I rarely make New Year’s resolutions…at least I don’t make them the same time everyone else does. I’ve always started my year in the month of my birth. I take that time to look back at what’s been accomplished and what I want to learn/see/do for the next 12 months and make plans…not resolutions. For the past few years, I’ve made plans to learn a new skill, found out who I know that already knows how to do it, who could teach me, where I could take a class on that topic, and then followed through to the learning and the doing.
I’ve had a ball learning how to do many different things. Stained glass was my first one…and look where that led me! Over the years, I’ve also learned to knit, to paint, to blog, and quite a few other things, as well. I’ve found great satisfaction in being a student and in putting my new skills to work in a variety of ways. For example, I didn’t realize that my painting lessons would make me a much better stained glass/broken china artist. Those lessons taught me to view the world in a different way…to see new shades and colors, light and shadow as I look at patterns to make jewelry.
I’m able to focus on some of the details with greater delight and not miss the glory in the mundane. My teacher, Sharon, had no idea how much she changed my world! She hasn’t a clue to all the joy she’s brought to me. Even though it’s been some time since I actually picked up a brush to paint, her lessons are a daily part of my life. She’s made a phenomenal difference in me…and all because she shared her own joy. She gave me a new way to actually SEE things. That’s a rare gift…even when you go looking for it.
I saw a prayer the other day as I was thumbing through my new book, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. It said, “Help us, Lord, to see as you see: and to change what is into what ought to be.”
That prayer strikes a particularly powerful chord with me because this time of year is always busy with end of the year sales/shows/special orders in addition to all the church and family gatherings to celebrate the birth of Christ. On top of all that, this is the time we have to review the shows we were in, decide which of those we’d like to participate in next year, if we want to add new ones and get in applications, etc. This means that we’re not even through with this year and we’re already planning where we hope to be at the end of the next.
As part of this plannning period, although it isn’t my birthday month, I’m already looking forward to acquiring my next new skill. I’ve had to deliberately make some decisions earlier this year because we’re hoping to add some more shows to our schedule for 2013. That means I’ll need to make sure to carve out the time to do some of the things I already enjoy even as I learn the new lessons and increase my travel times.
I’m asking God to help me “see as He sees” while I’m in this planning stage. I need the wisdom to know what to add where and when…and, even more desperately, I’ll need His wisdom about when to stop. I’m not a good “stopper.” My tendency is to go until you can’t go any more and then collapse…wake up and start all over again. I’m going to need to pay attention to where God says I need stop and go so that I will really “change what is into what ought to be.”
I guess that’s my real resolution/plan for this year. It will probably take me longer than a year. I’m hard-headed. (I take Philippians 4:13 VERY literally! LOL) I still often think that I really CAN do it all. I forget, sometimes, that I’m not supposed to.
Neither are you. Will you join me in trying to make this change for the coming year?