Working With What I've Got

I don't think I'm any different than anyone else when I say that I felt more than a little stressed about setting goals for myself at the-end-of-2011-going-into-2012. I never think of them as “New Year's resolutions” simply because the connotation in my head for resolutions is their inevitable and swift demise; what Mary Poppin's describes as “pie-crust-promises: easily made, easily broken”. But there's actually nothing inherently wrong with a resolution since it literally means, “a firm decision to do or not to do something”, which is actually what I think of a goal being. So, apparently calling it a goal or a resolution is just semantics.

But I digress...

I felt stress making resolutions for 2012. It's not news here that I try to approach life within the balance of changing what isn't wholly beneficial while accepting imperfections as part of living. But when I stared the clean slate of 2012 in the face and tried to think of how to make it somehow better or more – or even less imperfect, perhaps? - than 2011, I just felt discouraged. That's it, discouraged; completely without courage to formulate the formula for improvement. If I knew how to bring about the positive change that would be my goal for 2012, wouldn't I have done it in 2011? Who would I be kidding if I said 2012 would be any different? All the same shortcomings and deficits in my person that had existed in the last one would still come into a new year.  Staring at the yet-to-be-discovered year of 2012, all I saw was the stuff that I failed at in 2011.

Le sigh. No wonder I felt stress.

I definitely think that part of what I like to call “reflecting rightly” requires looking at the fullness of things; discerning the good and the bad, the whole truth of a thing or person or situation. But on occasion that assessing looks less like discernment and more like harsh judgment, and never more so than towards myself. In contemplating what my goals would be for 2012, it seemed every failed goal of 2011 - each financial woe, all relational conflicts, the glaring behavioral flaws of myself or the kids I parent - was all I could see. And though I knew that all the wrongs of 2011 did not, could not, rest squarely on my shoulders, somehow the weight of them seemed to. The awareness of my faults – and the gross magnification thereof – lured me into feeling like the sole proprietor of the Little Shop of Shortfalls.

But then I snapped out of it. THEN, I reflected rightly...

I got to thinking – instead of feeling, for pete's sake – about it all. 2011 was a good year, like all of our years are. It had great stuff in it, like all of our years do. It had crap in it, like all of our years do. I did awesome and stunk it up, like I always do.

Get over it. Get up. Fail forward.

A year or so ago, the prince among men that is my father, gave us kidlets and kidlets-in-law a book called StrengthsFinder. Though its novelty should not be so, it is a hugely unique and innovative tool for approaching goal-setting and life-living. What is so different about it is that it starts from the place of your strengths and builds on them.

Rather than putting a magnifying glass to my faults and flaws, why not start at the places that are strong? In fact what if the things I am good at, the places of my strength, were allowed to overshadow the weaknesses? What if the strengths were given such support and reinforcement that they became strong enough to improve or diminish or eradicate the failings? What if I believed that this non-cookie-cutter, unique, one-of-a-kind person I am was created by God on purpose to be just that . . . me?

I believe in a three-personed God. I believe in God the Father. I believe in Jesus. I believe in the Holy Spirit. And I believe that I need this triune God to help me every step of the way. I know there is a supernatural needed in my natural. But I have to stop refusing to see that the person He so meticulously and intricately and thoroughly created me as was done by Him intentionally, with a wealth of strengths He wants to build up and build on.

Now that is a resolution: to stop starting from my weaknesses and to begin starting from my God-given strengths. It's different. In fact, it is a paradigm shift. But apparently, my top strength tested out as being adaptability, so that should help.

So let's get crackin' . . .


  1. I love it when you blog.

  2. And I think you are ridiculously awesome.

  3. I love it when you say that.

  4. Oh, friend. The tears they are a-flowin' up here in Memphis. So on time. So needed. You are loved and appreciated in your honesty.

  5. Your blogs never disappoint and always challenge! So glad you've got that blogging feeling again!

  6. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made! Hope this is the greatest of years for you to live within your 'strengths'. I love you, Blondie.


  7. Forget the mush. I'm coming to your house to steal that mug.
    ps Do you know my last job used "Strengths" with every. single. student. on campus?

  8. Anonymous1:58:00 PM

    very well said pretty lady! I love you chop! ~A


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