Just a few more days.
Just a few more days and the year we waited for with such feverish anticipation at this time last year…will be over.
Soon we will say good-bye to our 365-day-chance of new beginning, second chances and fresh starts and replace it with hopes of new goals and third/fourth/seventieth chances.

But before I start belting out Auld Lang Syne, I’m going to pause and regroup for a moment.

Did I do 2017 justice?
Am I able to say that I accomplished any of the goals I set out for myself?
Did I live out my “one word” and let it really permeate my lifestyle? (See this great post about how the “one word” resolution works!)
Are there honestly any real changes I can see in myself that I know are a direct result of the last twelve months?

Well…yes. And no.

To be honest, I had a REALLY good word last New Year’s Eve.
But also to be honest, my year went a little haywire before I was able to live it out.

When I started 2017 there were so many things I wanted to accomplish…so many things I wanted to do differently than the year before…so many ways I wanted to change things around…so many ideas I had for making it all happen. I had resolutions and plans and motivation….I was ready!

But then, January 1st came. And January 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Then February 4th, and the whole month following it. Each day brought a new set of circumstances and challenges. Some of the days delivered little benign surprises, and others smacked me upside the head so hard I was sent reeling into an arena I couldn’t even have begun to imagine with my sweet little naive 2016 brain. Apparently, in all my planning….I had failed to include precise instructions for the million different scenarios that life would throw at the “new me.” It was hard to figure out a way to fit my new hopes into the chaos.

I found myself so busy trying to navigate totally uncharted waters that I couldn’t even remember what my awesome word was! I was scrambling to survive…instead of working to live as intentionally as my “New Year’s Eve-self” had so carefully planned.

So here’s the thing: I can state, with perfect confidence, that I am a changed person from who I was 12 moths ago. Is it because I have been working to live out my word ideal…or because I just simply lived another year packed full of 365 days of new experiences?  Again, the answer is probably a little bit of both. I think that because I intentionally committed to trying to live in a certain way, I handled things a little differently than I would have otherwise. Did my word make a difference in all of the situations thrown my way? No…but the truth is I’d have probably needed 27 words to even begin to cover the year!

In my little personal year-end-review, I can see places I certainly came up short. I’m not talking about missing out on running an ultra-marathon or not spending half of my year on a beach or failing to eliminate sugar from my diet (although those are all lovely goals that I should probably keep working toward…especially the beach one!), but I mean all the times I can look back and say that I chose an action or reaction that I knew wasn’t what I wanted to do with my 2017 new beginning. I chose to repeat some patterns I didn’t want to repeat, and made some mistakes I’d made before. I can see places where I failed to live up to my fresh new chance, and it makes me realize I need to “re-add” those goals to this year’s resolutions.

But you know what? I also achieved things I had NO idea I could do. Things I didn’t even set as a goal because I never imagined I could accomplish them …or even had a desire beforehand to try to do at all!

Looking back over the last 365 (ish) days I can see how I have changed. I can see lots of instances where I was able to try to mold my life around my hopes for change, and I can also see lots of chances God gave me to refine my notion of myself by experiencing and persevering through things that a one-word-ideal couldn’t begin to cover. I still love the idea of setting a goal for myself on how to change and live the next year of my life. I will do that in the next few days for sure. However, this year I’m going to be a bit more lenient on the resolution. I’m going to add a caveat…that God opens my eyes to what it is He wants me to experience…and that I learn even more from that than from following my own ideas.

Last year I joined with my friend Louise and picked the word “Release”. I was ready to let some things drift out of my life and make room for other things that I knew God wanted me to do. That’s been somewhat accomplished…but there is still more to work on in that arena. I’m not sure what to pick for next year, just like I’m not sure what challenges and adventures 2018 will bring. So I’ll plan to carefully prayerfully choose something I’d like to make an intentional change in, and then pray for the wisdom and strength to discern how to fit that into whatever opportunities God puts in my path.

(I just really hope that path includes sand between my toes…and no, the playground at Sonic does NOT count.)


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