New year’s resolutions have always perplexed me. I understand why we make them but don’t understand how they seemed doomed and poorly adopted by most (including myself). Hearing about them on the radio, social media and in ads on TV, I’ve come to regard them mostly as holiday rebound. Pondering over mine for a week, I’ve gathered a few good ideas worth sharing.
Melinda Gates has an original idea- not adopting a resolution- but focusing on a special WORD to center her thoughts and behaviors towards throughout the year. That’s a reasonable, and possibly attainable goal. A recent devotional challenged me to ask GOD what my resolution should be, rather than choose myself. I think that’s an excellent place to start. I dare not ask my family for input as I’d likely end up with a long list.
Our church has adopted the book of Proverbs from the Bible for us to study as a congregation for the new year. This has aided in getting my mind oriented towards a better ATTITUDE. Attitudes are the center of where our actions form so it’s also an excellent place to start.
Attending an event recently, I met an interesting person who discussed her PASSION and that she “couldn’t NOT do it” referring to her horse hobby. It got me to think about my passions and if those might need to be included in my resolutions? One did, but two seem in line. When I refer to “in line” I’m referring to God given passions. How does one know when it’s a God-given passion? It’s when it benefits you and others. Therefore, I realized one passion I have needs to go. (I’m not going to bore you here with details.)
What about CIRCUMSTANCES? Those may be beyond our control and quite taxing. When someone’s struggling, it’s nearly impossible to adopt new behaviors or set higher standards. So, going back to the second idea, asking the Great Creator above for input seems prudent. Resolutions are great ideals but don’t need to make us feel worse about ourselves if we fall short (and we ALL come up short).
Finally, there’s that “F” word- FORGIVENESS. It keeps popping up randomly. I’m wondering if I need to do that and/or if I will need to when I try to avoid my prior passion…..
Sometimes we are inexplicably given the gift of a sign or message. That sign can be the thing that helps us to persevere, hang on, or power through difficult times. Having had a few trials myself, I have come to recognize two spontaneous messages of hope in my life. Those two signs I find comfort in are: monarch butterflies and double rainbows. (Nope, I do not have any imaginary friends or see unicorns- in case you are wondering.)
One of these signs appeared while I was vacationing at the beach. Longing for a modicum of peace, I decided to take a solo walk along the shore. It was a bright, breezy day with vast, blue skies exploding in every direction. I knew the crashing waves would drown out the sounds of the world and the smell of salt and laughter of gulls would relieve my internal and external tension. I began to talk to God about all that was bothering me (He already knew, but hey?) and asked for guidance, wisdom, clarity and anything else He might throw in for good measure. All of a sudden, out of NO WHERE appeared a lone, monarch butterfly. It was bright yellow and fluttered about me for a good, five minutes. It’s spontaneous presence was awe inspiring and felt like a divine message of hope was hitting my “Inbox.”
My second “message moment” occurred more recently. A friend was sharing what she was enduring over the phone. By chance, I looked up and saw not one, but TWO spectacular rainbows. Their concise, colorful arches expanded the sky end to end and took my breath away. Immediately, I pulled my car over and told her to hang on because I was sending her something via text RIGHT then. The shot was a “shout from the sky” telling us to hang on because the same God who promised Noah no more floods was still with her too! She agreed they were perfect and perfectly timed.
Some might reason these two phenomena away with scientific facts. That’s okay. I still get to choose that they hold deeper meaning for me. I think I need these symbols of hope to keep on keeping on. Also, I like hearing from the Creator, no matter His medium. (And, no, I still haven’t, and don’t plan on seeing any unicorns.)
There have been countless desperation prayers I have made over the past 20 + years. From preemie hospitalizations, to RSV scares, to trips to a specialist, to sanity (mine), to you name it. But driving in the car with my four children had me calling on the Higher Power the most. You see, driving to town involved containing three very rambunctious, atomic level energetic, “I-Will-Get-Bored-And-Pull-My-Brother’s-Car seat-Over” males. I drove a suburban which allowed two car seats on each row with a seat in between. We even put the most grabby one next to our daughter who was less reactive. I had been having a particularly difficult week driving them (sneakers flying, etc.) and was just exiting our driveway to pull onto the road when one grabbed the other brother’s hair (idk how) and one began screaming. It had only been two minutes in the car. I was beginning to feel my chest tighten and noticed I was shallow breathing. I pulled my car off the road and just started praying, “Dear Jesus, PLEASE help me get these children safely to school!” When I looked up into my rear view mirror, my three year old son turned to the row of siblings behind him and said, “Mom’s talking to Jesus again!” Yep, I was. And would be for a very long time.
If you, like me, despise the above saying, then you will easily understand me. I absolutely believe there IS a higher power and have come to know him as Jesus. Yes, He most certainly WILL give you more than you can handle. It’s His means to draw you closer. It’s not to disregard your surely, evolved abilities, but to salvage those in overwhelming, unbearable circumstances. I learned this tough lesson when I, Katie, Miss do-it-all, over-achiever, was given natural, identical triplets 3 months after my mother succumbed to Alzheimer’s and while I was raising a 1 year old. My sister said God did this to get my attention because that was the only way. I beg to differ. I think God did this to bless my husband and me and to teach us. Now there has been a cost: loss of prior beliefs, less invitations and others, but they pale in comparison to the life lessons we’ve gained. Maybe you have a similar story from a different perspective. Maybe you were blessed with a special needs child (greatest nod from God I can imagine) or you have endured a trial that has left you more aware of what really matters. Maybe you lost something that opened your eyes to something greater. I don’t know, but I do believe we all can learn from and gain perspective from one another. That is why I decided to do this blog that many friends say might help someone else.