I recently re-discovered that I quite enjoy magazines, to the point of having even a little pile of them on my coffee table. These inspire me to change the furniture in my house (keeps me from cabin fever I suppose), mix up my meal plan, travel to a new part of the country, and embrace a more grateful and hope-filled attitude. I really do pick up a lot from the writers and the stories they tell!
I especially appreciate these great insights at the beginning of a new year. There’s something about a new year that is energizing. As soon as the sun rises on January 1st, I feel like I am ready and even responsible to have a brand new plan for life. And, don’t think for a minute it doesn’t involve an entire list of things to do to make myself a “better person.”
However, I have to be careful, because right there is the temptation the new year can bring: I need to make myself a better person. Self-reliance. Instead of consenting to God to be the creator, designer, and formator.
BECOMING WHO GOD HAS CREATED YOU TO BE
I was reading that by January 17th, 92% of us will have dropped our new year’s plans. And, in reality, this isn’t surprising. I think we can come up with a few reasons as to why this is: the biggie being, maybe that we’ve put too much pressure on ourselves to succeed according to the culture and not according to God’s design.
Thankfully, new year’s resolutions aren’t how God necessarily works. (Though He certainly can!) We don’t put God in a box, but just as with any relationship, love and growth are gradual and not about arriving at something but becoming something. So, then with God, it’s also about becoming… and becoming more fully who God has created you and me to be. This is instead of taking on a creation the culture tells us we need to be.
Instead of taking on more, our approach can be simple… it’s all about becoming, looking into our interior, instead of looking out into the world…
So, as we start a new year, I propose a more fruitful way to begin again, and that’s growing into who you are in light of being God’s daughter. And, we can start by answering these questions and living out the answers.
- Who am I? Who is God? Why did God make me?
- What am I called to in this life?
- Where can you find God on this earth?
- How do I live and love as a Catholic woman?
- How do I cherish myself and others?
- When and how do I make time for God, my family, friends, and community?
- How do I steward God’s gifts (relationships, finances, sexuality, health, body, and mind, etc.)?
- Why do I have a reason to hope?
- How do I know God desires joy, healing, freedom, and love for me?
There’s no need to answer these questions all at once, and actually, that’s not the point. They are to help you gradually discover and grow into the unique and unrepeatable you.
While you might still be thinking I can’t just throw out my new year’s resolutions like that. If that’s where you’re at, that’s OK. Look at your list and see what can coincide with what you discover by reflecting and praying with the questions above. If they don’t go along with God’s designs and becoming more fully you, let this be your permission to throw those out and start a new approach to growth and renewal of sorts. After all, we’re all longing a little extra for those things this time of the year.
FOUR PLACES TO BEGIN AGAIN AND START ANEW
Read Practical Ways to Obtain Joy. If you’re looking for joy and purpose, Practical Ways to Obtain Joy is a simple guide where I present the posture in which the Church encourages us to embrace and live each day.
Host a regular faith-filled women’s gathering. Guests can include as many ladies as you wish. The goal is to surround yourself with support, accountability, and life-giving women who will accompany you, all the while you accompany them, in the journey. You may enjoy using a book like Loved as I Am for discussion. And, don’t forget, have fun! You can make it a themed event even, and/or play some inspiring tunes in the background. If you’re looking for more structure and would like to have a speaker at your gathering or upcoming women’s event, let’s chat!
Begin praying 30-minutes a day. You can start by praying with the reason for our hope and how Mary Magdalene witnesses to this hope (John 20:11). Next, you might feel prompted to transition your prayer into adoring the Lord by calling on Him with His various names or what I refer to as His “job titles”: Wonderful Counselor, The Good Teacher, Mighty God, The Compassionate Healer, Eternal Father, The Beloved Son, and Prince of Peace.
Learn what the Church teaches about who God is and why He made you. You can start with an introduction to Saint Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body or if you are looking for ongoing studies and guidance, you can pre-register for my Joy Seeker Platform. Go look at my announcement about the platform.
No matter where you choose to begin again and seek a renewed understanding of you and the God who absolutely adores you, be confident that God will lead you when you give Him permission. So, as you jump in, I invite you to pray this prayer to open yourself to God and consent to His will and promptings.
Lord, every new year, every new day, and every moment, you invite me to embrace who you have designed me to be. I delight in your designs and the gift of my femininity. As I grow in understanding of your beautiful ways, what you’re inviting me to in this new year, and in fact, every moment, let me say again, and again, “Thank you, Jesus! I trust in you!”