If you are like me, you stayed in last night. You were in bed by 10pm, and up again at 6am (ah…toddlers). Now you are already on coffee cup numero dos, and sorting through various vows for the new year.
I’ve been tossing around a huge range of resolutions these past few months. The problem is, there are just so many things that I need to do better. Once I start a list of them, I just get … exhausted.
Diet, nutrition, working out, spending less, getting rid of clutter, reaching out more, being more organized, taking less offense, communicating better, no more Splenda and for sure no trans-fats…those are just sort of always in the hopper.
The one thing I keep coming back to this year is the idea of “Story.”
Donald Miller writes about “living a great story.” And I find his work really inspiring. I do think we need to live a great story – to make sure we’re living to the fullest.
But my problem, friends, is not the story I am living. It is the story I tell myself.
(And my stories are on repeat… so if the story I’m telling isn’t good, it’s not just a minor problem.)
This year I’m only making one resolution. Just one. I’m going to tell myself a better story.
How’s that? Here’s what I’ve recently realized. I have editorial control over what I tell myself is going on in my life. I can spin things for myself!
I can spend an entire day mired down in insecurity, telling myself all about the depressing and the mundane, or I can spend the day in strength, talking to myself about the amazing and the wonderful. I can spend five minutes nursing anger and frustration, or I can spend five minutes listing out all the things for which I am incredibly grateful. I can say “oh, I’m so terrible at that,” or I can say “oh, that’s a new found passion of mine!”
Here’s an example I’ve mentioned before, but it’s still kind of embarrassing to admit. I’ve never been confident in my interior decorating abilities. We didn’t have much money growing up, so we didn’t redecorate our house. Our furniture was just our furniture, and the few things that hung on the walls just sort of stayed there.
Then several people very close to me in my 20’s critiqued and/or ridiculed my house décor and furniture choices. Every time I saw them, this happened. Since all of three of these people had fabulous taste (if not kindness and generosity of spirit), I’ve stuck with their narrative in all the years since. As Stasi Eldredge would say, I made a pact of agreement with those value judgments, and vowed to keep it.
Now that we are raising a family, and creating a home for our children to grow up in, I am struggling against that story. Also, our house is really looking quite lovely these days. I need to change the story. It’s time.
Sometimes I think it’s worth telling oneself a story that may not be true quite yet.
“I am an athlete.” “I have beautiful taste.” “I love healthy foods.” “I am very much worth it.”
With the idea that the more we tell ourselves the story, the closer it comes to being true.
So, on this first day of the year, I’m going to start telling myself a new story. I’ve decided to model it after the so-called “Wife of Noble Character.” (She’s described in the Bible’s book of Proverbs, and oft-quoted in the church world. She’s pretty much Superwoman.)
Here it is below. But I’ve updated it. Just a tad.
A wife of noble character who can find?
She’s worth far more than a booming, post-IPO tech company.
Her husband totally trusts her;
and justifiably so, as all his bases are covered.
She routinely fills up his love tank, speaking his love languages fluently,
each and every day.
She manages deals and read contracts carefully,
negotiating for her clients with vigor and determination.
She is like Whole Foods,
filling her family’s cabinets and fridge with healthy foods.
She gets up before Starbucks is even open;
she provides healthy, balanced, organic meals for her family
and always makes sure the babysitter has food to eat too.
She invests in Microsoft;
out of her earnings she puts a down payment down on a house.
She maintains her healthy weight and energy;
her body is lean, Pilates style.
She sees that she performs well at her job,
and works after the kids have gone to bed (after taking time in the evening for the ever-important bath time, family dinner, and story time).
Close at hand she has her laptop
for answering important emails in a timely way.
She volunteers with Hope for LA
and doesn’t roll her eyes at the city’s homeless, but instead hands out care packages.
When the weather shifts, she doesn’t do last minute, expensive purchases;
for she has ordered online in advance from Gap Kids during their 40% off Friends & Family Sale (including these super cute, tiny, down vests).
She orders great linens from a flash sale at One Kings Lane;
she is clothed in designer clothing she found at Loehmann’s.
Her husband is one whom other men take seriously,
they give him respect as they see his great marriage, and how his wife treats him.
She has a small business on the side,
and makes money for family vacations by being entrepreneurial.
She is strong and dignified;
she is confident and secure in her future.
She is wise, serene,
and she focuses on giving good advice, not spreading gossip.
She is an attuned wife and mother,
and runs at each day with determination and grace.
Her children are grateful to her, even willing to friend her on Facebook;
her husband also blogs about her on the Huffington Post:
“There are a lot of women whom we all admire,
but you are really above and beyond.”
Flattering others can backfire, and our culture thinks we are “too old” at 30;
but a woman who really, truly loves and follows God has got it made.
Give a woman like this, who is balancing it all somehow, some respect,
and let her get a shout out from time to time, so she knows she is doing ok.
Happy 2013! What will your story this year be?