Each year, instead of forming some New Year’s Resolution (that I will probably disregard within the first two weeks of January), I pick a word. I LOVE words. I love how much meaning that something can carry just by stringing a handful of letters together. Each word I pick carries meaning…it tells me my goals for the year by encompassing the values I would like to brush up on. Once I pick the word, my parents purchase a charm that I add to a “word” charm bracelet, an accessory that I cherish and wear every day.
This year God put one word on my heart that I have selected as my resolution for 2015: Love.
Now, you might be thinking that this seems like a surface-level hippie word, but I believe this word has the ability to push myself in a way that I have never pushed myself before. I have paired this word a verse, 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Let all that you do be done in love.” I run this verse through my mind as I go about my daily activities, and it shapes the way that I view others, myself, and God. It gives me a fresh way to consider my thoughts before they are verbalized, and it shapes my actions.
This year, my resolution has 3 folds to it:
1. Love God: I have been give so much, and I want to give back to the one Who has so generously breathed Life into my being. I know that I can never repay Him for all that He gives me, but I can live my life in a way that reflects Him. I want to love God more by spending more quality time with Him. When my life gets busy, or I slip into a mode of procrastination, God-time is usually the first thing I cut from my schedule. I want to make time for God to do my devotions and pray with gratitude throughout my day instead of reciting a quick standardized prayer in my head before I dig into a meal. When I love God more, I am given the strength to love others in a more fuller way. Spending time with God allows me to be filled each morning, and it allows me to empty myself completely into others without feeling dry, because I know I will be refilled throughout my day.
2. Love others: I want to love others more fully. I have this habit of showing a lot of love to specific individuals, but avoiding the ones that are difficult for me to love. I don’t necessary treat them in a mean way, but I just don’t extend an equal amount of kindness and love to everyone. I want to make sure that I don’t utter words from my mouth if they aren’t loving, and I have been monitoring this by reciting my verse, “Let all that you do be done in love,” I then ask myself, “Am I saying this out of love?” If the answer is no, then I don’t say it. It’s easy for me to show love and kindness to the indidivuals who are kind to me. It’s easy for me to have a big heart for others who seem to be floundering in a social situation, or to become a companion and a cheerleader to the underdogs, but it is incredibly difficult for me to be equally loving to those that rub me the wrong way, or those who do not seem to “need” it. Sometimes I will look at a person and think, “Well, she’s already incredibly successful, and she knows it, so I don’t want to make her arrogant, I just won’t compliment her as much as I compliment everyone else.” Or even, “He’s treating everyone else so horribly, I don’t want to be kind to him; that would be like rewarding him for his behavior! He can’t get away with acting that way, so I’m just going to blow him off when he talks to me.” I am striving to develop a heart that shows love to EVERYONE, not just the lovable or the underdogs. Jesus lived a blameless life and died a horrendous death so that EVERYONE may receive His Perfect Love, and I would be completely wrong to think that after the Grace I have been shown, I have the audacity to choose who is “deserving” of my love.
3. Love Myself: I am my own worst critic. I try to shower others with compliments, but I’m pretty hard on myself. One day, after completely overloading myself on sugar, I was verbalizing my frustration with myself to my Mom. My Mom listened, and after I finished my rant, she tilted her head and asked, “Kelly, all of the things you just said about yourself—would you ever say those things about or to someone else?” My eyes widened with horror, “No! Of course not, that would be terrible!” She nodded and replied, “Well then don’t talk that way to yourself.” Wow, talk about a shift in perspective! I realized right then and there that I do not do a very good job of loving myself. Sometimes I eat until I feel sick, consume food that I know is not good for my body, deprive myself of sleep, or spread myself too thin socially. I want to show love to myself by the way I think about myself and the way I talk to myself. I want to show love to myself by taking care of my body through the way I exercise, the way I eat, and the way that I sleep. I want to show love to myself by finding something else to do when I’m anxious rather than taking it out on myself through picking at my fingernails or over-eating. I want to quit torturing myself through comparing myself to others.
This year, I resolve to love God, others, and myself more fully, because when we love fully, we can live fully. Here’s a to a year of living in love!
Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14