I don’t know about you, but 2017 approaching sends me into a bit of a tizzy. What will the new year bring? What have I left undone? And, perhaps most importantly, what have I learned over the last 12 months?
There is certainly power in reflection – both on personal action and external experience. This is one reason I blog. I can revisit my own hard lessons with the click of a mouse.
But I’m a sucker for good advice. The best toolbox, in my opinion, is the arsenal of insights we gain from others.
Here is a sample of the very best wisdom I received in 2016:
Don’t sacrifice your family to save the world. You will ultimately lose both.
Associate Pastor (West Virginia)
I am a Type A, which means I wake up each morning with the vigor to take on every challenge – local or global – that life presents. Unsurprisingly, I often fall asleep at night with a blanket of disappointment for all that could not be accomplished by my mortal hands.
This advice seems to suggest a new approach: Get over it, Lauren.
It’s too easy to dwell on where we fall short. In 2017, I want to lift up the victories, even when they are small. And, you know, I think there is no greater sacrifice I can make than my own ego.
Most parents try to make their children fit into the world. But that’s not the point; we learn our children so that we can help them function in the world.
Preschool Teacher (Georgia)
Parenting is one big gamble made up of a series of small decisions. The best way to get distracted? Look at what everyone else is doing. One of the current parenting trends involves futile attempts at shaping every part of our children’s lives. But, if we’re honest, no amount of money, stability, or effort will change a kid’s personality.
It’s difficult to slow down. It’s even tougher to pay close attention to little people through weary eyes. In 2017, I want to prioritize knowing my children even more deeply…while they’re still open (and eager) books.
I always had this stirring in me – wanting more. Since I been here, I ain’t felt it.
Pastor (West Virginia)
My goal for my professional life is to ultimately answer God’s unique call for me. It seems the path, however, has been anything but straight, especially in recent years. Sometimes I get wrapped up in pride and entitlement. Other times I sell myself far short. I think the Lord’s magic works somewhere in between.
What I know for sure is that Christ is alive in the heart of a pastor in Little Birch, West Virginia. In 2017, I want my life to be so on fire for God’s work that the stirring ceases within me as well. And, truly, I think it may be the only way to inner peace.
I avoid using the term resolution, as I believe it almost dooms me from the beginning (as least psychologically). But I believe good things happen when we settle the world raging within us and listen to the wisdom knocking on the door of our hearts.
It’s a tall order. A year may not be enough. But it’s a start. And I’m hopeful.