When I actually sat down to think about the fact that it’s nearly 2019, the first thing that came to mind was that it feels like exactly one moment ago it was 1999. I know this is a thing adults say a lot - that we can’t believe how fast time is moving, but it’s the real honest truth that we all agree upon (for once!). In 1999 I was in ninth grade at a New Year’s Eve party – what felt like my first real party — and I was jealous of my friend’s sparkly tights and we were all sort of worried about Y2K but not really because we were only 15. So not much has changed except 19 years of life and the fact that we know our computers handled the year 2000 just fine. But I do still want the sparkly tights. I hope I always want the sparkly tights.
But the passing of time makes me nostalgic and sad but also hopeful and excited. Isn’t that the constant, sweet juxtaposition of being human — longing for what was while hoping for what’s to come? What a delicate balance.
2018 held many feelings, both sad and wonderful. You may know by now that I love reflecting a bit before moving on to something new - a new season, a new year. At the close of 2017, Aaron and I loosely followed Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide and we plan to do so again. Some things we accomplished in 2018 that we wrote on our list:
Monthly budgeting. Check.
Meet new friends. Check.
Anniversary trip. Check.
Baby Harms. Check… for the sweetest brief moment in time!
This year: new hopes and dreams and goals – to be led into whatever God has for us and to seek it out diligently and with discipline. I know some people think discipline sounds boring because our culture is all wanderlust-y and think it’s romantic and wild to go where the wind blows and maybe that works for some people, but I’m a person who needs discipline, routine, rhythm. Our lives are only made better when we take thoughtful steps in the direction we want to go. And taking steps requires a plan. You do not fall into healthy rhythms or pick them up by accident. They require effort. Discipline. Determination.
As we look forward to the new year and all that 2019 holds for all of us, perhaps you will consider these disciplines or add a couple of them to a list you are already making:
Read a book — the one that has always been on your list.
Take a vacation or a staycation or whatever thing you can do for a moment to be caught up in new wonder.
Learn something new.
Get yourself outside every day, even if just for a few delicious gulps of fresh air.
Go on a date. A first date. A 100th date. A date with your spouse. A blind date. A date with yourself.
Start chipping away at your debt. Little by little. One dollar at a time.
Surprise someone with something special.
Share a skill or hobby with someone.
Volunteer somewhere. The world doesn’t revolve around you. You will grow when you serve.
Practice vulnerability. It allows others the same privilege.
Do your best to bring lightness and life wherever you go.
Choose to live in faith rather than fear. If you realize you are making a choice out of fear, try to to immediately take the other option. (I am working on this!)
Recognize that you will never nail it every day. You can’t possibly, and that is okay.
Write out the prayer, Help me, Jesus. These are the three most common words in my journal this year. Help me. I can’t do it alone. And then watch how he comes through.
Make a playlist that always, no matter what, makes you feel better when you turn it on and jam. out.
Call someone. Meet up with them. Look into their eyes and connect with another person. Our souls need face-to-face communication. We crave it.
Forgive someone. Break the chains of bitterness that bind you to that person. This may take every day of 2019 and will likely (definitely) require the prayer above.
Read your Bible. Or buy a new Bible. Maybe it’s your first Bible! How great is that!
Create something: throw a clay pot, make a baked good, write a story, compose a piece of music, paint, draw, build. We need more creators, not just consumers.
Hug one person every day. Hugs are medicine. Google it.
Wear sparkly tights. Or red lipstick. Or the thing you think you can’t wear. Wear it with confidence. You look amazing, I know it.
Do all of these things or none of these things. Make your own list. Do your own thing. That’s the beauty of a new year. We can start fresh and begin again. But the same is true of every day. It doesn’t take January 1 to roll around for us to know we can start fresh. The opportunity presents itself every morning. A fresh start. New mercy.
I hope 2019 is filled with more than you dare dream or imagine. More love and joy and lightness of soul. But if it’s wounding you need, if it’s pruning, if it’s a tearing back of the darkness to make way for the light, then I hope that for you too. Those seasons come for all of us and they don’t feel good (I’ve been through many of my own!) but they make way for all the goodness that is to come.
My heart feels ready for this year. I’m approaching it with joy and gladness of heart. And who knows what these new days will hold — maybe my heart will break like glass and maybe it will burst with catastrophic love. Maybe yours will too. But always remember the truth: you can start fresh again the next day with a simple prayer, Help me, Jesus. And by the end of 2019, you might recognize like we have this year, the sweet truth of the words of Samuel when he wrote, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”