by Anita Davis Sullivan
It’s the second most magical time of the year! You know, the time when we all have a fresh start. We have clean homes, new calendars, goals and themes for the New Year. We’re getting healthy, keeping our closets organized, and planning our meals.
Except . . . I’m sitting here at the end of the first full week of the year, and there’s glitter on my cheek. Why? Because last night I finally started putting up the Christmas décor, and still today have piles of lights and ornaments and pine needles in my living room floor. And I overslept and skipped the shower, so I keep finding specks of glitter in random places.
My word of the year is: _________. (In case you’re not up on the cool new things, making resolutions is outdated, all the cool people now tell us to have a word). The blank isn’t intentional; it’s not a statement. It’s just a lack of coming up with anything that really speaks to my heart about my focus for the year.
Today, I ate a cookie after eating mostly healthy yesterday, I haven’t ridden my bike this week like I planned, I skipped pages in a book I read to my son, and I have already had to ask for grace for some really unkind thoughts about someone.
I’m a mess in many ways. That didn’t magically change because the New Year came.
So basically, there are people conquering 2015 with polar plunges and big goals, and I’m just over here trying to get glitter off of my face. Maybe you’re reading this and you are one of the ones who have already filled out your calendar, made a retro chic display of your word of the year, and your kids ate a hot breakfast. That’s awesome! Seriously, I mean it. But I really believe that there are a lot more of you who are closer to my reality than the Facebook posts and commercials lead us to believe. Some of you are a mess too. That’s awesome! Because I like to know I’m not alone, but also because that means you’re being honest and real about where you are.
Here’s the good news.
There is nothing magical about the New Year that makes all things possible then and only then, or that wears off as the weeks go by. Every day is a chance to wake up, start fresh, and continue on in the work that God is doing with you. He doesn’t give up on us, ever.
The even better news?
He works with messes. He doesn’t require us to be clean and perfect to be used.
Those of us involved with ministry sometimes feel like we have to at least pretend to be perfect, especially if we’re working with kids or stepping on a stage at church. And as parents, we often feel like we need to portray the perfect parent to our kids, because the pressure to raise these amazing beings into independent adults capable of changing the world is oh-so-great. But also because we worry about other parents judging us. You know, because we’re a mess and somehow put those things on the same level of importance some days.
But we weren’t perfect last year, and God managed to use us to do some remarkable things—remember those? We won’t be perfect this year, and we won’t be perfect next year. It doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be more Christ-like, or that making goals and using the New Year as motivation is bad. It’s pretty great. But just know that He does love us already, He’s using us already in the lives of people around us, and He’s going to keep doing so.
Keep showing up, keep being you, and let’s see what happens this year in our homes, our ministry teams and our churches. Pretty amazing things, I bet!
(And if you are one of those people with everything together, maybe you want to give me a call, because there are about six projects with paint waiting to be started in my home!)
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:22-23.
Anita is a mom of two boys, church drama director and creative team member, plus wife to the funniest KidStuf guy ever to set foot on a stage. By day, she is a Software Product Manager, and in her free five minutes a day, she also shares her heart at anitadavissullivan.com. She’d love to meet you there.