2012. It’s here, a new year. I like new beginnings, even though I hate New Year’s resolutions. I guess that is kind of a dichotomy. It’s just that resolutions seem to be these pie in the sky expectations, the ones you hold yourself to, but never quite achieve. So much so, that after a while, you dread even making them. At least that is how it is for me. Maybe having to battle my weight for so long has just tainted me, but somehow resolutions make me feel like I am setting myself up to fail. Kind of like the law, a standard that is there to show you how far off you are. I am way off. I don’t need a reminder of what I cannot do. It is ever before me. What I need is grace.
New beginnings give me hope. To start fresh…to start over…to start energizes me. I feel as if I have a new lease on life and can take on the world. The spark of hope grows into a flame that burns and spreads to those around me. It fills me with motivation and overflows into actions, which over time change my life. To grab a hold of a new beginning is to have faith that change is not only necessary but also possible. I can hear the question. Aren’t new beginnings the same as New Year’s resolutions? Setting goals for starting something new? How are they different? I’m glad you asked.
It’s all in the way you look at it. Let’s take my favorite resolution. I want to lose weight. (Insert your own personal thorn in the flesh here.) If you are a good resolution maker you say, I am going to lose 50 lbs. this year. It is a goal you set for yourself; it is measurable, and important to your health. In order to meet it, you make a plan of action. So far so good. Now the first day comes, and you get up early to exercise, you eat lettuce all day. You pat yourself on the back for your good day. For the first week, you do it every day and you are successful in losing 2 lbs. However, that is a long way from the 50 you set as a goal, so you get a bit discouraged that you didn’t lose more. No matter. Just keep going you tell yourself, and so you do. By the end of week two or three, you are sick to death of lettuce and you have only lost a total of 3 lbs. Doctors may say a pound a week is a healthy rate of loss, but for all the pain of denying yourself, you want higher numbers. Those biggest loser people lose 16 lbs. in a week right? So now you are starved, disappointed, and grumpy. It is only a matter of time before you give in and cheat. Then you can heap guilt onto your pile of negative emotions. Somehow the hopefulness of making the resolution has morphed into a mountain of self-hatred that you carry on your shoulders. It shows on your face…not to mention the scales. Trust me I know this cycle. The 50 lb. goal has become the law by which you measure yourself. It defines who you are. A failure. What a total lie we have bought!! No wonder we give up after just a few weeks!
Now, for a new beginning. First, I ask a question. What is the real goal? (My friend Jessica asked me this one.) To lose weight, right? Nope. That is NOT the goal. In fact, throw out your scales, or at least hide them. The goal is to live your life fully, and in order to do that you have to have your health. What is holding you back from your goal? For me it was weight, for you it might be something else. A new beginning is not a number on the scale. A new beginning is having a vision of who you were created to be and then taking the steps to become. I was created to be active and involved with my kids. I was created to write inspirational messages. I was created to teach children to read. To see God’s hand at work, to climb mountains, to walk through valley’s, to walk with others through theirs, to be a warrior, to be a survivor, to be alive, to take in nature, to express what I see, to feel, to love, to create, to believe, to befriend, to uphold, to encourage, to inspire. So much better than losing 50 lbs. don’t you think? Make your own list. As a result of beginning to see a new vision of me, I reduce my calories and up my exercise, however, I am no longer measuring myself by a number, but by any forward movement to become myself. I ask, “Does this action help me become or hold me back? Can I fight to take my life back?”
The best thing is that His mercy is new EVERY morning, not just once a year. I use that every-morning gift to walk towards the vision of what he created for me. If I have a bad day, I just remember who I am becoming and whom I am leaving behind…the old stuff and the old unhealthy me who didn’t see her value. It takes time to make this monumental mind shift. It is a foreign concept, and your mind wants to go back to the law of the measuring by heaping guilt upon your soul. Do not allow it! Know that his grace is sufficient for new beginnings.