This morning I was reflecting on the concept of New Years resolutions and some of my particular goals for the 2011. For many of us, resolutions focus on variations of the themes to be healthier, work out more, dedicate more time to daily prayer, be more organized, spend less money, etc., etc.
Reflecting on my own resolutions immediately led me to wonder, "How will I know that I am truly making progress in these things in tangible ways?"
I think that when we make sweeping resolutions, we are often tempted to simultaneously create unreasonable standards for ourselves. I know for me, whenever I am attempted to improve in certain areas of my life, my biggest struggle is the temptation to continually compare myself to others and the ways that they are doing these things better than I. In my mind, they are being successful at a, b, and c, and I am just lagging so far behind.
In creating resolutions and goals, it is important to also reflect on our personal view of progress and success in these areas of our lives. For example, in regards to health and fitness, does it mean attaining the body size of the models in J. Crew ads? Or does it mean reaching your ideal weight by eating healthy and exercising regularly, and just plain feeling good?
Is it being able to organize your house to spotless perfection like your next door neighbor? Or is it filing a few piles of clutter away, one at a time?
As I reflected on resolutions and changes that I want to make in my life, I recalled this beautiful quote from Mother Teresa:
"We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful."
This certainly does not negate the importance of setting high standards for ourselves and always seeking continual conversion in many aspects of our life, whether it is spiritual, physical, emotional, or social.
But it takes the bar, which we often set unattainably high, or ridiculously low, and places it exactly where God wants it to be.
Whether we have already failed at our New Years resolutions on the second day of the New Year, or whether we are finding ourselves overwhelmed at the prospect of keeping up with the Jones'...we can remind ourselves that it isn't success in worldly terms that God calls us to. It is simply faithfulness.
So in 2011, will try to be faithful in all of these little aspects of my life. Even though my successes my be small and hidden to the world, I will seek the peace that comes from striving after faithfulness, one day at a time.