Over the holidays, two devastating tragedies hit people I know and love. One fatal plane crash left my dear friend’s daughter mourning the loss of her best friend and another fatal car crash killed a beloved friend’s cousin, wife and daughter.
Just like that.
We get these “wake up calls” often: No one knows how long life on this earth will be. It’s mind numbing, terrifying, and quite frankly something we don’t like to dwell on, right?
We keep on going and doing and waking up every day with our to do lists and our activities and often stumble through the day simply pushing on through. I have many of those days too. That’s just life: We all have ongoing responsibilities we must tend to and as we gallop off into the madness each and every day, we do our best to embrace the good, give what we can, and be grateful.
I’m all for that.
With the New Year, comes new goals for many. New resolutions to be better, feel better, live better.
I’m all for that too.
I think that should actually be everyone’s life motto, really.
Be Better. Feel Better. Live Better.
Done and done and done.
Or I should say Gonna do and gonna do and gonna do.
Most people set off the New Year with great plans, and grand expectations.
I say, good for YOU!
I’m not one of them.
I’m an all year round kinda girl. I’m not good with pressure, and well- New Year’s Resolutions screams PRESSURE to me- so I ease into the year with reflection and baby steps back into the LBTH. (Life Before The Holidays). I like to think more about the past year- what I am proud I accomplished and look for the marks that I missed. You can learn a lot from both. And there is always more we could have done and more we can aim to do.
Then there are things I believe we can all strive for every year. Resolutions that may help us be better people, feel better about ourselves and the world we live in, and ultimately help us to live a better life full of meaning and purpose and even hope.
I have concluded in my initial reflection, that the challenges I’m looking into for 2017, may in fact be the goals we can all embrace.
I think we could all explore six general resolutions to Be Better-Feel Better-Live Better. They may seem basic and ordinary- but when practiced, I think they become complex and extraordinary. Let’s find out for ourselves, okay?
HERE ARE SIX WAYS YOU CAN BE BETTER, FEEL BETTER, AND LIVE BETTER…
- Be good to yourself.
This may seem like it should come with a smiley face key chain, but I’m serious when I say this. Take it to HEART. Have you checked your inner voice lately? How do you talk to yourself? How do you TREAT yourself? I’m going to bet that you are often critical, demanding, and sometimes even cruel. How much do you even like yourself? Do you appreciate you? Do you look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I love you, no matter what.”?
If you don’t love yourself, accept yourself, and value who you are- flaws and failings too, then your road to happiness will be entirely conditional.
That’s no way to travel. Trust me, I know.
- Claim your purpose.
I don’t mean go find it. At this very moment, you are living a life of purpose! What you are doing right now- how you are living already HAS purpose. I think we get so swept up in the day to day busyness, we forget that all we do- these tasks, this work, our roles in all our lives have purpose.
Don’t forget that what you are doing is important, valuable, and is making a difference in someone’s life. If we don’t take the time to recognize and embrace what we are doing as valuable and has purpose, then we won’t be empowered and strengthened to carry out our roles with intention and fulfillment.
The greatest failure is the loss of fulfillment. We lose fulfillment when we lose purpose. We lose purpose simply because we don’t recognize it. Claim your purpose- and fulfillment always follows.
- Give a little.
Give a little forgiveness. Give a little attention. Give a little money. Give a little encouragement. Give a little flexibility. Give a little credit. Give a little time. Give a little sacrifice. Give a little service. Give a little kindness. Give a little help. Give a little acknowledgement. Give a little effort. Give a little love. Give a little patience. Give a little gratitude. Give a little support…
To those in need.
- Love someone you don’t like.
Mama say what? Okay, hear me out. I believe any kind of love is sacrificial. These days there’s a whole lot of hate going around and it’s not easy to stretch our arms around those who are hurtful or those who don’t deserve our love or those who make us cringe or especially those who fire us up with anger. This is where The Golden Rule applies. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Treat people the way you want to be treated no matter how they treat you. It’s that simple, really. But oh, it’s so, so hard. As it seems hate is a rampant wildfire these days and we can keep it from spreading with some splattering of love. How about you water down those blazing fires with a good dose of acceptance, of understanding or even forgiveness. Dare to be the one who shines light in a dark world. Be bold, yes. Speak truth, yes. Fight for everything and anything you are passionate about- But do it with RESPECT- always.
