2015 was… disappointing.
Last New Year’s Eve, I huddled on my friend’s patio trying to keep warm in my party dress. I was surrounded by couples and somehow ended up the ‘single girl’ sandwiched between two couples. As I enjoyed the company of friends, I told myself that this year was going to be different. I had great plans for 2015. 2015 was going to be MY year. This was going to be the year I got my book published, finally found Mr. Right, finished a half marathon under my goal, finally got a six pack, and a long list of equally self indulgent dreams. Of course there were some less selfish goals, but most were centered around creating the life I felt I wanted – and when I am honest, I felt I was owed. It’s hard to be altruistic with one’s goals when shivering on a patio surrounded by friends and their human blankets.
I had put these requests before God in a rather childish rant that began something like, “God I feel like 2014 had great lessons, but I am ready for a year with a few less lessons. How about if this year is MY year? I am looking forward to sharing with everyone just how much I learned in 2014, but I am ready to have the year where everything gets redeemed and turned around.” I was going to have some great sermons from my year of awesomeness. Prosperity gospel here I come! I was looking forward to making 2015 the best year yet… and then…
It didn’t happen. Instead, 2015 was another hard one filled with lots of disappointments. I won’t give you all the details – ain’t nobody got time for that – but I got injured and running had to take a back seat for awhile. I had some heart ache. I didn’t get the six pack and the extra 5-10 pounds still lingers. My book has yet to hit the shelves. All in all, it was a year I could hardly describe as MY year.
There have been some silver linings though. I was able to run in a half marathon and beat my time by a minute. Sure, it wasn’t my goal time, but it was better than my previous runs. I have been able to travel to some pretty interesting places and been given some amazing opportunities. So this year hasn’t been my worst, but definitely not my best. What about you? What was 2015 like for you? As I look at the world around me and quit my navel gazing, I notice this year has been a hard one for many. From the refugee crisis, wars, violence, extreme weather, and poverty, this has been a hard year. So what do we do? How do we make 2016 better?
I decided to start a new tradition. As I shared with you on my birthday, I like to have traditions to mark holidays. For my birthday, I recount the same number of things I am grateful for as the number of years I have been alive. For New Year’s, I’ve decided to write a letter to myself each year with the following writing prompts, to be opened on New Year’s Eve the following year:
What went well this year?
How can I continue to grow and pour into the things that went well
What didn’t go well?
What are three ways I can take action to change those areas in my life?
Five things I am hoping for in the New Year.
And finally, what is the focus of my New Year?
As I began the writing process for 2016, I realized that I don’t want this to be MY year – that was never a good goal. Instead, I want this to be OUR year. As the world is filled with so much fear, and politicians and movements that seem to enjoy growing that fear, the only answer is to share some positivity and take action. To truly be about God’s work. When I reflect, those are the times when I experience the most joy. So I am starting today by supporting www.thecompassioncollective.org – a group of writers and speakers who are taking action against the refugee crisis. They have made it their goal to raise one million dollars to clothe, feed, shelter and save our refugee brothers and sisters. I can think of no better way to begin making 2016 OUR year than supporting this movement. I truly believe that the only way to have a great year is to take action – not just for myself, but for others. I would invite you to write a letter to yourself, and perhaps, to hop on the Compassion Collective site and see what it is all about. May you have a blessed year!