So here’s the thing – I don’t typically do resolutions. Or pick one word for the new year.
I clean my house. I try to arrange some kind of order back into the medicine closet. I sort through my daughter’s clothes and tidy her room. I make the boys get rid of the junk that’s accumulated under their beds.
I clean out the fridge.
I guess I’m not really a one word kind of girl. My husband can testify to that. I like ALL the words. And I use a lot of them on a daily basis.
So when I was thinking about this next year and all of us wondering and worrying what it might hold, a whole lot of words tumbled out of me. Feel free to take the ones that speak to you as your own, friends. Because you are dearly loved here and I can’t believe we’re starting year seven of our time together.
OK, here you go –
The only New Year’s Resolutions that I think are actually worth making. Repeat after me:
1. I will practice only speaking words that make souls stronger.
That goes for me, my kids, my marriage, my family, the neighbor kid who picks on my son and the annoying person in the checkout line who is holding everything up. My words matter and I want to treat them accordingly – with an awareness of the weight of their impact. I don’t want my words to crash into someone else’s life and leave a bruise. I want them to build beautiful things – to make souls stronger as Ann Voskamp says. This includes how I talk about myself. So repeat after me, “This year I won’t mutter mean things to myself.”
2. I will worry more about the weight of my impact on the world than the weight of my body on the scale.
I turned 40 this year and I’m more aware of that scale than ever before. I also started running this year because my nine-year-old invited me to join him. But still the scale fluctuates. I’m trying not to let my opinion of myself be tied to that scale. Today I went out to lunch with that same nine-year-old and asked him to share three things he liked about me – and I shared three things I liked about him.
(If you’re following me here on Instagram I share some of these stories over there).
He started to say that I was pretty and then he caught himself and clarified, “What I mean is that I like that you’re kind, mom. I mean, how you help people. Like how you picked up that sippy cup and put it back on the stroller when no one was looking.”
The imprint you leave on this world will always be on the lives of the people around you. The scale won’t remember you. It won’t tell stories about you or laugh at your jokes. It won’t hold your hand as you window shop at Target or laugh your way through a Mr. Bean video.
Your weight will always matter more in relationships than it does in numbers. I promise.
3. I will remember that my temper is not the boss of me, the Holy Spirit is.
If you’ve been reading here for any length of time at all you will know that taming my temper has been one of the hardest and most unexpected elements of parenting for me. But I’m learning that temper is not an incurable disease, it’s a treatable condition and I’m treating it hard and with determined grace and frequent time outs (my own). I also discovered 10 things to do differently before I lose my temper and they are making a crazy difference.
4. In a culture of mommy wars I will choose encouragement over comparison.
What if her choices didn’t offend mine?
What if we actually accepted Jesus’ dare to, “Love one another. As I have loved you.”? What would that look like? To love another mother rather than whipping out our measuring sticks and insecurities?
Instead of judging with raised eyebrows, pursed lips and hands on hips, what if we focused on being the kind of neighbor everyone would want in the motherhood. These winding, confusing streets that are desperate for good Samaritans willing to treat the lost, aching, broken, confused mothers kindly.
We can be hard as perfectly manicured nails on one another. What if we instead we really did, “Go and do the same,” as Jesus commanded? What if we offered each other grace instead of guilt — and that included ourselves – the ones we sometimes beat up the worst with the mommy guilt.
What if we held up each others’s tired arms and simply said, “Me too.”
5. I will quit calling myself, “just” a mom.
“Just a mom” doesn’t ride out the storm with her own arms as the sails and her words as the bucket that bails water out when everyone thinks they’re sinking.
“Just a mom” doesn’t always make room for one more around the table.
“Just a mom” doesn’t wake up at 1am and remember that soccer jersey that hasn’t been moved to the dryer yet.
“Just a mom” doesn’t say “no” and stick to it. “Just a mom” doesn’t say “yes” and wildly believe it.
You save lives on a daily basis. This is a fact. And this year you changed the lives of 250 orphans and vulnerable kids in South Africa. One blog post, one reader, one $25 donation at a time.
You provided moms a world away with a water point and laundry center, a source of food as well as sustainable income, a safe playground for their kids and a community center.
