Happy new year!
(Have you noticed yet that it’s been nearly two months since I wrote anything on here? Should I give the usual excuses? Can we just gloss over it please? Thank you. Ahem.)
One of the most helpful things about blogging, now I’ve been doing it for 18 months or so, is that it acts like a kind of diary of what’s been going on in my head. I’ve just been re-reading the posts I wrote last Advent/Christmas/New Year, and it’s helped me to understand just how much God has done in our lives in the last 12 months. There’s an exciting story to come on this blog at some point during 2014 – but unfortunately it can’t be shared just yet. Those of you closest to me will know most of it, and some of you will have read it in the press. That’s a fraction of the story, but there’s a lot more to come. Ooh, now I’ve written that, I can’t wait to tell you!
But back to the New Year and all that. At the start of 2013, I resolved to make it a year of celebration. It was the first time that my resolution had been so open-ended and, I have to say, it worked a treat! It’s great to have resolutions, great to want to make positive changes in our lives, but the future is unknown, and any resolution kind of needs to take account of that if it’s going to be successful. Resolving to live a more celebratory lifestyle could have had many different end-results, depending on how our year went. As I look back, I’ve realised that the main way last year was more celebratory for us was that we made an effort to cook up a roast each Sunday, and invite different people to share it with us – some close friends, some people we hardly knew, and anyone in between! It’s become a family tradition now, something I know we’ll continue into 2014 and beyond. And of course there were other celebrations: celebrating God’s provision in Sabbath week, preparing parties to celebrate the kids’ birthdays, and celebrating this beautiful city I’m privileged to inhabit. I had no idea that the year would involve such unexpected happenings, but my resolve to celebrate through it all gave a kind of anchor to the ups and downs of the year.
This year, I’m going for a similarly open-ended resolution: I’m resolving to shed the guilt.
This needs some explaining. Guilt often gets a bad press, and I’m keen to point out that it can lead to positive things. Guilt is the way our conscience tells us when something’s not right, when something needs to be altered in our lives. But, more often than not, guilt enslaves us, strangling us to the point of gasping for contentment and life in all its fullness. It has the opposite effect of causing positive change – it causes negativity, as we not only fail to address the specific issue, but feel absolutely rubbish about it too. This year, I want to stop letting guilt take hold of me:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
I suppose I want to learn to follow more the law of the Spirit, and less the law of myself, which sets stupidly unrealistic standards, and then feels guilty for not meeting them.
I want to stop feeling guilty for shopping at Tesco, letting my kids watch TV, not doing any cleaning ever, sending my kids to preschool, not having a paid job, buying ready meals, patronizing Amazon, spending money on crafts, writing a blog, not writing anything on my blog, and oh the list goes on.
Do any of you feel the same? Do you have your own list? I pray 2014 can be a releasing year for us all!