- Do something hard.
We can all probably agree that the first four I have listed are already hard.
But this resolution will challenge you to step into your fear and come out courageous.
Every one of us has a daunting or possibly haunting ‘thing’ we feel compelled to do, but we are too afraid to go there. This may be as simple as picking up the phone and calling a family member you cut ties with years ago. (Simple? Not really.) It may be deciding to try with everything you’ve got to salvage a withering marriage. Perhaps you have always been afraid of ‘putting yourself out there’ in a profession you dream to pursue. It even might be asking for help, when you’ve been suffering for too long without it- whether that be looking into rehab, seeking counseling, or making that doctor appointment to look into a possible diagnosis. Do you need to finally approach your boss about your overwhelming job responsibilities? Heck, this hard thing could be signing up for an exercise class when you haven’t moved in years.
We do hard things every day don’t we? But I think most of us remain in our safe place, our comfort zones- I know I do. This hard thing is a bit different.
I think you already know what hard thing you need to do…
- Hold onto hope.
There’s a lot of hopelessness going around, isn’t there? I believe hopelessness stems from two things: Fear and lack of faith. Fear of the unknown, fear of people we don’t trust, fear of things out of our control, fear of losing our own safety, our rights, our freedoms. Fear of danger and evil and hate’s wildfire. All that fear often steals our faith in believing that somehow goodness will prevail and light will rise victorious in this darkening world. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe there is even a God who is present in this mess.
Don’t let fear steal your faith.
I believe in a God who rules over the universe and He has already written the story of our world’s beginning and our world’s end. This undoubtedly difficult season is but a mere chapter in the book, and I hear the ending is GLORIOUS. Therein lies my hope.
There is a large landscape in which our world’s volatile current conditions are placed. It’s hard to understand the big picture when we are feeling trapped in the rubble of today’s wreckage. Dig deep to discover a God who is trustworthy to His Truth. Reach for hope in believing this is all part of God’s master plan. It isn’t easy when we witness evil spread its venom, but living in this world has never been easy since the serpent slithered in.
When the battle rages between fear and faith- fight for faith.
Here’s to a New Year, friends.
Let’s all be better, feel better, and live better.
Linking up with Coffee For Your Heart.
Janine Huldie says
So very sorry for your good friends’ loss and truly just felt awful reading here about this. That said thank you for the wonderful and sage advice on how to live this upcoming year and for many years to come. Truly beautiful and can never say thank you enough to you for inspiring us here. Hugs and Happy New Year now!! 🙂
Thank you so much Janine. It’s been so very hard for them. And yes, I wish you all the best in the coming year, my friend! Looking forward to doing it together!! 🙂
My Inner Chick says
–The greatest failure is the loss of fulfillment***
Chris, you knocked this OUT OF THE PARK.
Absolutely, amazingly, abundantly insightful.
Words to LIVE by, shade, and place on my fridge next to “BE Still and KNOW I Am GOD.”
Xxxx LOVE U.
AW! Really? I’m SO glad you liked it Kim! I stirred for a while with where I wanted to go with the New Year post and this felt right. THANK YOU HONEY!! And NOTHING can beat “BE Still and KNOW I am GOD.” <--- Oh yeah. My FAVORITE verse.
My Inner Chick says
I just noticed I’m doing what Stephan King HATES: amazingly, abundantly insightful.
I LOVE your words- ALL of them. 🙂 What does Stephan King know? LOL
So very sad to hear such tragic loss of you friends. I love these transformative ideas for a better year ahead..they’de foundational for a better life..good soul to sproat seeds! I especially resonate with doing something hard! And I don’t like resolutions either! Love your wisdom! I look forward to our soulful sharing and encouragement in 2017! Blessing dear friend!
