HNY! Reframing Resolutions for 2021

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  - Isaiah 43: 19

December 31st, 2020  was marked by a grandiose charcuterie board and an apple-pie cheesecake with snickerdoodle crust. Aside from the crackling sound of far-away fireworks and a few brief text messages, the celebratory mood was deflated compared to previous years. I’m honestly surprised I even made it to midnight this year. 

putting the ~cute~ in charcuterie, amirite?

The seemingly endless list of heartache (with some exciting developments mixed in, of course) stirred in me this huge desire for 2021 and all the things I assumed would come with it. If the unworn dresses in my closet for the many cancelled weddings last year taught me anything, however, it’s that making big plans is boastful beyond description. We are indeed called to be joyful in hope, but I’m slowly learning to be nourished by daily bread and trust the Lord to provide for tomorrow (after all, He does specifically declare his care for the ravens – hungry, hungry birds, y’all). 

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or rep, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? - Luke 12:24-26

Nothing felt particularly “new” when 2021 entered the chat. I woke up on January 1st and prepared to wear the same floral mask I wore on December 31st, shaken while reading news stories of the continued surge in COVID19 cases. I didn’t feel a magical wind over my head, signaling the end of systemic racism and injustice in this country. Although I was still shivering through a Chicago winter, I know the change in calendar dates hadn’t solved the global climate change crisis. With that being said, I struggled to set goals and intentions for a new year that felt pretty stale to me. The best resolutions I came up with were “survive COVID19 and get married”. But in one particularly fruitful quiet time at the end of last year, as I lounged on cushiony outdoor furniture and massaged my dog’s back with my foot, I was hit with the notion that just as this year will look different,  my resolutions can as well. Out of that was born a color-coded outline,  of which I selected some ideas to share.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

When I started the outline, I asked myself two big questions: “How will I grow closer to God this year?” and “How do I want to be different this year?”. Answering these questions musingly (with fluffy Sammy rolling around under my feet to make sure I didn’t take myself too seriously) allowed me to brainstorm external behaviors that would pull me closer to my ideal internal environment. For example, when answering the question, “How will I get closer to God?”, I realized I want to invest serious effort into being transformed by the renewing of my mind. I struggled (hard)mentally in 2020, and I want to reach a point where I’m not falling slave to every toxic thought that pops into my head. I don’t know about you, but I’m over stress-crying because of overwhelming, fruitless thoughts that don’t line up with what God says about me! I also want to become more others-focused, so I can both share the gospel and live out the selflessness that Christ displayed for us. From that, I came up with the action steps (call them “resolutions” if you must) to stick to a 15 minute bible and prayer time, find a consistent opportunity to serve, and be consistent with memory verses. My verse of the year is below! 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:5

For the second question, I had to take an honest look at where I was at the end of 2020 to envision how I wanted to be different in 2021. I had to do the self work and admit that my “just work harder” attitude did not serve me well last year, and it landed me in a place of anxiety and exhaustion. To avoid the overwhelming meltdowns I experienced in 2020, I resolved to do three things: learn to love myself well (physically, mentally, and emotionally), learn how to properly relax, and to consciously choose joy on a daily basis. If you’re anything like me, you immediately recognize that these are not S.M.A.R.T goals, and you’re cringing like crazy. But hear me out! By applying  these few mindset shifts as an algorithm for my everyday choices, I can obtain the results of the S.MA.R.T goals organically and authentically. For example, if I’m struggling emotionally on  a particularly cloudy day in Chicago winter,  I can choose between my favorite moody playlist (essentially guaranteeing I cry and nap within the hour) or an equally mellow but slightly more uplifting playlist that will allow me to feel my genuine feelings but also ~choose joy~. Likewise, if I have decided to truly Sabbath hard on Sundays but I know I get anxious when my Apple watch reminds me that I’m not meeting my daily calorie goal, I can ~learn how to relax~ by deciding to wear a different watch (aka a dumb watch that only *gasp* tells time) on Sundays. Micro life changes with macro results, amirite? 

These are wild times. I completely understand anyone who decides not to make resolutions this year, or if the only goal is to survive. It’s valid! As 2020 reminded us, we are not in control of our external circumstances much of the time. We can, however, inspire our actions by the internal resolutions we seek. For those who do enjoy setting tangible goals and creating a vision of where we hope to be in a few months or even a year, I hope this peek into my nutty brain will encourage and empower you to think deeply about who you are called to be this year (besides a beloved child of God, duh!) and how to grow into that person. Good luck, and remember that no matter where you are, God is for you every step of the way.  

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has in store for those who love Him.  - 1 Corinthians 2:9
made it to midnight in chilly Chicago! Promptly slept 10 hours after.

2 thoughts on “HNY! Reframing Resolutions for 2021

  1. Raven, you have no idea how much I identified with your thoughts and how much they blessed me. You are transparent, empathetic and encouraging. So glad to have your testimony as a reminder to reset and refocus on God in the midst of the storm. Thank you and please keep these coming. I’m forwarding to my bestie to encourage her too. -Rashida M

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh Rashida! You have no idea how special your kind words are to me!! This is so encouraging, and I’m glad the blog has been blessing you. Miss you, sister! 💞


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