Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Great Thoughts Don't Always Come to Me When Showering, in Fact They Rarely Do

The promise of a new year always excites me. It is like cracking open a brand new journal and deciding what to fill the first page with. Will it be an explanation of your purpose to fill the pages with quotes, poems, and sayings? Will it talk about the goals and expectations you want to document? Will you dive right in and start pouring out your heart? 

This blank page of a new calendar year always leaves me with a sense of profound responsibility and opportunity. The old year has passed, along with all of the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. Sure, some of the remnants of 2015 will transfer into 2016, but it won’t be the same. It is a fresh start. It is a new year. 

I know I’m not alone in this. I read the other day (in an article or something, I know, not the best citation for a graduate student) that over 45% of North Americans set New Year’s resolutions. It seems that the turning of the calendar sparks endless possibilities of weight loss, routines, organized inboxes and a de-cluttered closet (especially if you got that popular magical book about tidying up for Christmas… guilty!). We crave the desire to do something big and life changing in the New Year, or at least for the month of January. 

I’m getting to the point in my life where I have begun to think in terms of years. Really, I only noticed this over the past few months. I found myself telling a friend about something that happened in 2012. I couldn’t pinpoint if the event had happened early 2012 or late 2011. I no longer spoke in terms of months, age brackets, or events. Too many things have now happened in my life that I actually have to speak in terms of years that they occurred. I find myself sounding like my parents as they recall something that happened in 1997. 2012 seems to be my 1997…scary. 

So with years taking part in my vocabulary, I find myself wondering what 2016 might have in store. Certainly there will be big changes that take place… I have a little baby inside me that will be coming out! But as I sit hours from home on a much needed Christmas vacation watching the snow pour down outside my window, I wonder what kind of person I want to be by the end of 2016.

A couple weeks ago Brandon approached me with a look on his face that told me he had been thinking. He began to talk about the New Year and how he had been mulling over a few different phrases that could define our year. He told me that as he was showering a simple phrase came to him, “Know love, show love.” 

On a side note, I must say that I’ve never had any great ideas while showering. So many people talk about the great thoughts or important decisions they make in the shower. Not me… it’s enough for me to focus on getting all of the conditioner out and debating about how cold I’m going to be once I turn that water off. I’m not alone, right?

Back to the statement. I immediately latched onto it. This is who I want to be, someone who not only shows love but also knows it. It’s not that showing love is easy for me… I can actually be quite selfish from time to time. But I know that I need to start with the knowing love. If I don’t open myself up to receive love, to love myself, to explore what love looks like in a greater sense, than how will I be able to show it without facing burnout and resentment? This idea of knowing love encapsulates so many of the other goals I would love to set out.

By eating healthy, having a better morning routine, and working out (once this baby gets here… for now walking up and down the stairs is equivalent to a spin class for me) I actually am learning how to love myself better, I am knowing love. By spending time reading scripture, journaling, and praying I can know God’s love in a greater capacity. By developing my relationships I can know the love that friendship can bring. 

But the great thing about focusing on knowing love? It lends itself to showing love pretty easily. If I am developing my self-care, I am showing love to myself. If I am building my spirituality, I am reciprocating love to God. By focusing on my relationships, I am showing love to others. 

Know love, show love. 

Four simple words that I hope will mark 2016 as one to be talked about for years to come. I pray that it would not just be a year that I look to and see the environmental changes that will take place as I graduate and dive into parenthood, but rather one where I can grow and develop as a person. One where the blank pages that lie ahead could be filled with personal development. 

What does 2016 look like for you? Have you thought about it? The possibilities are endless; don’t let this year be one that slips by. Challenge yourself, set goals, learn, grow, and flourish. If you don’t know, take some time to think about it - you’ve still got a couple days and at least one more shower session to have it dawn on you. Go for a walk, pray, talk to a friend for accountability. Borrow our phrase of knowing love and showing love (I think it’s a great one and I didn’t even come up with it!). But don’t head into 2016 complacent and satisfied with where you have been. There is so much more in store for you. Expect it, embrace it and go after it. 

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