HAPPY 2017 my beloved friend! YES- I absolutely look forward to soulful sharing and encouragement this year too. I appreciate you and your words so much Kathy. <3
Lynn J Simpson says
These are all fantastic, Christine! I have been thinking about purpose a lot lately, as well as one of my context words that is to do better this year, instead of just good enough (which also works into challenging the comfort zone). Being off purpose can be such an energy drain! Thank you for bringing this down to simplicity as I can make things so complicated when, really, God just calls us to be authentic to ourselves and receive His love.
Authentic to ourselves is SO KEY. And gracious – oh my gosh do I need GRACIOUS! 🙂 That is a great charge to do better and not just good enough. I’m sure you will be motivated to do just that, Lynn.
I’m with you, I can’t take the pressure of New Year’s Resolutions. I just can’t! But your list is so good, and I’m living into so many of these right now. I’m working on the first draft of a book, and my daughter has overheard me talking about it (she’s eight). She asked me today if I was going to be a famous author like Kate Dicamillo (they’ve read a couple of her books in class this year). It got me thinking, even if I don’t, I want my daughter to know I was brave and I did the work! That’s important to me.
YES Traci- what an incredible role model you are for your girl. That alone is THE greatest purpose. The book is icing on the cake. 🙂
Nancy Brier says
The last item on your list is my favorite. Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope.
Hear, hear! I love the part about us already knowing the hard thing(s) we have to do.
You are full of wisdom! I like to make changes year round but it’s a great time to spread the love and inspiration, isn’t it?
I’m all about year round too, T. I KNOW you are. I just love that about you- always discovering and evolving and aware of it all. <3
I love that you point out that we don’t have to go looking for purpose, we’re already living one! I think that’s the key to joy. Too often we’re praying and hoping and stressing about what we should be doing, when quite often, it’s right in front of our noses. Love that!
May 2017 be the year when ‘going to’ changed into ‘got it’! And I want that for you and for me, so let’s travel this year together, being good to ourselves, claiming our hope, and being our purpose.
Hey Ceil! Exactly that, my friend. I am guilty of doing that very thing- looking and longing and wondering about where to go and what to do and it’s RIGHT HERE. 🙂
I’m so glad we can do 2017 together, my friend. <3
Marie Kléber says
I am so sorry for the loss of your friends. Tragedies remind us what it it and it feels to be alive. I love your precious advices. We must make the best of it, now. May you have a beautiful year Chris. And yes may we remain full of hope and faith. The end will be amazing, you are so right!
HAPPY NEW YEAR my beautiful friend! May YOU be gifted with abundant love this year, Marie. You are SUCH a light in this world. <3 Thanks, as always for your lovely words.
I feel like you are full of so much wisdom about loving and caring for others and ourselves. I’m working on #1 (especially when I get frustrated with myself) and pushing myself to do #5. #4 wow, so important but such a challenge. I learned as my last job to look beyond what you see in a person, to understand why someone might act or feel or do a certain thing and to recognize that deep down we all have good qualities. Thank you for sharing, friend!
I love that Bev. Such a great way to approach people you don’t like very much (Wasn’t that polite? lol) It’s really the best way to manage those negative feelings- try to understand them! Thanks so much for your encouraging words too, my friend. HAPPY 2017!
Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom says
Happy new year, Chris! I am encouraged as usual by your words. I’m really working on claiming my purpose (#2) and loving someone I don’t like. I’m definitely trying to trust God that he put the people I don’t like near me for a reason and He knows better than I do so I should trust that and even (gulp) embrace that.
“Gulp”- HA1 Love that Katy. 🙂 I’m always inspired when I read about how others are working on similar issues- and yes, I really have had light bulb moments with this whole purpose thing. We can surely chase after more goals and create more purpose in our lives, but good grief- I sometimes forget I actually AM living a life of purpose already. I don’t want to lose sight of that while I chase more P’s…
Julie Jo Severson says
Oh, Christine, I’m so sorry for the devastating losses in your friends’ lives. It’s all just so fragile-I’m feeling that more and more these days. Anybody I love, anybody I was just talking an hour ago could have their last breath later that day. Was my encounter with them loving? All of your suggestions speak to me but especially the “Do something hard” and “Hold onto Hope.” Hard stuff and looking for hope is what 2017 has been all about so far and coming here is once again a sweet respite.