Kingdom business. Jesus work. This shaping of souls. This raising tiny humans.
There are those that say that this is ordinary. Don’t buy that for a second.
Mighty. You are mighty, because you mother.
Hold tight to those tattered words as we go into this new year friends. And with the other hand hold even tighter onto the Father God who is already there.
Mad love to you all – thank you for sharing the wild wonder of this roller coaster of a year with me.
PS: If you’re not already subscribed to my email list, why not make that one of your resolutions too, eh? I’m going to be sending special updates, the occasional newsy note, and early-bird peeks into fun new plans to that list of readers first.
It’s easy – -> Just enter your email in the box below & as a bonus you’ll also receive my free eBook, The Cheerleader for Tired Moms.
Yes. Yes. Yes. (etc)
Good stuff Lisa-Jo… all of it. Even though they aren’t resolutions or one words, it’s still a list of REALLY good habits and things to remember (and DO)!
LOVE: “Hold tight to those tattered words as we go into this new year friends. And with the other hand hold even tighter onto the Father God who is already there.”
Kudos to you! And Happy New Year!!
Grateful for you and the consistent voice of encouragement you are in my head, Marina. Happy New Year friend.
I just love you, Lisa-Jo Baker. Happy New Year to a dear friend. You truly shine!
Right back at you – let’s be neighbors one day, eh?
Lisa-Jo, these are wonderful. #1 and 2 are for me. I want to strengthen souls by words that do just that and be weighed by my impact and quit…QUIT…with a capital Q…weighing and judging myself by some numbers on a scale or how I think I look or don’t look. Thank you, sweet girl, for this. I needed it.
Caring through Christ, ~ linda
Yes, yes, yes to ALL of it.
I’m not one for resolutions either, but I’m hoping to throw open my front door more often and gather more around my table and say “me too” far more often. Thanks for the encouragement. LOVE this blog.
Thank you for being the encourager you are, Lisa!
My mind was blank as I drove to the gym earlier today.. Thinking about “resolutions”… Your words really touched my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Just this!!! :) I love it!
Sometimes we feel such pressure to do what everyone else is doing. Trying to decipher and grasp that one word for the upcoming year can make one a bit panicky (ok, maybe just me?) ;)
I truly appreciate your words, your advice, your candor. Many blessings to you this new year!
This year I made a list of changes to gradually implement rather than goals to try and fail at. I’ve been thinking some of the same things you mention, particularly words and how I look at myself as a mom.
In addition, I added crying out to God more quickly and trusting him to respond rather than choosing to feel alone and overwhelmed.
Your writing ministers so much to my tired Momma heart. Thank you.
Thank you for your words and the vision you share. It’s crazy – feeling as though you know someone whom you’ve never even met. That’s how I feel when I read your words on the page. I may never get to meet you in person in my life, but I do know you (though it’d be pretty rad to meet you in person and hang out and laugh and what-not). And I thank you for boldly showing you with each post, for always choosing encouragement, and for giving me inspiration with each new email that arrives in my inbox. I look forward to knowing you more through life as you write all sorts of new pieces that I’ll be sure to follow.
Love this post! Especially as moms, we always seem to feel the need to do it all, even though that’s not possible. What you said here just really spoke to me —> “Kingdom business. Jesus work. This shaping of souls. This raising tiny humans.” Happy New Year Lisa-Jo :)
EEeeee! The whole “one word for the new year” is big enough that it’s mentioned on your blog! I don’t have to explain it anymore! eee!
A customer of mine told me that she and her daughter did one word for the new year years ago, and that’s what I’ve been doing since. This is the first I’ve seen it mentioned anywhere else — and on your blog! Yay!
Okay, I’ll stop being a dork now.
I loved your list, and the way you described it. Those aren’t just “resolutions” for a new year, they’re resolutions for good living. Remembering to use life-giving words, to let the Holy Spirit be the boss of us, to encourage others and ourselves….it’s all tracks for good, good living. (Yes, I made a train analogy, yes, we have boys in the house!)
This was wonderfully written as always. Thank you for sharing this with us as always!