"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8
I know a lot of people roll their eyes at this time of year when everyone is reflecting on their old year selves and looking forward to their better selves in the year to come; I, personally, love it. I love the optimism and hope that comes with a new year. Not that I necessarily believe that there is anything wrong with how we all are currently-- there is something to be said about self-acceptance and learning to be OK with who God created you to be. But I think even God calls us to be greater-- more like Him, more like Jesus. I don't think that means that to be like Jesus we all need to be 20 lbs lighter, but all that to say that I can see why resolutions are so compelling at this time of year.
Each year, I choose a word and a theme verse. This is a practice from one of the churches that I went to growing up-- it's called My One Word and there's even a whole website to explain it all. Over the years, I've collected many words to embody in a given year. Some of the ones that I can easily recall from more recent years include present, endure, nurture, bloom, and most recently, in.
My word, in, for this year was a call for me to remain in fellowship and community of believers as well as to remain in Scripture. I had a goal to read the entire Old Testament this year. I didn't quite do that-- I made it through Leviticus though, which is a feat in and of itself. A lot of the Old Testament is heavier than I realized. I did not necessarily grow up in a church where I learned all of the Biblical characters from the Old Testament. I felt that it was important for me to lean into Scripture to learn about these characters and the foreshadowing of the true King that would be revealed in the New Testament. Instead of slapping myself on the wrist for not finishing my quest this year, I am going to simply continue the journey through 2020 as well.
And with that comes my word for 2020: truth. I want to be a truth teller and a truth seeker this year. I want to hold everything up through the lens of truth to inspect it. One thing that I struggle with is internal chatter that results in me believing lies. This mostly involves me reading other people's words or actions and interpreting them differently from how they intend them. An example might be when someone doesn't respond in a way that I thought they would to something I said; I immediately think, "Oh, maybe I offended them. Great, now they aren't going to like me. Why did I ever say that? I am so insensitive. What is wrong with me?" Down the rabbit hole, so to speak. So this year, embodying the word truth, I want to hold everything up to the light to inspect it through the lens of truth. I want to tell the truth and seek the truth.
This also means that I want to seek truth through Scripture. I am working to create a rhythm where I spend my mornings with the Lord before heading into the battlefield of the day. I am grateful that on most days, I find myself able to do this (by the grace of God, not by my own abilities). Where I struggle with this, however, are the times when I am in a different place or not following my usual routine for whatever reason. Say that I am traveling home to visit family or friends-- I am not great about maintaining that sacred space in the mornings with Jesus, and I can tell from how I speak and act on those days that I desperately need Him.
So, no big resolutions for me in 2020. I turn 30 this year which comes with all sorts of emotions, fears, and excitements. I have curated a list of 30 books I would like to read this year as I come into my 3rd decade. I also adopted a practice by Gretchen Rubin last year of doing "19 for 19," so I will come up with a "20 for 20" list as well for the new year. I need to reflect on my 19 for 19 list to see what went well, what didn't happen at all, and what I can carry over into 2020 for projects and goals.
Wishing you all the best during this season of hope and change.