I’m guessing that I’m not the only person starting a blog today. ‘Tis the season for pausing to reflect on the year that has passed and for starting fresh in the new one, after all. We’re hopeful that this year we’ll finally get it right. A cursory glance at Facebook and Pinterest this morning is evidence of this hope. We’re wishin’ and hopin’, people.
I’m not a resolution maker by nature. Definitely a wisher and a hoper, but not one to put those wishes and hopes into actual plans, as a general rule. I’ve been thinking about why this is, pondering for some deep answer to explain my reticence to partake in this annual ritual.
Turns out, the answer isn’t deep at all. It’s lying on the surface, right out there in the open, nekkid as a jaybird. It’s a component of my DNA that I usually don’t like to consider. My name is Julie and I am a perfectionist. Not the kind of perfectionist who works at things, tweaking and fiddling until things are just so. I’m more the type to not even try because I’m pretty certain (okay, positive) that the end result will be so far from perfect as to be laughable. Once, I bought a self-help book entitled something along the lines of I’m Not Perfect, So Why Do I Try to Be? I can’t tell you what advice it contained because I never actually read it. I was afraid I wouldn’t finish it. Chew on that for a moment. Sheesh.
I’d like to think I’ve made some progress in loosing the chains of perfectionism. And, I most likely have…but, I’ve got a long way to go. It’s daunting. It’s overwhelming. It makes me want to ignore it and watch another rerun of House Hunters.
My God has been working on me, though. It’s a slow process, but He is faithful. Last New Year’s, I claimed Galatians 5:1 as my verse for 2014:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (NIV)
God has shown me over the last year that the biggest burden that weighs me down, that keeps me from living the abundant life He sent His son to save me for, is my particular brand of perfectionism. It’s a specter, sneaking up on me when I least expect it, planting seeds of doubt and defeating me before I’ve begun. My efforts to free myself from these doubts, from my failure to be perfect, are doomed until I recognize that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection, His victory over death, has already freed me. I need only stand firm on His Truth and His promises. It’s a process to learn to do that; with God’s help, I am learning to surrender and realize the joy of living in His glorious freedom.
In considering what verse to choose for this year, I am compelled to choose Galatians 5:1 again. God’s not finished with me yet. I’ve got a lot more to learn. The ghoulish spirit of doubt has raised its ugly head with thoughts that not choosing a new verse is lame. Guess what? I don’t care. My soul craves freedom more than it craves the illusion of perfection. So, bring it on, 2015. I’m ready. God’s got me. I’m standing firm.
Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know who holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives.
Because He Lives, by Bill and Gloria Gaither (1971).
Happy New Year, y’all.