The last few weeks my social media has been inundated with messages about “New Year, New You”, “Make 2020 your best year yet!” or “It’s the start of a new decade - are you ready?”
Such expectation! Such pressure. It’s enough to make even the calmest of people a bit anxious.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a big believer in personal reflection, goal setting and living with intention. I believe those things are necessary for growth, stability and for walking more fully in our purpose.
But I am not a big believer in the hype and trendiness for these new year resolution declarations that ultimately make most people feel worse by the third week of January.
There is a contingent of us that work hard every day in the midst of our struggles to show up our best selves. That work hard to feel just a little bit more competent and confident in our walk each day. And the pressure to make the next year the best yet belittles the hard work we have put in to thrive in the year we just completed.
If you are someone that loves new year's resolutions and gets energized at the thought of blowing up the 2020s - that’s great! Don’t take a seat, don’t hide in the back. Celebrate who you are!
But if you are more like me, you’ve felt the pressure to be “new”, made decisions out of cadence of who you are and your purpose, and have been left disappointed and feeling like a failure.
Yeah, not a great way to set the tone for a new year.
So I drown out the hype now and do things MY way - a way that I feel honours who I am, celebrates the growth I’m undergoing and sets me up for success according to MY terms and my calling. Which can look a lot different than how social media determines success - insert superficial words like “skinnier”, “lighter”, “richer”, “wealthier”,”happier."
Here’s how I approach a new year now:
On God’s Goodness. Where did he show up? How did he meet you in your struggle? What answered prayer can you celebrate? We so often look at what is still left to be worked out that we quickly skip over the incredible moments that God REALLY showed up - even if it was just to change your perspective, provide you comfort or strengthen your faith.
On My Growth. What obstacles did you overcome? Where did you release resentment and embrace forgiveness? How did you improve on a skill or a mindset? Think about what you accomplished and what strengths you can now take into the new year.
On My Trajectory. Based on how God showed up for you and where you're growing, think about where that is pointing you. Whether on purpose or not, you ARE headed in a certain direction. Reflect on whether or not that’s where you want to go as you move into the next phase - Direction.
God’s Purpose. This is where people often over complicate things. God’s purpose is not hidden from you. Can I let you in on a little secret? God’s purpose for ALL of us is the same - to impact lives. To shine the light and love of Jesus on others. How that looks for you will depend on the unique talents God’s gifted you in your particular season of life. So get quiet and listen. God will not keep this hidden from you.
My Responsibility. With God’s purpose in mind - impact - I need to own my responsibility. God calls us to partner with Him in bringing the plans over our lives into fruition. Is he calling you to blog? Then you have a responsibility to set it up and get writing. Is he calling you to shine his light at work? Then you have the responsibility to show up everyday with grit and grace. Figure out what your role is and commit to it.
My Schedule. Hear me on this. It doesn’t matter what your work is, your children’s programs are or anything else. Your schedule is in your control. Period. And the only way you are going to show up daily able to take on your responsibility over your purpose is to schedule it daily. Purpose isn’t about one grand gesture. It’s about how you prepare yourself to show up every day, and then actually showing up in your responsibility. Block this time first - the prep (like movement, devotions, prayer) and the act (writing, connecting, nurturing, whatever you're responsible for), then let the rest of your life fill in around it.
I have found this approach grounds me in real life, connects me with God’s calling, and allows me to make my impact in manageable, bite sized chunks. That’s how longevity of purpose is created.
And here’s the thing - don’t just read this and tuck it away until the next year.
I recommend doing a temperature check on the regular. Are you continuing to walk in purpose or veering off path to all the things competing for your attention? Are you taking responsibility over your role in bringing God’s plan to life? Are you being a good steward of your time in light of our calling?
Check in with yourself so when it’s time for reflection at the end of the year there are no surprises and lots of growth to celebrate.
Happy New Year!