“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
~~ Ellen Goodman ~~
Criticism. Judgment. Disappointment. Keeping score of failures. Wishes that don’t come true. Prayers that didn’t get answered (or answered like we wanted). Hopes gone unrecognized. This, my friends, is what we too often spend that breath of time between years focusing on. You know it’s true … and I confess that I am probably the guiltiest one of all about doing it. After all, no one can criticize me to quite the degree that I can!
I’m great at pointing out all the ways I’ve failed or fallen short, whether it be in the past year or just the past day. But somehow, I really struggle to look at the flip side.
What if we were to do just that very thing today?
I’m not saying we need to stop looking for ways we want to improve – healthy change is a good thing. I’m simply suggesting that we temper what often becomes a festival of self-bashing with grace. God does every time He looks at us … why can’t we do the same? He isn’t blind to our faults or areas He wants to shape us, but oh, how He loves us and takes pleasure in pointing out the beautiful areas, too.
It’s hard for me sometimes to think about how God sees me. At times what I know is true in my head based on Biblical truths has trouble connecting in my heart … because often I just don’t feel lovable. I don’t get how God could love me even when I let Him down. I don’t understand how He doesn’t want to serve me up a dose of, “You’ve really done it this time, haven’t you?” But I’m so grateful that God is so much bigger than any of that – and when He looks at me, the first thing He sees is that I’m His beloved, chosen daughter.
I imagine He may think, “How I wish she’d spend more time with me,” or, “I wish she would trust Me more.” But in the very same breath, He also thinks, “I’m so proud of how she ministered to her hurting friend today,” or “I love her pure and honest prayer – I can’t wait until she sees my answer.” God’s just amazing like that, isn’t He?
Again I ask, what if we did the same?
How might our year ahead change if we sat today and listed not just areas we want to change in 2012, but also took some time to note those areas with great potential? I don’t know what that might look like for you, but for me, what comes to mind are areas where I’ve been growing a lot already and while I’m not done yet or the goal isn’t reached yet, there’s still nothing wrong with pausing to consider how far I’ve come.
Thinking about the new year and all that is ahead from this more balanced perspective has already given me hope at a deeper level, one I rarely feel when I am staring at a list of goals that all begin at square one.
Try it, would you? I’d love to hear how it shifts your thinking as we head into 2012. Happy New Year to you all – I pray that 2012 is filled with blessings, love, and wonder for each and every one of you.
Special Note: I’ve been blog-silent for 5 weeks now and not sure I can explain precisely why, apart from the fact that life just carried me away for a bit. I have missed being here – honestly, I have. There’ve been hundreds of ideas to write about that have rolled through my mind and yet somehow, I never made it to the keyboard with them. It’s okay, though, because the words are still whispering and if I keep listening, perhaps they’ll inspire me once again.
I hope that some of my old friends are still here and haven’t given up on me … and I hope that some of you are new friends with whom I’ll get to connect in 2012.