I know I am not alone in my reflection of the year past and the anticipation of the year to come, as we hang in limbo between Christmas’ ending and 2015’s beginning. What a strange feeling this time of the year brings; I cannot help but feel both a great sense of accomplishment, as well as simultaneous disappointment, in looking at all that I have done (and all that I have not done, on the contrary) since 2013 came to a close. Although each day seems as though I hardly make a dent in what is the purpose of my life, I am not blind to the fact that the accomplishments of each day add up to one whirlwind of a year: I spent my last spring break in Cabo with my sorority sisters. I graduated from college. I started my first job on salary. I paid my first month’s rent on my own. I got a promotion. I became a member of my church. I gave my life to Jesus. To think that these are the first things that come to mind, and that there are many more things I have accomplished on a smaller scale, is relieving and satisfying.
However, despite the steps I have taken this year in becoming more of myself, I have to laugh at what I have accomplished in terms of my resolutions for this year. I have actually taken steps in the opposite direction in meeting these resolutions that I gave to myself for 2014, although there is no doubt in my heart or my head that these steps, though seemingly backward, were actually greater strides forward than I could have imagined for myself only one year ago.
Let me explain:
My first resolution for 2014 was to publish more blog posts (one per week, to be exact, since I have read that specific goals are more likely to be met than general, vague ones). Rather than posting more often, however, I became uninspired in my writing and ceased writing altogether. I deleted my originally fashion-focused blog completely. Instead, I renovated my entire project and found purpose in writing about things centered around Jesus and our beauty in praising Him rather than the praises of this world. I am crossing the finish line of 2014 with fewer posts than I started, but finally am I inspired and fulfilled in my writing, rather than feeling like “just another fashion blogger”. I no longer feel pressure to post, because I am not writing for anyone but those seeking the same that I am: His Kingdom.
My second resolution for 2014 was to deep condition my hair more often in an attempt to grow it as long as possible. Not only did I not deep condition my hair (the effort! the time!), but I chopped it off toward the end of the summer following a fairly impulsive decision to do so only the day prior after browsing Pinterest for too long. Interestingly, I expected to regret it. I bought waterproof mascara to wear to my appointment expecting to cry over the loss of my hair, but my fear was not going to stop me in following through once I had made the decision to go for the chop. I no longer looked like a college student too cheap to get a decent hair cut, although I had a lot more money in college than I do now. The irony! And not only that, but I felt liberated in that my longer hair, albeit scientifically proven “sexier”, was no more a source of confidence than my shorter, bouncier hair.
My third resolution for 2014 was to lose weight, because my perfectionism can get the best of me, and I have for so long believed that thinness and happiness are directly related by cause and effect. Much like my blogging and my hair, however, I did not meet this goal and instead took steps in the opposite direction. I have taken an interest in lifting weights and sprint intervals, rather than long sessions on the elliptical trying with all my might to attain a body that mine will never be – waifish and slight. At five feet and eleven inches tall, I gain muscle easily, which some have praised as a “dream”, but for someone who has associated the term feminism with characteristics such as petite, skinny, and small, gaining weight can be uncharted territory and nightmarish at times. I have found myself questioning why I should work out at all if it means having to buy a size larger in pants to fit my thighs, and then I remember that I work out because I feel better when I do, and because it means I am stronger and healthier, and that working out to meet societal expectations is not the purpose of my life. In fact, the purpose of my life is to reject this very human ideal and remind others of the same!
God says to Jesus – His partner in craftsmanship – in Genesis 1:26-27, “‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God he created him, male and female He created them”.
This means you and me! We are like Him. How am I to rule over this earth and fulfill my purpose if my body is weak and fragile? He has great plans for me and you that can only be accomplished if our bodies can carry us through the adversity of this life.
I may be the only person that I know that did not only not meet my resolutions, but instead did exactly the contrary in attempting to meet each one. I gave myself goals for 2014 thinking that I would come out a better woman: one with a more full and extensive blog, longer hair, and lighter body. And yet here I am, reflecting on this past year, with fewer posts to my name, curls that barely skim my collarbone, and a few pounds heavier. Comparing the person I am today to what I expected for myself exactly one year ago, I am much less of a woman. Contrarily, I am crossing over into 2015 more healthy, more happy, more inspired, and more free.
I am not going to set limitations for myself in the form of resolutions this year. Instead, I am going to see how much deeper and wider my growth is in 2015 by allowing myself to become more of me. In a way, this a resolution in itself; but for the first time, this is one in which I am not bound by worldly expectation.