We're almost halfway through the first month of the year, and I'm just now nailing down my New Year's resolution. It's not that it wasn't on my mind on January 1; it was. It's that it takes longer to settle on only one.
In the past, I've set resolutions in various areas of my life: physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, etc. The volume of resolutions overwhelmed me. I couldn't keep all the plates spinning and felt like a failure at the end of each year. I knew I needed to change the method to my madness, so I came up with a new plan that I instituted last year.
Towards the end of 2007, my writers' group wrote a book of Advent devotionals. The first one I wrote under the theme of "prepare" dealt with how Mary spent Advent. After finding out she was pregnant with the Christ child, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth to celebrate what God was doing in their lives and spent three months with her. This idea of Mary focusing on relationships--with her family and with her God--during such a pivotal point in her life spoke to me. For years, my to-do list had controlled how I spent my time, luring me to choose to accomplish tasks over investing time with friends and family. I wanted that to stop, and so I chose a one-word resolution for 2008: relationships.
I can't say that I mastered relationships last year. My resolve was tested while I was teaching, and I often didn't do the best job of balancing relationships with that added job. But I can say that by making that one word my focus, I spent a lot more time thinking about relationships than I ever had and chose them more often than tasks.
As I began 2009, I wanted to choose another one-word focus. But choosing just one word out of all the things I want to improve on or add to my life is difficult. I want to show more love, to reflect more joy, to experience more peace. But ultimately, none of these is possible if I'm constantly doing battle with fear. Not just the fear of flying, but fears of illness and loneliness and even typing this out here. And now that I have, I know I will be tested. It's inevitable; after all, I've been being tested for a long time and succumbed. But now I want to conquer them. And that can only come through trust.
So "trust" it is for 2009. I'm buckling my seat belt for this one because you can't be too careful around a loaded word like that.