I stopped resolving things on December 31st about ten years ago. That was the year my third son was born and in addition to the new responsibility of having to celebrate a birthday on New Year’s Eve, I officially hit the limit of things I could possibly think about at year’s end. Who has the capacity with three young kids (now four) to stop, reflect and resolve to do anything?
But now that my youngest sports super hero underpants instead of Huggies and my oldest is somehow capable of entertaining himself independently by reading Tolkein, I find myself with more mental space to process, reflect, and goal set.
What do I really want out of next year?
How do my priorities need to shift for the year ahead and what new habits do I need to form (starting tomorrow, of course)? And where am I going to find a Lego Star Wars birthday cake before 5pm?
Okay, so maybe I’m not completely distraction free.
You may already have read that my first resolution won’t be to lose weight this year. Even though my doctor has (graciously) pointed out to me that dropping a few pounds wouldn’t be a bad idea (Thanks, Doc…), I’m not going to obsess over starting a new diet or exercise routine on January 1. I’ve (finally) come to recognize that every time I do that I feel like a failure by Super Bowl Sunday. Instead, this year, my health and fitness goals are going to be more woven into my daily life, routine, and walk with God instead of holding their own priority spot in line for January and then falling to the back of the pack the other eleven months of the year.
So, what does a woman who struggles with body image resolve for the new year? Here goes:
Resolution 1: Pray more…especially for my man.
Something I’m not proud of is my tendency to think I can do it all. Myself. Yes, somewhere along the way I adopted a theology of God that went like this: God needs me to give 90% and then he can come in and donate the 10% to get me over the finish line.
Yeah, not quite.
My prayer life also reflects this embarrassing truth. I pray when I’ve run out of human effort to put in. I pray when I’m desperate because I can’t get all the way there. I pray when I’m out of energy because I’ve been trying and trying and trying so hard to do it all. Myself. (I believe I already mentioned that…)
So my word for the year is: Pray. Or prayer. Or praying. (Dag gum, what writer can pick just one word for an entire year. Words have forms, different tenses… I digress…)
I’m going to try to pray before figuring out how to solve the problem in my head. I started yesterday in fact. I had a problem with Facebook and their customer service, straight up, told me I was out of luck. I prayed. I was tempted to compose letters to them in my head and scheme how I could get past the entry level employee who told me “no” to get to someone with clout. But, then I remembered my resolution. Give it to God. Miraculously this morning I got an email saying they were working on it.
Hmmm. Seems there’s something to this prayer thing after all.
I’m also going to really focus on praying for my husband. This is an area where I’ve fallen short and I’ve asked his forgiveness for that, in fact. I tend to do shout out prayers (You know, “God help him!”) but not intentional, specific or topically focused prayers. A friend recommended I read a book that had been on my shelf for a decade (shame, shame…) called “The Power of a Praying Wife” and I’ve started using it to pray for my husband specifically each morning. This is one resolution I really want to keep this year.
Resolution 2: Obsess Less
I’m sure I’m the only one who does this but I’ll share anyway… In the next year I want to make strides towards being free(r) from worry. I want to learn how to trust God more with every detail: including my writing.
See, I have a confession to make. Sometimes when I write, I obsess over whether or not I’m scripting something that someone else will like, relate to, or be touched by. I wrestle every verb and noun trying (in vain) to ensure that it’ll be a post that makes a difference. Other times, I feel like God just puts the words in my heart and they come out without effort.
Then there’s my body image. I’m thinking about ditching my scale this year. I packed it in a box last week and I’m not sure if I’ll unpack it until next December. The truth is, it doesn’t have anything helpful to say to me. But, I know if I get on it in the morning, it’s read out has the ability to cause me to obsess over my weight. All. Day. Long.
I’m old enough now to know whether or not I’ve gained weight based on how my clothes are fitting. And, while there is certainly some wisdom involved in keeping track of your weight so too much gain doesn’t surprise you, for those of us who tend to obsess, this may not be a healthy practice.
If you’re stuck obsessing over your body image all that time, I really hope you’ll read my book, Compared to Who?
Resolution 3: Fast More
I really believe that fasting is the biblically prescribed way for us to keep our feasting in check. Interestingly enough, I was reading an article by an alternative medicine/natural health type doctor yesterday. This man has no professed belief or reliance on God or the Bible and yet, in his piece on why people should avoid diet pills he also prescribed fasting as the best natural method for cleansing the body and keeping weight in check.
I’ve done a lot of “trying not to eat” in my life. But, that’s not what fasting is, or should be, for the follower of Christ. Instead, fasting provides an opportunity to abstain from food in order to focus on prayer, denying the flesh, and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Fasting can be done in many different ways. Some people just drink juice all day while others go water only. Some do the “Daniel plan” (based on the way Daniel (you know–the guy who lived through staying at the lion’s den hotel–ate for a time) where they fast from all foods other than fruits and vegetables. Depending on your required daily activities (energy exertion) and the condition of your health, one way may work better than others.
I’ve tried all ways and I think I do best with water only–as just having a little bit of food is enough to make me want more, immediately! Any way you do it, the point is to spend that time you would spend eating and instead turn your attention towards God.
How about you? Do you have anything specific you want to see transformed in your life next year? Have you set goals or resolutions to start new habits and get there?
Happy New Year!