And just like that, it's two months into 2014.
I poured champagne, shared my best moment of 2013 with my new mister and two of our closest friends, we clinked our glasses and let out a few excited cheers... and then it was a new year.
I didn't sit down as 2013 drew to a close, pen determinedly in hand, ready to map out how I didn't want 2014 to look with a list of this-year-I'm-going-to-starts and this-year-I'm-going-to-quits and this-year-I'm-going-to-do-betters. You don't need the calendar to change to do that - maybe it's harsh to say, but I think mediocre lives are marked by the heaviness of complacency. Of being just fine with the way things are.
And friends, I'm not interested in being boring. In living a mediocre life. In blending in.
I'm interested in excellence.
In standing out so brightly that people question how the heck I do it.
In facing challenges with a bravado that's rooted in the practice of digging my heels in, of gritting my teeth and committing to every step and not relenting until I've done the best I can do, until I've given the fullest I can give.
That's serious stuff. And it's about more than just wanting to have a better new year than the old one. There's no denying that 2013 was probably my most difficult, challenging year yet - the pages of my weeping journals prove it with an almost embarrassing honesty. But what I'm talking about is so much more than just wanting to say that I grew a little, that I learned my lesson, that I'm making the most or rising above.
This is about stepping into this new season of my life and deciding what kind of person I want to be.
There are a lot of people walking around - I'm looking around my college campus where I'm sitting and writing this and I'm seeing hundreds of them - who don't know who they want to be. A year ago, I was one of them. I sat right where I was and relied on other people to decide how I was going to feel and waited on dreams that were just easy enough, just cookie-cutter enough, not to require a bit of gut-wrenching courage. I let my passions sit deep in my belly, dormant until I grew enough to gather up the boldness to call them out and decide that I was brave enough to own them.
It's the plight of people who haven't been shaken up a bit by hands bigger than our own perception of our problems, who haven't been forced to realize that
life isn't comfortable.
It just ain't, dollface.
People leave you. People fail you. Money comes and goes even quicker, and in a heart that's open to Jesus-sized adventures, a lot of times you have to give things up. Things that maybe you really thought you wanted, things that it feels like unraveling the very fabric of who you are to let go of.
But that's so, so good. Because going through all of those things, and fighting tooth and nail to have the faith to trust in my great big God all the while, was like life's way of holding up a big, heavy, showy looking glass in front of me. And instead of my reflection between the edges of a gilded, ornate frame, I saw all the things I knew were meant for me instead.
Love. Adventure. Challenge. Success. Victory.
And in the sifting and the sorting and the shoving things around to make room for what I needed to hold on to, one of the things left in my hands at the end of my season of stillness was a conviction.
A conviction to be disciplined.
To be diligent and faithful and committed to everything I sink my hands into. To let myself be wrapped up in where I am and really be IN it - none of this half in, half out business. None of this fear of making the decision to stay, or to open my hands and go.
To do everything I do with all that it takes to do it well.
And it's practical, guys. It's not just about the New-Years-Resolution-attitude of newbiggerbetterskinnierwealthierhappier.
It's about deciding who I want to be. And committing to a quest of really being that person.
And for me, it does look like prioritizing health. And being responsible with my finances. And investing in my relationships. But it's a heart thing. A deep-down, hearty, dig-my-heels-in kind of decision about who. I. am. Not about my behavior, or about what people would say about me if I held up a picture frame to my face and asked what I looked like to them. It's about who I am.
And so far, it's taking more resolution than any three-day-a-week gym plan ever has.
What kind of person do you want to be?
"Whatever you do, work at with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for man." - Colossians 3:23