So, what should my New Year’s resolution be this year? Lose weight (as usual), a new house cleaning weekly plan, read more, walk more, bake for others more?”
I realized as I was thinking through the multitude of possibilities for a New Year’s resolution that there was a common theme among them– I resolve to do more. My seemingly innocuous search for new resolve revealed a core belief of my heart– the belief that I’m not doing enough and that maybe a plan, a new calendar and a healthy dose of self-induced guilt will make me do more and consequently, let me be more.
It’s moments like these where I am so thankful for God’s still small voice letting me know that I’m once again venturing off into my self-praising, self-bettering world of busyness. There are countless women’s Bible studies, Pinterest boards, Facebook articles and clever devotionals for me to wallow in as I try and build my self-worth and “lovableness” on a foundation of me doing more and being better.
The heartbreaking thing is, that in the middle of all of this ME doing, I am in danger of missing all that God is doing. I fail to sit with him and enjoy a cup of coffee with Him in the morning. Or if I do sit with Him, it feels dry and mechanical– a check on a box to fulfill my resolve to “be in the Word more”.
I get an incoming phone call from a godly friend. I know she wants to talk about the joys, struggles and challenges of new mommy-hood. The conversation would be life-giving to both of us. But good wives have the chores done before their husbands are home from work (right??), and I still haven’t figured out what healthy and tasty meal I am going to get on the table before we run off to an evening of ministry activities. So, I let the call go to voicemail and skip the opportunity to connect with and encourage a sister.
I hold the sweet, beautiful baby that the Lord gave to me after years of praying for a husband and children and instead of snuggling her closely, delighting in her smiles and praising God for how fearfully and wonderfully made she is, my mind races to the dishes in the sink, the unfinished work in the office, the bathroom that hasn’t been scrubbed in ?? days… The list goes on.
Now, I understand that life is busy. For me, busy looks like being a wife and mom, having a part time job, being involved in ministry, keeping a home, having friends and a few personal goals. That’s just reality for anyone living in this world of toil, and diligence is praised in the Scripture. What I am talking about is my endless quest to be a better version of me through doing more. The ironic thing is, I never get it all done anyway. I choose to worry and plot more efficient means to accomplish housework, more ways I can serve in ministry, more ways to earn and save money. I look in the mirror and resolve to be better dressed, slimmer with better hair and somehow, more acceptable to God, my family and others.
And in the midst of all of my resolutions, I don’t actually have time for people. I don’t actually feel like I’m doing anything very well. And more tragically, I don’t have time or an ear to hear God’s voice. I’m too busy trying to be better to really understand what it means to be in Christ.
If I am going to resolve to do anything in this New Year, it is to embrace the words of John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The next year, I want to be less about fixing me and more about celebrating the Lord and all that He is doing in and around me. I know this isn’t going to be easy, and you can remind me of my resolution when you hear those “I need to be more” phrases coming out of my mouth. Maybe I won’t have a decorated house, a healthy meal plan and a dynamic ministry under my belt by January 2017. But if I have learned any more how to be filled with the presence and Spirit of Christ, I will be light years beyond anything I might have accomplished in my own strength and resolution.