...wasn't on my list of New Year's resolutions, and it's a darn good thing. I'd really feel bad about the timing of this post. It was meant to be a New Year's post. Then I figured that as long as I posted it before the end of January, it would be okay. But, well, life happens. And Lent is a great time for new beginnings and resolutions too, right?
It's no secret that I spend a lot of my days feeling overwhelmed and completely at a loss. There are so many things to do, limited time in which to do them, and a myriad of distractions that follow me. Such is life with small children...and large children...and husbands.... I feel pulled in so many directions, and none of them feel like a direction per se, but more like a tangent circle in which to chase my tail. And then I wonder why I'm exhausted, frustrated, and lack a sense of order in my world. In contemplating all the noble, idealistic, and heroic changes I was going to make in the new year that would make my house clean, my children behave, and keep me running on schedule with sufficient time to do all the things I want to do, I got bogged down. I got discouraged. Let's face it; there is no magic wand to wave, and that's what I was really dreaming about. Then I thought, "maybe I should resolve to make peace with the fact that I'm a lousy housekeeper, that I have a short temper, and that my household is in constant chaos. After all, we're not on the 6 o'clock news, no one's in jail, no one's flunking out of school...that's enough, right?" But it isn't enough. No matter how you look at it, to let that be enough is not a resolution but a resignation. It is giving up. And who makes a resolution to be a cop-out? Better yet, who would post such a thing publicly and pretend to be proud of it? Certainly not I. And so here we are, at Ash Wednesday, and my New Year's post is just appearing.
You might wonder what changed. What made me feel that I had something worth sharing? What resolution did I finally make that I could live with and work toward in the coming year? I realized that my point of origin for my actions is, most of the time, wrong. I take action because of fear, anger, or frustration. I rush around to get kids ready, to get meals on the table, and to keep at least some appearance of order. I want things to look, at least publicly, like I'm not desperately struggling just to keep a modicum of functionality in my home and family life. My point of origin needs a fundamental change, and that's a resolution I can make, work at, and feel good about sharing.
I resolve this year to make LOVE my point of origin for action and speech. I will care for my family not because they are clamoring to have their needs met, but because I love them. I will care for my home not because I have an image to maintain, but because I love my family and I desire order in our lives so that we can move through our lives more peacefully. I will discipline my children not because they embarrass me or make me angry, but because I love them and I am called to bring them up in the love and fear of the Lord. I will choose gentleness, I will choose calm, I will choose silence. I will get this wrong - probably a lot. But I will choose humility and begin again. I will choose love above all, for in love is the beginning, the sustenance, the redemption, and the end of all things.
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
--1 Corinthians 13:13