I do have to say, for a minute, I lost it with the giggles after reading “Mama, say what?”after your heading “Love someone we don’t like.” I must be slap happy tired, but that phrase just cracked me up! I needed that giggle. Thank you! For so much.
I LOVE that you laughed at my phrase, Julie! I say “Mama say what?!” all the time around here and it just kinda slipped off my fingers. I thought I might as well leave it there. 🙂
And yes, these losses are so awful. My friend’s daughter is speaking at her bf’s celebration of life this weekend in front of what they think will be around 1,000 people. What a courageous young woman she is! Please pray for her. I know it is going to be so hard- it all is so hard.
Kenya G. Johnson says
Excellent post Christine. Mama say what? I laughed out loud. This is a great list. I definitley don’t want to spend my year just pushing through.
I’m sorry for the tradgies of your friends. There’s nothing like a “life is short wake up call”, than a tragic death.
I say that phrase ALL the time, and it just kinda slipped out my fingers… Ha! And yes, I kinda hate those wake up calls… but if there is anything good that comes from them, it’s reminding people every second counts.
Allie G smith says
Great advice Christine. This post is a keeper. Sorry about you friends. I don’t know why, but every year around the holidays, I seem to hear many tragic stories. It always makes my heart hurt, especially with all the happiness and cheer. Xoxo
Yeah, it does seem that way around the holidays. All the more tragic. Sigh…
Here’s to a new year Allie! CHEERS and maybe *maybe* we can finally meet!! Wouldn’t that be SO FUN?! 🙂
Candace Playforth says
I’m so sorry to hear about these tragedies, Chris. I absolutely love your idea of “Be better, feel better, live better.” What a powerful little statement! I could use a lot of work on #1. It amazes me the words I say to myself sometimes. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts on how to truly live a better life on so many levels. Much love to you in this promising new year, my friend.
That little diddy just flew out of my mind and I thought “Huh, did I just steal that?” LOL. I googled, I’m good.
Here’s to a new year for us both, Candace! I’m so glad we can walk along side each other into it together. <3
Karen Lange says
I’m not great with pressure either, so I appreciate your encouraging approach here. My goals are to do all of the above, living more intentionally. My husband and I were just discussing how none of us is guaranteed tomorrow, so why waste time with trivial things that try to steal our joy, etc. Thank you for stopping by my blog for Ceil’s interview. It’s great to meet you! 🙂
Hi Karen! I’m so glad to see you here! I loved reading Ceil’s post over on your blog and I love connecting with new bloggers- so YAY for both! 🙂 And yes… I think intentional should be my word. I’m on the fence about having one- but we’ll see. I have all year to declare it, right? Ha.
lisa thomson says
This is beautiful, Chris. Thanks for the inspiration. Love someone you hate caught me off guard. Wo-wa. Good advice. Thank you and Happy New Year to you!
I know… that one’s a toughie, isn’t it? Happy New Year to YOU too, Lisa! Thanks so much for stopping by to read this. 🙂
Tiffany Parry says
Great encouragement here. “Do something hard,” really jumped out at me and I have a couple of those somethings on my list. Going to ponder that one a bit more and see just what God might have me tackle. Thank you for sharing your insight.
Thank you Tiffany! Yes- do something hard is something I am focusing on right now. 🙂 I have a few of them to do myself…
Wow, yes, those are wake-up calls – it’s always a shock when we lose someone we love. We’re reminded of how temporary our home here is.
Your suggestions/tips are fabulous. I am trying to make more room for self-care… I sometimes get lost in my days and forget to pause and take care of me, my soul, and my body. I’m also currently exploring my identity in Christ – I think it’s critical to see ourselves as he sees us… not as how we see us.
Thanks for sharing friend. Happy New Year!
Kristi R Campbell says
Oh girl. How do you do this? I have such a hard time looking in the mirror and not flipping myself off. For what? Aging? GROSS. For I don’t know. I love this so much huge. Love YOU.
I’m not much of a fan of resolutions. But I do believe in the power of a positive mindset and self-examination for the purpose of betterment. This is a good one. xo