Every year around this time, I go on facebook and read my friends’ posts about the year that has just ended and the upcoming year. There’s usually a good mix between the “this year was great, can’t wait for the next one” and the “this year was the worst and I can’t wait for it to be over.” It’s a good reminder that not everyone has had the same life as I have experienced this year and also that I need to check in on my friends more often.
Another thing that we all tend to see this time of year are resolutions. Things that people are going to change this year or are trying to improve about themselves or their lives. I usually love these. I am an organizer, planner, to-do list kind of person. However, I needed a change. This year, instead of writing a list of things that I’m going to do better, do for the first time or do more consistently, I wrote a list of things that I will not do.
My “Do Not Do” List for 2019:
1. I will not apologize for crying. I stifled my emotions all through middle school, high school, and college. The older I became, the more it caught up with me. Then after having Selah it really got difficult to stop the tears when they got caught in my throat. Crying is not a sign of weakness. It is not a sign of an emotional wreck. It does not mean that I am moody and am being childish. Being able to be vulnerable emotionally is really hard for me, but I also have begun to understand how important it is that I allow myself to feel all the feelings. So, this year, if I’m watching a bathroom tissue commercial, laughing at Selah, driving and listening to music, sitting in church, reading a book, talking to a friend, and I start to cry… not only will I not stop myself, but I’m not going to apologize for doing it. My heart needs it. My body needs it. And I will not be ashamed of being an emotionally vulnerable person.
2. I will not sacrifice my sleep and health to stay up and watch one more Netflix episode or read one more chapter of a book. If I need sleep, I will allow myself to have it.
3. If I fail at #2, I will not get down on myself. I will try again the next day.
4. I will not give myself mommy guilt for not being with Selah 24/7. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s unhealthy. My child is happy and healthy. I love her the best way I know how. She is fed and cared for by so many people in her life, including me.
5. I will not judge myself based on my physical appearance, but rather… how have I reached someone today? How have I been a good mother, wife, daughter, friend, sister today? Have I been kind today?
6. I will. Not. Compare. Myself. To. Others. My worth is not in how I stand up to others.
7. I will not be made to feel guilty for who I am with my students. Each teacher is different. Each of us have our own method and I refuse to feel like I’m doing something wrong, just because my way is different. If I’m doing something wrong, the students will tell me. They will stop enjoying class. They will stop caring. If I’m doing something wrong, their attitudes will show it. If I’m doing something wrong, they will stop working hard for me. If I’m doing something wrong, they will stop coming to see me before they leave at the end of the day. If I’m doing something wrong, they won’t say hello to me in the hallways when we pass each other. Middle schoolers are good that way. If I’m not doing something right… I’ll know.
I will not be anyone, but who I am called to be and when I fail, I will start over the next day on a clean fresh slate, because there is unending mercy waiting for me.