If you were to ask my husband what it’s like living with me, he’d probably tell you he married the spawn of Spock. I love how logic is calculated and purposeful, and I love to analyze just about everything. I probably should have gone into a career field working as an analyst. For example, when I walk into the bathroom and find the toilet seat left up, or a toilet paper roll next to the toilet and NOT on the roller … I’m making a mental note of the highly illogical behavior of my spouse. I then delve down the analytical rabbit hole and question what childhood event or form of upbringing has brought on such dubious behavior. Okay, not really, but I do find it highly annoying.
Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the drive and logistics behind setting New Year resolutions. I used to be obsessed with my resolutions. I also took my great-grandmother’s advice (very seriously) of always having a fresh calendar ready for the new year. Her belief was, if you didn’t have a calendar by Jan. 1, you’d be cursed by being late the whole year.
What I have found to be true in my life is that while I love logic and analytical conversation, life itself is single handedly the most uncontrollable force out there. I think we make resolutions to provide a sense of security and control. We look at the year prior and make note of all the things that went wrong and plan on how we can ensure it won’t happen again. I think instead of planning life to the Nth degree, setting up yearly resolutions (that are typically the same thing year after year), we should live with intention. If you find that resolutions work well for you, great!
Personally, I decided about two years ago that the idea of a “resolution” per-se, wasn’t logical or do-able for me. I’d stick with something for a few weeks or a couple months if I was lucky and then I would be back to old habits. I decided to change my mindset. Instead of resolving an issue and/or coming to a resolution, I decided to live with intent. The truth is, most New Year’s resolutions revolve around things we know we should be doing already, like eating vegetables and exercising. We know those things are vital to our well-being. Intentions, however, are about longings that lie deep within us that are waiting to be put into action. When you set an intention, the idea is to manifest something you want to do.
When I came to this realization a couple years ago, I started off the year with the intention of becoming comfortable in vulnerability. I had grown up with a guarded heart and was afraid to be vulnerable around anyone, including my family. I wanted to live my life feeling secure enough to live comfortably in my vulnerability not just for myself, but in my role as a wife and mother. I had the opportunity to travel to Scotland this summer with my church during a pilgrimage, and it changed my life.
The result of my journey across the Atlantic to Scotland was a transformation more beautiful than I had intended. Far too long had I kept myself bottled up. Yet, one evening in an old stone abbey, the walls around my heart crumbled as a steady flow of tears stung my wind burnt cheeks. I felt reborn and alive. I saw life in a light that I hadn’t seen in a long time. My entire childhood, it had been drilled into my head that I was a burden, a hindrance, and I was left feeling like I was never measuring up. Probably the driving force behind my obsession with resolutions as a child and young adult.
What I have realized in my journey through this life is that I am not a problem or an issue to solve. I am a human being; fearfully and wonderfully made by God and I often fall short. He gave me this life, and no matter how hard it can get, it is a gift to me. A gift to be cherished and handled with care. If I mess up and get off track, it’s okay. Life in all its glory is unpredictable, exhausting and never goes according to plan.
Don’t get discouraged when things aren’t going to plan, the complexities life brings forth can sometimes be highly illogical. The thing to remember is, we’re not Vulcan. We are human. It’s okay to feel, and it’s okay to dream. So, put those resolutions in your back pocket and live the life you’ve been blessed with.
• Kristina Abbott is a member of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.