So, it’s January 4th. Which means everyone is 96 hours into making themselves theoretically better people.
But I’m not trying to take a stand on New Year’s resolutions. Although I do have one thing to say.
WordPress issued a Weekly Writing Challenge this week that asked you to describe the three things you’d most like to change about your life if you knew the world was ending in three months.
I read a large sampling of posts on this topic. And ultimately, I’m saddened.
Here’s what I think: Getting fit, decluttering, and jumping out of a plane are not going to make you happier if you’re still trying to fill a void in your soul. We make resolutions like these because we think we’re missing something or because we have too much of something else. Take the list I just mentioned and convert it:
Too much weight, too much clutter, not enough adventure.
Not enough beauty, not enough organization, too much routine.
So much of our desire is rooted in what we think we ought to desire. Too often we are at the wrath and mercy of a horrific media epidemic that frightens us into believing we are not enough as we are. That slowly infiltrates the quiet cracks in our psyche, making us believe we would only be better IF…
In fact, the media knows everything about us. It knows how we ought to dress and how our home ought to look. It knows how much money we ought to make and where we ought to vacation. It knows our children’s names and every little girl’s favorite color. It knows the very piece of technology my husband longs to own, and the exact pair of shoes that make me salivate.
It knows, because it created such longings in the first place.
In my own regard, I try to answer the WordPress prompt. I try to remove the gigantic tumors of collective opinion growing around my corneas, clouding my vision.
Quite frankly, I still want to be thinner. I still want my house to look perfect. I still want to dress like Ashley Olsen and I still really wish I made more money. Because I still believe, just a little bit, that money can make my life better.
But all this ugly want lives on my skin, on the surface where I am vulnerable. In the deeper, realer mantle of my heart where the reptile claws of society can’t quite reach me, truer desire thrives.
Here are the three changes I resolve to make with three months to live:
- Spend every fleeting moment with the people I LOVE most, those near and far.
- FORGIVE all heartache and discord and strife. Repair relationship. Patch-up community.
- Rest! Lay around! Watch the movies I haven’t seen. Read the books still sitting on the shelf. Notice the wild animal shapes formed in the clouds. Move LEISURELY.
How about that for an end of the world list! How about love? And forgiveness? And leisure.
If you are making resolutions this year, I challenge you to ask WHY. I challenge you to examine your heart. Pick apart your desire. Is it really yours? Does it come from love?
We are not what the world wants us to be. We are made of flesh, not plastic. We are composed of emotion, not money. If you do anything this year, I hope you live by your heart. I hope you love people and forgive brokenness and embrace rest.
Happy New Year.