It’s that time again when we make a commitment to do things better in the coming year than we had in the past. For some that means taking better care of their bodies by eating better or exercising. For others it is making a commitment to be better organized in terms of time, money or even in keeping the clutter from piling up. I would do well to pick any or all of those. However, this year my resolution is to increase three specific things: connection, rest and forgiveness.
Anyone who has failed at past New Year’s resolutions knows that sometimes intentionality is not enough to make a lasting change. Often we need to figure out what is blocking us from being successful at what we want to accomplish and remove those obstacles. After some reflection, I wonder if I might be more successful at keeping my resolution this year if I first focused on removing some stuff that gets in the way: busyness, worry and resentment.
It seems that busyness is a natural enemy to rest. However, it is also a saboteur of connection and forgiveness. As we move from one “to-do” item to another we miss opportunities to connect in meaningful ways with those around us and become blind to the availability of new relationships. Also, busyness is a way to avoid resolving conflict. When the pace of life keeps us hopping from one activity to another it is easier to allow a time gap to numb the sting of a hurt rather than working toward resolution and reconciliation.
One of the ways that worry interrupts rest is that worry tells us that whatever is, it is not enough. Worry tells us that we are not secure enough in our finances, our jobs, our family, our home, our own bodies and we must keep striving to hold it all together. But worry also interferes with connection and forgiveness by holding us back from truly engaging with others in meaningful, authentic and often vulnerable ways.
The last but certainly not the least blocker to connection, rest and forgiveness is resentment. When resentment creeps into our hearts its toxicity corrupts our relationships and our health and robs us of joy and peace. It is not unusual for resentment to provide fuel to keep us striving. While it may push us to reach goals it will rob us of the satisfaction of that success and the rest that achievement can provide. Resentment is the natural result of hurts not forgiven. However, oddly enough holding onto resentment does not just affect our relationship with the person who has hurt us but it contaminates all of our relationships robbing us of true connection with others.
In 2014, out with the old: busyness, worry and resentment! And in with the new: connection, rest and forgiveness! Bring on the New Year!