Resolving to be “all there” …

I'm a bit reluctant to "put away" Christmas tomorrow, but that is more a sign of how much I've enjoyed the season this year than my usual reluctance to deal with the work that is Christmas.
I’m a bit reluctant to “put away” Christmas tomorrow, but that is more a sign of how much I’ve enjoyed the season this year than my usual reluctance to deal with the work that is Christmas.

I have newfound resolve — just in time for 2015.This Christmas season I’m different. Once I had the Christmas lights hung (always more complicated, frustrating, and time-consuming than it should be), I found I wasn’t my humbug self. I joyed each night as dusk came and the windows glowed with their outline of colored lights. The tree seemed more fragrant and more beautiful than I ever remember. And as I look toward this new year, I am seeing it as so many others do — as a fresh beginning, a starting point, a chance to make a change. I’ve actually been considering what I’d like to do differently in 2015.

I think my New Year’s resolutions can be summed up in a quote by my favorite missionary, Jim Elliot.

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

This already has been easier in some ways this year. For instance, when I am at work, I am completely absorbed. I often find it is 2 o’clock before I remember to eat lunch, and the last hour of the work day seems to slip away entirely against my will. Now that’s a good job! When I am at work, I am “all there,” and that may be because when I leave work, I also get to leave it all behind. While I have deadlines, I have an eternal pile of work that never ends. If I finish one account, I find another has moved into place in the queue. So I just do what I can, as much as I can to the best of my ability each day — and then I go home. The next work day is another day. I pick up where I’ve left off and begin again. And then end at 5 on the dot.

This week following Christmas, I’ve had the luxury of “December Personal Leave” days, and rather than traveling to visit family and friends — which everybody and his brother are doing this time of year — we chose to stay home. (Since I am not teaching, we can take a week another part of the year for visiting and avoid the traffic worries.) I have been “all here” all week — cleaning closets and cabinets and drawers, finding lost items, throwing away unnecessary items, and otherwise making my “home sweet home” more welcoming when I return to it after resuming my usual hours again on Friday. For the first time, it has been a “staycation” where I have been “all here.” As a teacher, whether I traveled or stayed home I was never “all there.” I always had that nagging pile of essays or lesson plans or other teaching duties looming large. I am by no means slamming teaching; I loved doing it, but I had a hard time creating boundaries between work and home life.

But my life as a teacher is over, and rather than fretting about schoolwork all break, I’ve been able to pause and reflect (all while dismantling and cleaning drawers and closets, of course), and I’ve determined I do have some resolutions to make — likely well before midnight tonight (as I’d like to be “all there” in bed much earlier).

For instance, I want to be “all there” in regard to exercise. This year I’ve formed bonds with two different teams of workout partners — Connie & Paula for weight lifting, Robena and Theresa for running and walking. It has been good. Since June, I’ve lost 10 pounds and kept it off — likely due to my consistent workouts and going gluten-free. But I’ve found that I’m too often “not into” the workout. Instead of creating goals and pushing myself, I’ve gone with the flow or only worked as hard as I felt like working at the moment. I haven’t been “all there.” Do I want to set a goal weight? Create a weight lifting plan and record my progress? Run a 10K or half marathon? I’m not sure, but I know being “all there” is the key for me.

Maintaining a clean house is also on my agenda — by creating a routine cleaning and chore schedule. I can’t approach my household tasks willy nilly when I’m gone for 12 hours every work day; I’ve got to have a plan. Blogging? In the month of November, when I attempted NaBloPoMo, I managed to post nearly every day; since December 1, I’ve struggled posting a blog a week. I need to be “all there” and get this blogging show on the road. Quiet times? I’ve been consistent at reading my One Year Bible daily — but a lot of times I’m just reading, not really absorbing what I’m reading or understanding it enough to apply it to my own life. For Christmas, I requested (and got) Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters, which features short chapters explaining how each book of the Bible is a love letter from God Himself. My plan is to use those chapters as an introduction as I start each book of the Bible; I want more, want to be “all there” during my time with God.

It’s too easy to go through life on autopilot and either not fully apply myself or not fully embrace the experience. My goal for 2015 is to “be all there” as I seek to be fully in the will of God. I hope you, too, will be “all there” as you begin your new year. God bless you and Happy New Year’s!

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