Happy (almost) 2018, Free Agents! Congratulations on having endured 2017. I hope you found spaces to thrive and to develop into the person you are called to be. As we head into a new calendar year, we often reflect on the past year. We celebrate the things that went well, and we critique the things that went less than well. We often anticipate the coming year as an opportunity to resolve to do a new thing that will help us to better grow into the people we desire to be or to become. Sometimes we are harshly critical of our past choices and present ourselves with unrealistic “resolutions” for the 365 days to come. While this time of year is filled with joy and hope, it can also be a time of despair, regret, loneliness, bitterness, and frustration. We despair our losses, we regret our missed opportunities, we are lonely in the quiet moments, we are bitter about broken promises, we are frustrated with just about everyone and everything. Most of all, we tend to be frustrated with ourselves. Perhaps we struggle to apply for the opportunity we have always wanted or to finish a passion project or to reconcile a damaged relationship. As we furiously devise our list of “New Years’ Resolutions,” we often fail to show ourselves grace. That is, we are impatient, demanding, and unkind to ourselves. We demand a level of excellence from ourselves that we can only achieve if we also practice loving, cherishing, and respecting ourselves.
So, perhaps our list of resolutions for this year should begin there. As I consider Scripture, Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 22:39 that the second greatest commandment is that we love our neighbors as ourselves. In a world that often sees humanity divided against itself, we must love our neighbors, but as I have reflected on this verse in the past year, I understand that if I am to love my neighbor well, I must learn to love myself well. I love myself by making healthy choices every day. When I am healthy, I grow in my capacity to approach the world in more healthy and loving ways.
Since the greatest commandment is love, I must make any resolution from the starting point of love for God, myself, and others. In the 365 days to come, I am resolved that I will have vision. But, I will not have just any vision. I refuse to continue to live my life with two-dimensional expectations. In other words, I refuse to continue to live as though I am satisfied when things appear to be well. I choose to release my anxieties about appearances so that I can focus instead on content. I am creating a vision for the year to come, but it will include contour and dimensions, bends and curves to accommodate the reality of this life of flesh I live.
My hope for you my dear creative resisters is that as you make your resolutions for the year to come, you will start from a place of love for The Divine, yourself, and others. There is no guarantee that the year to come will be easy for you so decide that you will build up your spiritual, emotional, and mental resources so that you can thrive despite whatever comes your way. You are more than a conqueror! Best wishes to you in these final days of 2017 and may you choose love in the year to come.