by Kristen

“Do you make resolutions?”

A valid question in the waning days of December, yet my response was a too quick “no.”

And I don’t. That’s true.

I love lists and measurements and achieving. I do. I really do. My pride swells at the sight of checkmarks in the boxes of successes, but it tanks at each empty box of failure. The hodgepodge of items—checked and unchecked—leave me feeling empty and less than. Less than the people who master their lists. Less than the people who don’t need to write down what they’ve already finished just to have something to cross off the list. Less than the person I think I should be.

Because lists leave me looking at me. It’s constant me, me, me. Did I finish _____? How long did I keep up _____? Why didn’t I _____? A better person would have _____. I compare myself to others, to my perception of others, to others’ perception of me, to my perception of others’ perception of me.

I’m all legalism and no grace. I forget resolutions regarding spiritual disciplines are not successful when I am disciplined; they are successful when I am transformed. I forget my worth is not tied to a piece of paper I’m too embarrassed to share because what if I can’t do it and someone might think less of me? I forget not everyone is thinking about me. I forget to be present because I’m too busy managing my façade.

Goals are good. Resolutions are good. Lists are good. My warped tendency to become consumed by anxiety and self-loathing because of them is not good.

So as I learn to extend grace to myself—to see resolutions as a loose structure and not shackles, to give thanks for progress without condemning shortcomings—I enter another year listless but full of hope.



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