Naming the Year

It’s the third or fourth time I’ve sat down to do it. To evaluate and ponder my 2010. To look ahead to 2011. Each time is the same. My mind is restless. Bouncing from one thought to another.

“I need to make dinner for tonight.” “Did I jot that idea down?” “Who is picking up Madison this time?” “Why does freelance writing scare the bejeebies out of me?” “I wonder if I offended So-And-So. She seems to avoid us now.” “Oh, I need to get my January calendar and my menus started.” “Where do I begin with this evaluation stuff anyway?”    

Next thing I know I’m back up and busy: packing for our trip to Cinci, throwing in another load of laundry, putting away the Christmas wrapping paper. All the while, I’m mulling things over in my restless heart. Looking back and looking forward.

It’s a good practice. This pausing over the fresh new year. This blank slate of days that WILL get filled. All 365 of them. Oops. Make that 363. Two are already gone. Shoot. It’s hard not feel like maybe I’ve already failed. “Shouldn’t I have gotten this evaluation done BEFORE the new year started?”

But, really, how will the other 363 get filled? What kind of year will it be? What kind of year was last year?

And then it hits me. Last year was a lot like the years before it. Me striving. And rushing. And trying to cover up and hide the frayed edges. Me yelling at the kids when things didn’t go right. And fretting over finances. And hurrying (again) to get the piles of my life cleaned-up before Rick goes crazy. Me scrambling to get done the things that I should have gotten done but didn’t because I lingered on my favorite blogs too long. And second-guessing my worth all the while.

Striving. Rushing. Covering. Yelling. Scrambling.

Ick.

How can this year be different? This striving that has been haunting me as long as I can remember. What can I do to stop it? How can I change? What program can I follow? Maybe a better planner? Maybe there’s a book about this. What can I do?

Ironically, that’s just the problem. I don’t think I can do anything about it.

Except there is this one thing…  maybe I can just Rest.

Dare I ask it? Could 2011 really be the year when my doing is transformed into resting?

2011: The Year of Rest.

And, I don’t mean more sleep. I’m not talking about physical rest – though at times that might be part of it. Truth be told, I think that I get plenty of sleep.

I mean real Rest.

The kind of Rest that comes from trusting that Jesus’ payment was really enough to cover all my junk. That there is no reason to hide or scramble or pretend to have it all together. I am secure in Christ. And that really is enough.

The kind of Rest that comes from relaxing in the sovereign hand of my Father. Believing that He really has it all under control and my part is to look for His agenda, not force mine on Him. That there is no reason to fret or yell or rush. He who has His eye on the sparrow can provide enough resources for my days.

The kind of Rest that comes from letting the Spirit do that hard work of making my heart more pliable. That there is no reason to strive and work harder. Nothing of lasting value is accomplished in my self-help efforts. Mine is to abide. Simply abide.

Yes. This will be my Year of Rest…

I do love a good calendar and checking off to-do lists. I’ll still need them.

 I’ll still work hard in this life to which God has called me. Laundry will still need done. Articles will still have deadlines. The kids will still need to get here or there on time. Rick will need me to finish the things I start and tame my piles.

I don’t think Rest means I abandon those things. I think it means that I do them with a whole different posture. It’s not clenching my teeth and gutting it out as if the weight of the world rests on me. Rather it’s joy and peace as I relax into the lordship of the One who says His burden is light.

With that, I say, “Welcome 2011!” May this be the year I learn the true meaning of Rest and allow God to realign my posture in a way that will shape the next 40 years…

Packing and Pausing

The bulbs are packed, the teapot is back in its box, the decorations lovingly stored away. Another Christmas has come and gone. And with its passing comes a new year.

In many ways I’m ready for it. It always feels good to put the Christmas decorations away and get the house back in order after the holiday hoopla. The packing up also signals a welcome return to routines. The kids get back to school this coming week, our home & work schedules return to normal (whatever that is), and all the specials (special food, special programs, special celebrations) have past. Routine is a good thing for my heart.

I also love the prospect of a fresh new year. A blank slate of days. Can’t you just feel the hope that permeates the air at the start of a new year?

But, if I’m honest, I’m also not so ready for it. What if the hope just disappoints? What if all my dreams for 2010 fall flat on their face? In fact, what are my dreams for 2010? We’re already three days in to the new year and I haven’t really planned or reflected much. Can’t you just feel the pressure that threatens to paralyze your heart at the start of a new year?

I’ll be taking some time this week to plan and reflect. I’d rather tread slowly into this new year than make a list of resolutions that will overwhelm me or cause me to strive all the more. I’ve been there too many times and I know that the striving can only lead in two directions: either it makes me prideful or it crushes my spirit. Neither inspire me.

There are a lot of things I don’t know about 2010. But I do know that I want it to be a year marked by dwelling and depending. Dwelling with the Lord wherever He has me. And depending on His Spirit for a heart that reflects His.

 

As I reflect this week and set aside time to prepare for this new year, I’ll likely be blogging some of my thoughts here. As I do, I hope that you’ll join me in spirit. The start of a new year is a great time to pause and consider who you’re becoming and how you’re spending your short life on this earth. I’d love to hear your hopes and dreams for 2010. Feel free to comment or drop me an e-mail (shannon-mckee@sbcglobal.net).

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