It is day number two of 2018, and like many people across the world, I am off to a good start.
I got up at 430 AM on a day that I normally sleep until 8 AM, and I do not have to be at work until 3 PM.
I decided to help my wife out and do the dishes at 4:50 AM so she would be less stressed about the house (one of her priorities) before leaving for work this morning at 7:something AM.
Now, I set a timer for 60 minutes, and I am blogging at 5 AM because this is something I have wanted to do consistently for 3 years, but I “didn’t have the free time.”
Hmm.. That’s odd. The year changed from 2017 to 2018, the day is still 24 hours long, and I not only have the time to write, but also do the dishes, let the dog out, drink a bottle of water, take my vitamins (throw out expired vitamins), make coffee and drink it.
So what is the big deal about New Year’s, that I suddenly have free time to do all of these things, and why am I doing it?
There is something inside of us that says we want to be better, and the New Year has a magical way of bringing that to the surface for a little while.
It seems more tangible at the beginning of the New Year like we can reach out and have it if we just reach.
It is inviting and heartwarming as it whimsically floats around us. It dares us to grasp, but we know if we do things will change.
Even though it is definable, it is not necessarily objective, rather it is a means by which other things are obtained.
This *thing* is our invitation to progress, and while that is something exciting for each of us every New Year, we know progress requires making change, which is very challenging.
Balloons and such…
I imagine this yearly invitation to be like a balloon that is slowly floating up and away from us. Balloons are nice looking, always welcomed, and who doesn’t look like they are having fun while holding a new year’s balloon?
We have the choice every single year to grab the string of our balloon and hold on to it tightly. When we do this at the beginning of each year we get that feeling in our stomachs like driving over a hill really fast gives us as we momentarily feel gravity leaving us before we settle back down to safety.
However, in this case, each new day we have the choice to grab more and more strings as we are lifted up and taken to new places.
Or we have the choice to let go until we are safely back on the ground right back where we started… Nice and safe.
Can you imagine that? Balloons lifting us up off the comfortable ground? That would be nerve racking. It would be scary and stressful. It would be challenging.
Balloons look nice and all, but when they start taking us places, and all we have is our own grip on the string we start to second guess grabbing one or more.
“All we have is our own grip on the string”
This year, I am going in with a different mindset.
Historically, I have never been a New Year’s resolution-er but, for reasons clear to me, this year I have decided to grab onto a couple balloons that *happened* to float in my direction.
I want to be intentional about my direction in life rather than just going with the flow.
My balloons say “discipline” and “obedience,” and I am going to iron grip the strings of these balloons and ride them to right to the things I value and prioritize.
If I want to:
- Pray more this year
- Patiently love my wife and soon to be born daughter this year
- Write more this year
- Teach more this year
- Get fitter this year
- Make more money this year
- Be more generous this year
Then I need to systematically plan how to do those things and create a rigid schedule that WILL NOT BE BROKEN.
I do not need motivation. I need discipline and obedience.
I need to relentlessly and aggressively decide to stick to the plan and obey the restrictions I set for myself.
On the surface this sounds like I am setting up a prison for myself. Yes, I will be setting confines, but paradoxically these confines are where I will feel the most freedom.
That list above is my New Year’s resolution list, and I will not be free to do any of those items unless I obey the confines set by my various disciplines.
What do your balloons say this year?