Out with the old. In with the new.
New Year’s Day, 2018. Funny what the movement of the minute hand from 11:59 to 12:00 a.m. does. Time passes, as it always does. Night becomes day. We get up and move into our lives.
But it’s a new year. A clean slate. A chance to reflect on what we’ve done–or didn’t do–in the previous year. The opportunity to think ahead to what this new year may provide. What we’ll try. What adventures we’ll pursue.
Because I tend to be a person of action–I’m not good at resting or sitting still–I tend to look at possibilities and want to fill my schedule with the things that need to be done. Whether work related, projects around the house or my writing, I want to be productive. Efficient and effective. Achieve my dreams.
Who am I kidding? Begin the new year with so much pressure? Making my clean slate instantly messy?
That’s my MO. Do, because it’s measurable. Accomplish, because it’s what others can see. I want what I do to matter.
Therein is the lie–if I cease to be busy, I’ll cease to matter.
My good friend Terry has made a pilgrimage of an unhurried life. She gets the busy we find ourselves in and has become purposeful in slowing down. To make space for the unexpected and important. I like that.
Culturally, we fill our time with activities as we manage our images on social media, allowing people to catch glimpses of our very full and satisfying lives. The more we do, the busier we are, the more successful we appear.
Is that really the case?
Richard Foster, a man of great contemplative depth, has said that superficiality is the curse of our age. We hesitate to go deep with folks because they might find out who we really are.
They might think we’re frauds.
That thought has messed with my mind as I look at this new year. It’s easy to fill my days with tasks. Which can often keep out people who might need me to be present or might be obstacles to authenticity.
I don’t want to hydroplane through life, like I’m skidding on a slippery surface. I want to know others. I want to be known to be real without excuse, without having to exaggerate details that don’t define my life.
As I enter this new year, more than anything I want my soul to be healthy. The real me, with all that I know, feel and choose. The me that I too often polish for a brief glimpse and put back on the shelf lest someone see past the polish.
That polish is mighty thin.
As a follower of Jesus, I want to live a genuine life. He’s given me a reason to live and truth to live out loud. When I look no farther than pleasing myself or fulfilling my desires, I shortchange my chance to live honestly, where I can love, care for and serve others.
I’m not there yet. Being real is messy.
But it’s so much easier than managing an image.