January 2, 2007

Nothing New

Can you see it? The tiny little sprout poking its head through the dirt? This Narcissus seedling in the corner of my living room has become a metaphor for this week. At the beginning of a new year, everything's back on the table, the possibilities are palpable.

As a person who loves change, the New Year's zeitgeist almost makes me shiver. All that potential for doing new things or doing old things in a new way is like candy. I've already envisioned a schedule for writing, a list of articles to submit, an organized schedule for blogging, a new system for paying my bills and maintaining a budget, a motivating system for eating well and exercising, a plan getting to know my neighbors and reaching out to the women in my bible study. This year I'll write more, volunteer more, paint more, serve more, exercise more, read my Bible more, eat less, watch TV less, worry less, buy less. Every thing is going to change for me in the New Year!

Or is it? Maybe all this New Year's hype is a ruse, a cleverly disguised plan by fitness centers and self help gurus to sell gym memberships and fix-it books. Can our lives really change with the turning of a calendar page?

This year, my new year's resolution is to NOT make any new year's resolutions. When I wait for January 1 to make changes in my life, I end up putting off the things I really need to do differently now. And when I get caught up in the newness of things once a year, I get off track, taking on new projects or emphasizing areas of my life that need to fade more into the background.

Here's what I am learning. The Lord is already at work in my life, and the paths he's leading me on are good ones, ones that have lessons for me to learn and people for me to love. I don't need to make a lot of big changes in my life nearly as much as I need to hunker down and be faithful to do what God has called me to.

Newness and change is alluring. But this year, the Lord's calling me to stay right where I am. It's not that he doesn't want me to grow, and there are certainly aspects of my personality and disposition that need to change. But these are things God has to do. And he's doing them through the monotonous and difficult things He's already given me to do.


L.L. Barkat said...

I agree that change is best made, and perhaps most lasting, when made in a context that cries out for it.

On the other hand, your list sure sounds tempting... maybe the good thing about a list is that it gets us thinking in new directions, even if it takes time to turn the ship. :)

As always, I love your thoughts here.

Mark Goodyear said...

You said, "This year, the Lord's calling me to stay right where I am."

I've been there before. Last year my only resolution was to write less. Strange, but it was what I needed.

This year, I'm just setting goals--which is something I do all the time. For me goals or resolutions or whatever are just a way to focus what I'm already doing.

L.L. says the list sounds tempting. I don't know. It sounds like you'd never sleep again! But it would be fun to be so productive.

Charity Singleton said...

Laura -- You are right about the new directions. My problem is that I always want to go in NEW directions before I finish with the old ones. Staying put it the harder discipline for me, somehow.

Mark -- I think about setting goals on a regular basis as "refining." Even though I'm not making resolutions, I did sit down and shore up some of the things I want to do regularly.

L.L. Barkat said...

I relate, Charity. I'm a person who's easily bored, so it's hard to keep at it with certain things. Yet, I find that means I end up "keeping at" only the most critical things, after all. :)

Charity Singleton said...

Laura -- You know, I suppose that same dynamic is at work in my life as well. Good insight!

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