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What do you wish you had done differently?  If you are anything like me, you can look back over a day, a week, a month, or a year and wish that you had made different choices somewhere.  Some of them will be big choices.  Some of them will be small.  And some of them will, if we let them, weigh us down.

Personally, this is where it can really benefit you to realize that people simply are not perfect.  Perfection?  It belongs to God.

Us? We aren’t going to pull it off.  It doesn’t matter how well we plan or how hard we try.  Human beings are not perfect.

For some people, that thought can act like a weight.  No matter how hard they try, they will be imperfect.

Not me.  For me it is one of those messages of hope.  I should try to do my best, but things will go wrong.  The universe is a flawed place and I am a part of that universe.

I do carry a spark of God’s light and with it I can light my weaving, stony, imperfect path.  And the best part?  He will walk it beside me.

–SueBE

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Since I’m writing a week of New Year reflections, I feel like I should make a confession.  I’m not big on resolutions. They just seem trendy and too easy to let slide.

My birthday is toward the end of the month.  By the time it comes around, I tend to have a better idea what I want to address.  I’m ready to decide what to leave behind as my annual gift to me. Not that these annual gifts are always super popular.

One year, I quit agreeing to do things I didn’t want to do.  Not everything but the things that someone else could do but “you just do it so much better.” Um, no.  I don’t actually accept that as an explanation anymore.

The next, I quit apologizing for not doing things I didn’t want to do. “I can’t make it” became a perfectly acceptable, to me, answer.  It might mean I was busy.  It might also mean I just don’t want to put on shoes and leave the house.  But it also meant that I have to accept the same responses from my introvert friends.

What are you bringing into the New Year that you might put aside?  Perhaps you need to shrug off the childhood admonition that you have no artistic talent and take that painting class you’ve been wanting to try.  Or you could pick up a set of calligraphy pens and go through some online tutorials.

God gives us opportunities.  To take them up, we may need to put something else down.

–SueBE

Back when my sister was a kid, she loved choose your own adventure books.  Exploration, travel, daring do!  These books but the reader in the driver’s seat.  Every few pages you’d have a decision to make. Do you do choose the door on the left of the door on the right?  Each choice would lead to a completely different adventure.

In reality, life is a lot like those books but I have to admit that this is a reality I sometimes forget.  If I do the same thing, I can’t expect a new result.

What opportunities is God sending your way in 2019?  The reality is that you can only spot them if you are open to something new, something different, something miraculous.  What story are you supposed to write in 2019?  Spend some time in prayer and listen for the answer.

–SueBE

We’re keeping things easy this time around, my husband and I. No New Year’s resolutions, just a loose plan to eat at one new restaurant every month. It’s simple, enjoyable and doable — we’re destined for success. And yes, we do need to lose weight, fix up the house, get organized…all of the typical fronts tackled by most folks’ resolutions. We’ve failed at those enough times to know that it’s not worth making a commitment you can’t keep, one that’s sure to end in unhappiness when you just can’t live up to it.

Resolutions are funny things. They are based entirely on what we want for ourselves. Certainly God isn’t asking us to run a mile a day or clean out our closets, except in the most general and generous of ways: God wants what is best for us. God wants us to be healthy and happy. Everything else we resolve to do is simply to satisfy our own image of what our lives should look like. Our lives should be more, better. Or so we think.

Instead, I urge you in the year ahead to do less. Take one thing off your list; excise one of the rules you live your life by. Not something central, but a tangential and self-imposed thing — the lawn must be lush and green year-round; the dishes cannot sit in the sink overnight; you must never eat a carbohydrate. Get rid of the script in your head that tells you “I’m too fat to shop for clothes” or “whenever someone perceives me to be a bad mother, I must feel guilty.” You don’t have to do or feel or think or be anything, no matter what anyone else expects, feels, thinks or chooses for you.

This year (2018) I did something difficult — I stopped dyeing my hair. And it was hard and it is hard; every time I look in the mirror, I have the knee-jerk reaction that I’ve let myself go. But…go where? What is it that I think I owe to other people when they look at me? In something as silly as embracing my natural hair, I’ve found more opportunities for self-examination than I ever guessed I might.

Take it easy on yourself in 2019. Resolve to just be happy. Because if you can’t be happy with yourself as you are, no resolution will ever make you so.

What do you call a group of resolutions? I nominate the word brace. Why? “Brace” not only works as a plural, it connotes resolve. And that’s the difference between a wish, a dream and a resolution: A resolution demands resolve. You’ve got to have a will of steel to make a resolution happen. That’s why most of us fail at it.

I’ve got one resolution this year: Not to make any resolutions. The very idea of it seems to hint that I know what’s best for myself and that I ought to be the one shaping my life. I’m not so sure that’s true. Now, mind you, I’m not advocating for anyone to just sit in a chair doing nothing but sighing, “God’s will be done.” Not at all. If God didn’t want us to be involved in our own lives, God would not have given us free will.

I’m simply saying that God knows better than I do where I need to go. This year, I resolve to be less of a backseat driver. (“Really, God, you want me to go there? Are you sure? I’m not sure there is really in my wheelhouse. Wouldn’t over here be better?”) I’m going to embrace the journey, even if it involves what I perceive to be standing still for long periods of time. I’m going to remember that there’s a reason for everything, even if I don’t see it.

This year, God will make my resolutions for me. I can count on God’s resolve. Mine…not so much.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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