Ah.. the New Year… Which means a whole list of things I want to accomplish but probably never will. Like spending more time reading my bible, or being intentional with friends or getting back into a fitness routine… Sound familiar to you? The proverbial cycle of setting goals and watching them fade away. While my intentions are admirable, I catch myself getting swept away with the busyness of life and the new semester.
Now I kind of have an adverse reaction to New Year’s resolutions… like I want to respond in a gif of Michael Scott screaming ‘No!’ over and over again to anyone who tries and asks me what my resolutions are. Is it the fear of failure or societal pressure to improve myself that I hate? Probably. I revolt at the first sign of pressure to conform to a certain way. It is pretty telling to be honest….. My natural condition is to be selfish and rebel.
I think we as humans have a natural bent towards this. To do our our thing, go our own way, make ourselves successful and not rely on anyone because if we do, somehow that means we are weak and incompetent. So we focus on ourselves, to improve ourselves; measuring ourselves against others, etc. We become our own worst critic.
The thing is… we actually need others to make resolutions FOR us. We need feedback from others on how we are doing and where we need to go next. We all have blind spots that we can’t see and need others to gently, and gracefully point them out to us.
Like my friend Ali did for me this past week. We were on a road trip, visiting a friend and she totally called me out for being on my phone while talking to her. Basically she said, ‘Hey Katy are you paying attention to me? I am right here in FRONT of you’.
The truth hit me like ton of bricks: I am bad at multitasking. What I thought was a quick scan on Twitter and Instagram lead to checking all my social media accounts all the while not really listening to my best friend. Because I have known Ali for years, trust her and know she is for me, the feedback she gives is SUPER appreciative and important. Her feedback doesn’t lead me to get defensive or go into a depressive pit.. It helps me see the truth. How I am really doing.
We might not all have an ‘Ali’ (though I encourage you all to find one by stepping out to a close friend or family member and asking: how am I doing). But we do have access to a solid feedback giver: S C R I P T U R E.
It tells us how we are doing like holding a mirror up to ourselves. We see ourselves clearly and up close. It gives us perspective into a larger story that God has been weaving through all of creation. His redemption story.
But we need to be holding accurate ‘mirrors’ in order to really see ourselves. It can’t be society or what mainstream media is telling us. It can’t be what our family thinks or academics. All of these mirrors are broken, twisted or tainted. Some parts are good, TOTALLY! But they are incomplete.
What we need is to be immersed in scripture. To have it be our foundation. Our guide for how we perceive God, ourselves and others.
I know I originally and dramatically said I was adverse to New Year’s resolutions, but there are a few things I DO want to do this year; have scripture be my foundation and to PUT down my phone. I also want to be a person who accepts feedback; someone who lets people see the true, messy self. I know it will probably be uncomfortable and hard to keep it a priority. This hints why I am writing this and for those of you reading -- ask me at any point in the year how I am doing with this! I dare you!
I want to leave you with this verse. It is a moment during the transfiguration (where Jesus is on a mountain top with a few of his disciples and Moses and Elijah appear and start talking with him). “Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him” (Luke 9:32). It was only when Peter and the other disciples were fully awake did they grasp the situation before them; seeing the glory of Jesus in it’s full measure. Their perception on who they thought Jesus was totally changed in that moment. They were fully awake.
My hope and prayer today is to be fully awake; to see myself and Jesus through the lens of Scripture and respond to what He is doing in my life and in others. That’s my prayer for you too.
Let’s be people with a new perspective this year and not just people with lists of to-dos.