Before you read any more of this post, I have to be honest. I hate New Years resolutions. Please don’t be mistaken, I mean absolutely no offense to you if they’re your thing. They just aren’t mine.
I just can’t support the idea of a new year as a good reason to start making positive life changes. A new day or a new minute seems more valid to me. 365 days seems like a long time to decide to start changing your life. Why wait? Why not just start as soon as you feel discontent?
So, if you are looking to read a post about new years resolutions. This isn’t it. Although I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find one if that’s what you need. Instead, I have taken some time over the past few weeks to reflect on 2016 and write down the lessons I’ve learned through the opportunities I’ve had and the mistakes I’ve made in the last 52 weeks.
I think its important for individuals to be able to point out ways they have stretched and grown. It’s important to be able to celebrate our victories, big and small, and remind ourselves that we are moving in the right direction. My biggest fear would be to come to the end of a year and not be able to point out ways that I grew through the challenges I faced. As human beings, we thrive on growth. Stagnance is one of our greatest enemies in regards to every aspect of our lives: our character, physical health, spiritual life, education (the list goes on forever). In order to avoid stagnancy, we must take time to be deliberately aware of our growth.
My favorite way to unwind after a long day is by writing. I keep a journal by my bed that holds all of my thoughts, feelings, rants and raves from most days of my life. It’s how I unload. It’s how I free my brain up to think about new ideas. As of late, it’s how I’ve been processing 2016 as one of the most immensely challenging and fruitful years of my life.
I have learned a lot in the last year. Way more than a single blog post could convey (hence why I blog throughout the year, duh!). But what sticks out to me as of late is the idea of showing up for people. I talked about it a bit in my last post and it just keeps rooting itself in my heart more and more each day.
I wrote a post on Instagram the other night about it. I was reading a story in the Bible about a paralyzed man who is healed by Jesus in Capernaum. The man is brought to Jesus by his buddies, and the remarkable thing about the story is that Jesus is teaching to a bajillion people at a house that is so packed that the guys aren’t able to carry their paralyzed friend through to get to Jesus. So they turn around, defeated and sad, to go home. FALSE! The guys actually climb onto the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching, cut a hole into it, and then lower their buddy THROUGH THE ROOF down to where Jesus is. WHAT?!
I just love that story so much because it’s such a beautiful depiction of how we are called to love and show up for the people in our lives. These guys loved their friend so much that no obstacle was going to stop them from showing up for him. They could have said forget it when they realized they weren’t going to be able to squeeze through the crowded room. They could have quit because the easy route was shut down. But they didn’t. They showed up. They stayed, and they fought for the one they loved.
I think we live in a world right now that fails to fight. Our culture seems to be more fearful than ever of confrontation. We have this tendency to hide behind screens and walls we have built around our hearts in order to avoid difficult conversations that require emotional transparency and a willingness to admit that we are fallible.
When things go wrong, we don’t stay. We move on to the next thing. We choose something bigger or better or faster. Or easier. We love to choose what is easier. We gaze at the golden facade of instant gratification with greed in our eyes as we move from thing to thing, desperately seeking a satisfication that arrives on our doorstep with a suitcase never packed for more than a day or two.
We seek happiness instead of contentment and when we don’t find it, we move on immediately. We search and search. We never stay. It’s true of our jobs. I talked to a friend the other day who said that my generation (not-so-lovingly referred to as millennials) is less likely to stick with a single job throughout their lives than any previous generation. It’s true of our friends. The attitude among people nowadays tends to be an “oh well” mentality. So my best friend and I got into a big fight? Oh well. I have 7,854 friends on Facebook who have the potential to be my new best friend. It’s true of our significant others. Have you seen divorce rates lately? It’s true of most everything in our lives. We are professional nomads when it comes to seeking contentment. Our culture doesn’t teach us to fight. Our culture tells us to move on and find something new.
But where…where is the satisfaction in gaining something without effort? There is beauty in the fight. There is sweetness in a steady resolve to remain steadfast despite obstacles. There is joy that comes from staying when stuff isn’t picture perfect. When school isn’t exciting. When work is under-stimulating, or underpaid or under appreciated. When we face loss or heartache or financial barriers. And most of all, there is beauty in choosing to stay and fight for people.
Relationships are hard. We have parents who have neglected us. We have siblings who have hurt us and friends that are easier to avoid than spend time with. We have people who have unintentionally caused us great pain. Choosing someone in the midst of heartache is difficult. But it’s worth it. Even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when it seems easier not to, we should choose to stay and fight for our people. Because at the end of the day, if the people that we have poured our love and time and energy into aren’t worth the fight, than who is? Or what is? What is worth the fight? Ask yourself that.
There are people in your life that are worth showing up for. They are all around you. They are the ones you choose even when life isn’t full of fireworks. They are the ones you show up for even on the worst days. It isn’t easy. It is messy. And like I said in my last post, staying is underrated and seldom celebrated. But it is good. And there are people in your life who are worth it. So show up and stay for them. They are worth it and don’t forget that you are too.