I have learned that I am not the type of person who is motivated by resolutions. If I wanted to make changes in my life, I could very well have started back in October. As my husband once told me with brutal honesty, I am not very “internally motivated,” so I generally need someone else to be accountable to or, even better, an honorable cause to support. I have had seasons of life when I stuck with healthy habits, and seasons when I threw it all out the window. Without fail every January, there seems to be this half-hearted push from all kinds of companies and news shows to come up with a set of things to commit to…that the vast majority of us will forget about in six weeks. So rather than setting myself up for failure, I am skipping the list and focusing instead on a positive mindset.
IMHO, 2017 felt like an endlessly exhausting carnival ride. I read too many news stories on Twitter and stayed up even when I knew it was way past my bedtime. I didn’t make much time for yoga, even though I knew that it would help with my stress and aching shoulders. I could have eaten a few more salads to balance out the chocolate and wine. But hey, I did listen to some inspiring and interesting podcasts. I got to read the Harry Potter series with my daughter. I took a week-long road trip with my three children, and everyone came back in one piece. There were some great moments last year! The carnival ride had ups and downs, sometimes all in just one day. I have become better at managing my emotions over the years, but it can still feel overwhelming when I am weighed down with the terrible trifecta: tired, stressed, and worried.
In an effort to focus on the positives and better manage the way I feel about the inevitable negatives, I intend to cling to this simple phrase that came from a very unlikely source: a funeral. I recently attended a memorial service for one of my favorite college professors. She was a kind and vivacious woman, encouraging her students to think critically and take on the world with open arms. She had endless patience for our stories and became a lifelong friend to many young ladies like myself. When we celebrated her life right before Christmas, I was touched by the message shared by her dear friend and pastor, Cliff Stewart of First Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene.
He spoke of Mary, Jesus’ mother, and how she lived a life full of joy and pain and love and sadness. She didn’t always understand her child. She was unsure of the future and afraid for her family. She endured heartbreak and judgment and seemingly impossible circumstances. Nevertheless, her response in Chapter 1 of the book of Luke is so telling of her character. In verse 38, she responds to the angel telling her of her coming child, “Let it be to me according to your word.” She essentially says, “I will trust in what you have promised me.” She chose to accept what was meant to be and have faith in God’s love for her. This beautiful sentiment was immortalized in a Beatles song, too! “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” Pastor Stewart even graciously emailed me his words so that I could share my favorite passage from that day.
“To let it be is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let it be is not to try to blame another,
it is to make the most of myself.
To let it be is not to fix
but to be supportive.
To let it be is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let it be is not to deny
but to accept.
To let it be is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes, to cherish myself in it.
To let it be is not to regret the past,
but to grow and to live for the future.
To let it be is to fear less
and to love more.”
In 2018, I want to be more intentional in the things to which I give my energy and attention. I want to embrace only those things that are worthwhile and let the rest fall to the wayside. Hopefully, I will devote more of my precious free time to things that make me feel joyful and healthy, both mentally and physically. I am going to take a deep breath when my daily carousel ride seems to be spinning out of control. I am going to remind myself to just let it be.