimistic about the future since…we are aging, there is so much chaos in the world, and the list goes on and on. But how far will these feelings take me? After all that is what they are, just feelings. And I have the ability to decide what to grab and get a tight hold of. And for me this is HOPE. I will start this year with a blank page. Make a list of all the things that I would like to accomplish and work towards these goals. If I fall and stumble along the way, I surely know how to get up. I have done it MANY times before. And the good news is that I am not alone. In my 38 years I have always had the hand of my Heavenly Father to hold. He has shown up for me in the valleys and in the mountains. He has carried me in His arms and has always shown me the way. Despite my stubbornness he has ALWAYS loved me.
So, in summary, I am 38 today. Am I where I want to be? … Well sure, I have accomplished many good things and I am very proud of them. But there are a LOT of areas where I still need to grow and improve. Will I move forward? Yes, I will. Will I grow weary? No, I choose not to. Will I change my glasses and my perspective so that I can focus on what is ahead and not what lies behind? You bet, I will. And I will use BOTH arms and hug HOPE as tight as I can. Not letting go. I have chosen to put my faith and Hope in Jesus. It will be a great year…bring it ON!