A Chance to Practice Resolutions

Are people still using the word resolution in March?  Is it still a thing?  Or is it more of a seasonal flavoring like pumpkin?

Not only am I using a word that most (including myself as I think about my half-marathon resolution…) try to avoid in conversation by this time of year, but I am reentering the blogosphere after a brief hiatus.  My cheer year just ended yesterday, and I now have my early mornings and late evenings back for a few months.  Hallelujah for 5 AM alarms and quiet living rooms.

Though I took a break from writing publicly, my mind and kitchen have still been buzzing with stuff that I want to share, even if it’s a little late to be trendy with words like “pumpkin” and “resolutions.”  The following story is part of my lack of trendiness.

Recently, I was asked to speak briefly about my New Year’s goals during chapel at school. My stomach fluttered as I thought about what I would say, but I was genuinely excited. Being a teacher, hoping to be a role model, desiring to be a trustworthy adult to so many students comes with not only great responsibility, but also great joy.

So as I prepared my notes (I survive on sticky notes at school) during a vocabulary quiz, I decided to talk about being grateful and accepting of the moment I was in, which I realize now as I write this the irony of preparing my notes as my students took a quiz.  I wrote down how I felt overloaded with data at the end of 2013 because I read multiple blogs daily, listen to way too much NPR, checked my Facebook an embarrassing amount of times, and thought about “the next thing” endlessly. I did/do this because I felt like I was always going to miss something.

And I was missing something. The present.

I continued my notes for the brief talk, quoting Jim Elliot, pondering the “We’re human beings, not human doings” sentiment, and jotting down practical ways to be present in the moment I was given.

I sat backstage with the other speakers, who snickered at my notes as they were youth pastors and pros at saying something insightful on the spot. I thought about the students I should make eye contact with to keep my nerves from getting the best of me (I have the best students, by the way) and listened to the others as they related their goals.

But then the chapel organizer came up to me and the speaker before me and told us that there were 5 minutes left, so we needed to be fast. I hadn’t planned a long talk, so I felt fine. I could do this.

And then the bell rang during the other speaker. The organizer approached me with a distressed look on his face, and before he could say anything, I said, “It’s fine, I don’t have to go. Don’t worry about it. Thank you for asking me!” He apologized as he strode out on stage to lead the students in a closing prayer, and I walked away. Disappointed.

But as I walked to my classroom, I thought about what was on my little sticky note. Being accepting of the moment I was in. This was it. This was a chance to practice my resolutions.

It’s not the moment I planned for. It’s not the moment I wanted at that moment. But it was the moment I was in.

And I had a choice: to distract myself from disappointment or to accept the moment gratefully.

I wish I could say that every disappointing moment ended in me saying, “Thank You”, but I can’t. But that’s kind of the point of resolutions, right? To start doing things that we aren’t in the habit of already.

So I encourage you to revisit your heart.  Revisit your resolutions, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve acknowledged them.

May you choose to be filled with the moment you’re in, whatever it is, rather than seeking to escape. May you look around while you’re waiting rather looking at a screen. May you think about this thing rather the next thing. May you be who you are and not a filtered, best-foot-forward version of yourself.

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