I should probably begin by explaining what 2014 was for me. When everyone was preparing to ring in the New Year at the end of 2013, I was reflecting on all that had happened and what a shift in my life had occurred in just one short year. I think the 13 in 2013 was rather appropriate considering it held some of the worst moments of my life. And with the end of my marriage also came an end to my life’s plans and expectations as I had once held them. No more did I see a future centered around a marriage and kids. So what did I now see? Instead of making a list of resolutions for the New Year I knelt down beside my bed at the stroke of midnight and prayed that 2014 would be a year full of new beginnings.
1 John 5:14 says “…if we ask anything in His name He hears us.” Well God certainly heard me and filled my year with a multitude of new beginnings. From a new roommate and a new boss in the first week alone, to the official start of this blog, through so many other beginnings throughout the year and ending with the start of a new life in my niece born in December, God answered my prayer in abundance. It has been a year of learning and growing and becoming the person I was always meant to be. I still have a long way to go, but I am amazed at where I am and all that has been accomplished. And now that 2014 has come to a close I have thought about what I want 2015 to be. Yes, I still have plenty of things I want to work on—a whole list of New Year’s resolutions I could come up with. But, I don’t feel like that is what God wants me to focus on. Instead, I am praying for a year of gratitude.
Gratitude is defined as “the state of being grateful” and that is exactly what I am aiming for—a state of being.* I am the type of person who always has a ‘to do’ list longer than there is time enough in the day. If I am not crossing something off the list I am cataloguing all of the tasks left to do and calculating how I can rearrange my schedule in order to accomplish the most important ones. Not surprisingly I often find myself exhausted and overwhelmed. But, I am slowly beginning to recognize how so much of the stress in my life is of my own making. I set expectations for myself that aren’t necessary and then I push myself towards those expectations with rarely a reprieve long enough to appreciate all I have already been given. So, instead of marching through my never ending ‘to do’ list I want to make a conscious effort at simply being—being fully present in each moment, being grateful for the fullness of this life—being rather than always doing.
Gratitude is a great way to be without having to do. Being grateful helps you focus on the goodness your life is already filled with. As you appreciate each moment you can soak in the fullness and find rest in the present. Don’t get me wrong, I know life isn’t perfect and I will still have bad days. I don’t know what new struggles this year might bring, but I do know I will always have a reason to be grateful. I am planning to do my best in 2015 to practice a state of being grateful. You might see fewer blog posts as I shift my focus from doing to being, and I hope to share some of my gratitude lessons along the way. I pray that your year would be full of hope, and I welcome you to join me in making 2015 a year of gratitude.
*Gratitude—a feeling of appreciation or thanks : the state of being grateful : thankfulness (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gratitude).