It's New Year's Day as I write this. The condo is quiet while the party animals still sleep and Craig and I are on our third pot of coffee. We’ve been in Orange Beach, Alabama for a week chilling with some good friends, our daughter Olivia and Big Landon, her boyfriend. That’s right, we call him Big Landon so as not to confuse him with Little Landon, our grandson. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know him better this week and it doesn’t hurt that he loves to golf! The guys did plenty of that this week. We've also had a few pool days and really have just been relaxing. It's such a different pace here - I wish I could bottle it to take home and keep it for the year ahead.
As I sit here reflecting, I can’t help but think about the way New Year's Day used to be for me. I know I felt like crap physically and mentally. What did I say last night? Did I make a fool of myself? I would be laying in bed hungover yet and swearing to myself that this year was going to be different. The drinking would stop, okay maybe just slow down. I would get control of it. I would proudly prove my new resolution to myself by drinking casually on New Year's Day and not overdoing it. A day of football, friends, and food to feed my hangover. Oh, and the diet starts on the 2nd of the month. By the end of the evening, I had more rules set for myself than I could ever keep track of!
I was that typical resolution setter that had fallen off the wagon. No, a caravan of wagons I had fallen off about ten days in. Thus leading to another year of climbing off and on that caravan. Drinking, not drinking. Dieting, not dieting. Exercising, not exercising. Shopping, not shopping. Be a better wife, mother, daughter... dang it I lost my temper again. Do my devotions every single day, then oh crap I skipped a day.
My brakes were shot from starting and stopping every lofty goal I had set. I had so many bruises all year from beating myself up, I should have been locked up for assault.
You get the idea.
I don’t live that way anymore. I often ask God to help me set realistic expectations, not just on January 1. When I fail, I go to him for a new beginning. Sometimes multiple times a day. That’s not failure, that is success.
I am a sinner, always have been, always will be. All that God asks of me is to keep listening, keep trying, and to represent him in all I do. When I screw up, he forgives me - that means I need to forgive myself as well.
I admit I can still get sucked in to those New Year's Resolutions. It seems to be the main topic of conversation in between Christmas and New Year's. Then I take a step back and look at what I have accomplished in the last year. Is my book done? No, but I have worked on it a lot and made good progress. Am I Twiggy? No, but I am healthier than I was a year ago. There’s also that another whole year of sobriety thing. I own that proudly every day not just on January 1.
I have aspirations for 2018, not resolutions. More about scheduling, organization and to keep working on me as a whole. God doesn’t see me in pieces or sections so I'm not going to look in the mirror that way either.
Last year I put the words Authentic Dedication in front of me and made them my theme for the year. I looked at them often and tried hard to follow the definition I made for myself by putting them together.
To be genuine in who I am. I faked who I was for so long that even I didn't know who I was anymore. In recovery the idea is not to go back to who I was because truthfully I can’t stand her. I am so thankful I get a do over! Every. Single. Day. I want to be transparent so that when people hear and see me they see who I really I am.
I made some good headway by trying to live a life that mirrored that statement. Maybe no one else noticed but I do. I like how I feel. I don’t feel tangled up inside near as much as I used to. I am going to continue this year with those same words in front of me, but I'm going to add to it.
If I look back on a year ago at this time, I can see that God was preparing me for a place of peace to dwell in. I am so grateful for that. If I think of the hard stuff we went through last year, I am thankful, so thankful that I was in a good place and had that peace inside of me to lean on. God truly was and is my sanctuary.
This year, I'm directing a Christian Writers' Conference and we've selected the theme “Divine Appointment.” This theme was chosen because I had quite a few of those myself last year. It is a good reminder to me that nothing happens on its own. Those appointments are God-planned, not Sherry-planned, and his plans are always better than mine. That’s been proven over and over.
All those rules and regulations I used to set for myself were MY intentions, my rules. It didn't leave any space for appointments I had not scheduled myself. So this year I intend to be more open to those Divine Appointments. Instead of being surprised by them I am going to expect them! I love it when they happen and I plan on sharing them throughout the year here on my blog. I'm not always thrilled when they happen because they usually are an interruption of what I had planned. That is the main thing I have to work on: realizing that my agenda is not the same as God's most of the time. To be teachable and flexible!
My scripture for last year was 2 Peter 1:5-7. Today in my devotions twice, TWICE those two verses showed up! It wasn’t just the two verses, it was the passage of 2 Peter 1:3-11. So I wrote them out and plan on focusing on all eight verses this year. Take a moment to read through it. Words to live by:
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you - your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. So, friends, confirm God's invitation to you, his choice of you. Don't put it off; do it now. Do this, and you'll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. - 2 Peter 1:3-11
Verse 10 tells us to “confirm God's invitation to you.” To me that confirmation is a Divine Appointment.
Peace and Blessings,