I’d like to recommend a source of encouragement during Lent. It’s Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever series. Matthew Kelly is a transplanted Australian who writes and encourages people to be “the best version of yourself;” the person God created you to be. His series for Lent comes via e-mail and is usually a thoughtful quote or a short video. Check it out! You’ll be glad you did!
How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Did you make any? Perhaps, like me, you lost the fascination with resolution-making a long time ago when the sense of failure began before the end of December 31st. Perhaps it’s because I’ve made so many plans in my life that have either not gone as I’d hoped or just simply failed that I tend to avoid making resolutions. However, having a “try it and see how it goes” perspective doesn’t really work either if a person desires lasting change. So, this year, I’ve decided to try something different: I’m embracing change, one month at a time, without getting hung up on making The Great Plan That Cannot Be Changed. Here’s how it works for me:
Each month I’m choosing one thing I’d like to see changed or at least improved and moving in the right direction. Whether I tick it off at the end of the month as accomplished really isn’t of great concern to me. And I’m also leaving open the option to change it if it seems there is opportunity for a better direction. After all, with twelve months in a year, I can always move a project to another month.
For example, January was supposed to be the month I finally got my old books on ebay to sell. I’ve been dragging my feet on that project for a long time because I’m intimidated by the process and the unknowns of it. Well, I did watch the ebay instruction videos in January on how to do this, but I haven’t listed anything yet. Why? Because in January Emily decided she didn’t want the big roll-top desk in her room anymore.
I’ve been desperate for some kind of office space for a long time with no success in getting anything to work long-term. Here was the perfect opportunity–a desk large enough to handle my needs, attractive enough to be in the living room (the only practical spot in the house for an office for me), and has a beautiful roll-top that can be shut at a moment’s notice to hide any paper mess that needs to be hidden! (As opposed to my kitchen counter that usually had the mountain of paper on it.) So, January turned into “make me an office” month rather than “list books on ebay month.” And, in truth, that’s what I’ve needed most. It’s incredible how much headache that desk has eliminated for me (and my counter!). A good start for the year.
February’s project has been to eat more healthfully and tone down the sugar intake. That’s a big one for me! I have completely eliminated sugar before and ended up gaining ten pounds the moment I started eating it again, so I know radical change like that is a definite “no.” Besides, when God created food He said it was good, so I’m not going to argue! 🙂 My problem is eating too much and eating to relieve stress, so eating healthfully means choosing better foods, smaller portions, and knowing why I’m eating. Has this been a resounding success yet? Nope. However, I have come to realize how attached to food I am and see more clearly what it is going to take for me to turn food back into a pleasure rather than an obsession. So, February isn’t a fail, it’s part of a long journey of healing. I want food to become to me what coffee and wine are: A pleasure to be enjoyed without “having” to have it.
When I started the New Year and got to thinking about resolutions, the only thing that came to my mind was “embrace change.” I realized that change is often assumed to be scary. But, I’m ready for change. Perhaps it’s being in mid-life or perhaps it’s simply realizing that there’s nothing dignified about never changing and acting as though the way I am now and have been is just fine. Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic encourages people to “become the best version of yourself,” the version God had in mind when He created me. To become that requires change, and change can be an adventure rather than a scary proposition. So, that’s where I am, embracing change; one month at a time.