Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year, New You . . . blah blah blah

So here we are with another new year just beginning. The gym parking lots are full, Nordictrack commercials fill the TV screen, my Rodan and Fields Facebook friends are in full swing to help us all get better skin this year, Oprah and her Weight Watchers pleas . . . please, and of course the multitude of presidential candidates vying for our votes promising change, change, change! ENOUGH!

I mean, let's be real here: have you ever stuck to a "new year's resolution" simply because it was a new year's resolution? Maybe you have, but I might be tempted to call you a liar until you showed proof . . . but hey, that's just me! The thing is, resolutions are all about the hype and feel-good intentions coming on the heels of peace and good will toward men in the shadow of Christmas; a time when we've eaten waaaay too much, spent more than we should, not focused as much on genuine time with one another, and overall done most of the things we swore we wouldn't AGAIN this year. So we resolve to be a better person. Lose weight, take better care of our skin, exercise for our health, take on the penny challenge to save money, dive into couponing, blah blah blah. Been there, and guilty of all THAT!

One year, I resolved to keep the desk in my office, the desk in my classroom, and my car all clean at the same time. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That little psycho moment lasted about one week. I didn't have a fourth spot to put all the junk when the other three were clean. Another year, I resolved not to purchase any more magazine subscriptions. This one was more a self control issue. You see, I had several subscriptions; I'm kind of a magazine junkie, but I also do not have the virtue of patience. So, if the magazine got to the grocery store checkout before my mailbox, I bought it! I know, I know. This one probably didn't classify so much as a resolution, but more of a self-convicting, "Hey, Ding Dong!? What are you doing? STOP!"

The point is that all this resolution mess is just nonsense. It's like parenting: there is no magic date or age. There's no working up to doing what is best for our children and, more importantly, our marriages. There isn't a kick-off date for real meaningful change in our lives. We either live it, taking up our cross daily, or we don't. That is it.

We live in a time now where if I have to keep at something for too long, it simply must not be meant to be, or if it makes me unhappy, God forbid, I must throw in the towel. Really? Sure am glad our grandparents didn't live this way!

Resolution comes from listening to The One and Only--really living by faith and obedience . . . and it happens in a moment. And here's the real kicker: it isn't always January 1st or a Monday for you habitual dieters out there. For me, it was June 5, 2015. That was the day I closed my childcare center after 34 years in business. It wasn't because I HAD to but because I CHOSE to. Christ had called me into service, and while it was beyond scary, my faith was bigger than my fear, and I chose the answer, "Yes, Lord." These last 7 month have been a daily commitment to that "yes." I went from operating my center and teaching our kindergarten and first grade class, managing 17 employees, caring for over 120 children AND their families, being "on" 24/7 in the field of self employment . . . not to mention tending to my own children and husband, heavy involvement in church and professional organizations . . . to an almost complete stop. Whoa! Talk about a shock to the system. I had no idea how to live that life. I had way too many minutes available and way too much quiet. Sooo, when the opportunity came to take a long-term substitute teaching position at my children's school, I jumped on it! More to do--that was just what I needed! I'll fast forward to the end of that 12-week adventure; my husband gently reminded me at the end of a particularly stressful day that I had closed my center in order to focus on the plans God had my life and ministry--so what was I doing?

I was keeping busy. (Silly man--couldn't he see that?) But that was just it--he could see it. So over the Christmas break, we prayerfully decided that I would not return for a second long term subbing position. I can't tell you how much I hated making that phone call. I was an employer once too. But I did. My "resignation" was accepted but countered with another position, not in a classroom, but in the office. My heart leapt! Oh yes! I could do that! No problem! But once again, the man I married reminded me, "Nope; focus, woman!" So again, I said no.

That "no" was the best no ever! It was in obedience, and not out of a resolution I, or my husband, had made. I was deliberately choosing to live out the parenting mission I've been called to do and embracing the honor in being a housewife and mother and not just offering my leftover self in these areas. It occurred to me yesterday, just two days after that second "no," that this whole experience strangely resembled the behavior of a disobedient child--that one kid who does everything BUT the thing you tell him to do. While I hadn't been rebellious, I hadn't been focused on just what He wanted me to do. But when I did . . . WOW! Almost immediately, it was like a director yelling, "ACTION!" Andrea and I had the most amazing night. Emails and phone calls as quick as we could handle them came flooding in. It was so amazingly overwhelming! Like a big warm hug from Papa God, as one of my sweet friends calls Him, and Him saying "YES! She can be taught!" (I like to think He has a rockin' sense of humor!)

I've been all smiles these last two days and truly drinking from the saucer! To continually say "Yes, Lord," to get out of my own way, and to allow Him to use me. THESE are the things I'm focusing on today and everyday. Real change doesn't require elaborate planning, preparation, or proclamation. The shape of our heart shows in the fruit we bear, not on the tags of our clothes.


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