It’s a New Year and everyone is thinking about their Resolutions.
Instead of giving you a list of suggestions to do for this new year (you know, the usual lose weight, save money, etc.), I’m going to urge you to give up some things instead. These are easy, no-cost options that will make this your best year yet.
Normally giving up is a bad option. It’s associated with being a quitter or not being tenacious. But hear me out. These are things that I struggle with. These are things that you struggle with too. And they are things that are holding us back from living our life to the fullest. The life that God wants to bless us with, but we’re too often focused on these negative aspects instead.
So here are…
7 Things to Give Up This New Year
Too often we gauge our own happiness based on how we compare to those around us, those we see on magazines or movies, or even on our own pasts. Everyone has a different road, but we act like we should be the same or at least, HAVE, the same.
I love the following phrase:
Jealousy comes from counting others’ blessings instead of your own.
It reminds me to be thankful for everything I’ve been BLESSED with. Nothing is a guarantee in life. And the more you focus on all that you have to be thankful for, the less time you have to wish you had more of what someone else has.
And this can be anything… house, clothes, money, electronics, husband/wife, kids, talents, looks, abilities, cars, stuff, etc.
There will always be someone who has more than you. But there will also be someone who has less than you. Don’t waste your energy on Comparison.
At some point in history, advertisers started telling us that we need MORE to be happy. And the sad thing is that we believe them!
Of course, greed has been around even longer than modern ads. In history, we see nations crumble because of greed for power, wealth, women, etc. This goes hand-in-hand with comparison because of wanting to have more.
Having a healthy drive to do well and succeed in life is not wrong, but always double-check your motivation. Am I doing ___ just to have more?
You are enough.
Let me say that again. You. Are. Enough.
Give up insecurity this new year. Insecurity can be crippling. It masks your true worth as seen through God’s eyes.
This is probably my worst trait. Many women, like me, are analytical. We think about how things can be improved. This could be something like the food we make. Whenever I try a new recipe, I’m immediately thinking about ways that I can tweak it to make it better the next time I make it. Not a bad example.
But then I’ll see women who are smarter, prettier, stronger, skinnier, who have more money, more friends, better cars, better hair, better clothes, and so the list goes. And I either become consumed trying to improve myself to impossible standards or become depressed and overwhelmed.
But the thing is that no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you are in life… you are loved beyond any measure of human standard by the very same God who gave you life. There will be more about this topic in a future post, but knowing how much God loves me gives me the confidence to be who He created me to be. The very God who created the universe has a specific purpose for me, using the abilities and talents He’s given me to complete it.
We all can probably name an “Eeyore” in our lives. If you can’t, seriously consider the possibility that it may be you. These are the people whose Facebook posts are constantly about all the bad things in their life.
But like my thoughts on giving up Comparison and Greed, you should look for the blessings in your life. If you focus on the negative, that’s all you’re going to see.
If you want a positive life, you need to think positive, but also look for the positive all around you. This can be in something as simple as a sunrise.
Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.
For some people, pride is about boasting about yourself. For other people, pride is about not allowing yourself to ask for help.
Either way, the opposite of pride is humility, something that should be a staple of your life. Look at yourself through your relationship to God. We are nothing without Him, yet often think that we are fine doing things on our own. But viewing ourselves through the lens of the Creator of the universe who doesn’t need us, but chooses to have a relationship with us anyway, is incredibly humbling.
Acknowledge that the good in your life is a gift from Him. See how there are times we need to allow others to be a blessing in our lives.
Lack of empathy is seen as a root of selfishness. Being selfish is putting yourself first at the expense of others. And both of those sentences make all the difference when looking at selfishness.
There are times when people, Moms especially, struggle with this concept. We are in situations where our families require that they come first, especially with young children. Babies need food, diaper changes, and other needs met as they arise, almost always at the least convenient times. So on the flip-side, many women need to actually work on self-care. We feel selfish when we choose to take a nap when our babies sleep instead of doing housework. Self-care is important and will definitely be discussed in another post.
Selfishness, however, is different. This is considering yourself better than others. It is putting your wants and needs before others. It is focusing on the best for yourself without paying attention to others. These are win-lose situations where you are the winner.
Quite often the means of getting your way will show whether it is selfish or not. Are you manipulating someone or a situation to get your way? Do you need to put someone down to look good?
Instead, look at others the way God does: with love. Take time putting others first and it will become an essential part of your life. Jesus -literally the greatest man to ever live- gave the reminder that “The greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
Many times, the most common way we are selfish is in simple conversations with others. How many times do you interrupt someone? Or focus on what you are going to say to them instead of listening while they are talking? Do you scroll through your phone or are you giving undivided attention?
Oh boy, worry is a tough one for me too. I like to be in control. I like to know what’s going to happen and how it’s gonna go down. I like to be prepared mentally for whatever’s gonna come my way.
And life happens and laughs in my face.
The fact is that we just can’t know or control everything. ESPECIALLY being a military family.
It’s so easy to worry and become anxious over the uncertainties in life. I used to be plagued with anxiety to the point that my health took an ugly turn as a result.
My senior year of high school was when I really noticed it. For some reason, all the Y2K scares affected me in a big way. For all you young’uns, that was when the media was painting Doomsday scenarios because computers weren’t supposed to know that 1999 was turning into 2000. Programmers only used the last 2 digits for years, so 1900 and 2000 was indistinguishable.
Seems kind of silly, but think of all the things that relied on computers and now think of the computers not working correctly. The news was constantly reporting financial ramifications, talks of food and water shortages, as well as scenarios involving nuclear power plants. I mean people were stockpiling food and installing bomb shelters in their back yards. I remember churches talking about it and emphasizing on getting your soul prepared for the end of the world. Everyone was in a frenzy.
I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I started having panic attacks. Even after the clocks kept ticking on January 1st, 2000, I started thinking about graduating from high school and facing all the unknowns of entering the adult world. Every day brought another Y2K crisis for myself. And it snowballed. The more I focused on what was out of my control, the more I spun out of control.
Life is full of uncertainties, but as the cliché goes, I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Casting all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.
Yeah, I think it’s pretty clear God has something to say about worry.
So in this New Year of 2017, I encourage you to join me in resolving to Give Up: