I don't make new year resolutions. I send Christmas cards, sometimes late, but I do not make resolutions. My experience has been that they are typically an exercise in human striving against a perceived failure or flaw, and battles taken up against myself and in my own strength are rarely won.
As I sit down to write this, I am in the middle of a frantic tidying of my house in order to make it presentable for friends who will come and hang out with us tonight. So of course it is the perfect time to sit down and write a fairly thoughtful blog post.
I came down with a fairly miserable flu-type virus last Monday, two days before Christmas. I had a fever and from there developed a horrible cough. I had not wrapped even one present yet. I had cooked nothing, baked nothing, and the house was dirty. This was not my idea of how Christmas was supposed to unfold. It has taken me over a week and some antibiotics (which is a huge admission of defeat for me) to recover from this. But God had one of the most restful Christmases in store. He blessed me with a concrete reason to say, "I quit. I refuse to do anything." And I didn't. I slept a lot. I didn't exercise once. (This is also a terrifying reality because I will be in agony when I go back, but that's a different story for a different blog.) I enjoyed being with my kids. I didn't care that the house was dirty. I didn't mind that meals weren't perfect. I just wanted to get better, and resting was what was required.
A lot of thinking came of my week of quiet nothingness. My thoughts (not resolutions) about this year have so much more to do with what I am going to do less of rather than what I am going to do more of. It boils down to worry less, enjoy more.
1. Worry less about cleaning, enjoy playing with my with family.
2. Worry less about money, enjoy doing things with it.
3. Worry less about school work and what the kids are learning, enjoy setting the kids free to learn what they want and yes, see resolution 1.
4. Worry less about no, enjoy saying yes, whenever possible, even if it's messy (back to #1).
5. Worry less about comparing my life to other people's and enjoy making mine what God means for it to be, in His strength and in his time.
I've always said that stress is to the mind and heart as pain is to the body. There is good pain--the kind that lets me know my muscles are growing and getting better and stronger, and there is acute pain, the kind that says, "Stop and let me heal." There is good stress--the kind that means I am growing as a person, and deeper stress that says the very same thing that acute pain says, "Stop and let me heal." When Christmas came I had reached that point, and it was time to stop and heal the body and the soul.
The first night I felt better, I suggested to my husband that we take the kids on a surprise family date. We told the kids to dress warmly and be ready to go when we said it was time to leave. We refused to give them clues as to what we were doing, which drove my son crazy, but in a fun way. We took them to the city (or just outside, actually) and took them to our very favorite burger place. Then we took them to an outdoor skating rink and went ice skating together along with three-quarters of the population of the state. They played Christmas music and "snow" drifted down on the rink making the perfect Christmas-card scene. Little Girl fell and banged her knee, so we took a break and snuggled close and sang a song...then skated some more, hand in hand. We came home with happy kids who were thanking us over and over for such a fun night together, and this made it all worthwhile.
I want more moments like these, so I'll try to keep it simple this year...
More yeses, fewer nos.
On a lighter note, I have some other things I want to do in 2014:
1. wax my eyebrows more often so it's not so painful every time.
2. buy new bath towels for my bathroom (been saying this for years)
3. do laundry every day instead of all weekend (been saying this for years, too.)
4. plan the weekly menu better so we're not asking "what's for dinner" at 6:00 p.m. (yup...years in the making, also.)
5. buy some new makeup (makeup just doesn't make it high on the priority list with me.)
And that is about it. These are the resolutions I may or may not get around too. I'll probably be sitting here next year saying, "yeah--that eyebrow thing didn't happen..." It's only a priority when they are actually ripping my face off...then I quickly forget.
Here is to a low-stress 2014. May all of your priorities be where you need them to be, and may your family be blessed because of it. Happy New Year.