When I first posted about my decision to focus the year of 2013 on learning and practicing the art of giving, one of my readers and fellow bloggers (with a darn awesome blog whose content is close to my heart), Levi Clampitt, wrote in and said: “Giving: The #1 Depression Cure. It should be a pretty happy year for you, Bethany.”
For some reason, this really struck me. When I read the first line, I thought, “oh, cool.” But I didn’t think beyond that first phrase until I got to the second: “it should be a pretty happy year for you.” Glad he connected the dots for me, as I sure didn’t at first.
Something about those words stirred inside of me, as I felt their truth. “It should be a pretty happy year for you.” And I imagined the possibilities of my year if I really pursue this giving thing throughout the whole year. For the truth of these words goes only so far as I put the learning and practice of giving into action.
How to Keep a Resolution: Receive It As a Gift
As I imagined the possibilities, I had the distinct idea that my resolution was a gift.
Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you had been given a gift, a most awesome gift, and you looked at the package it was in and imagined this gift as a key to “the next door”? All you had to do was open the package, take the key and unlock that door, but unless you opened the package and used the key, that gift was useless.
When we create resolutions, what we are doing is nodding in agreement, accepting and making a pact with ourselves that we are going to change something in our lives. I suggest that a resolution comes to you from the future you. The future you says, “here. This is what you need to concentrate on right now. You can do it, or else I wouldn’t be here, giving this to you. All you have to do is open this gift (the resolution), and use the key that’s inside.”
The act of unwrapping that gift and using the key can be a slow and arduous one. I suggest that the “unwrapping” is the learning, which can be a combination of actual book learning, research, etc. as well as practicing (for we learn when and as we practice). At some point, the act of practicing turns into “doing” and it is at this point that we are, in essence, turning that key to “the next door” in the journey of our lives.
Keep Your Resolution: Imagine With Me
Now, I want you to think about a resolution you made for this year, or that you made last year, but dropped. Chances are, it was a resolution that would help to make you a better person, or get you to a place you would rather be. Now, as you are thinking of your resolution, imagine that it is “inside” a package–all wrapped up. Now look at the person holding that package–the you, deep down inside of you who nudged you to think about making this thing your resolution. Nobody knows you more than that person. And what you thought was a simple resolution, one that you could ignore in a few weeks, is really a beautiful gift that your future you is trying to get you to receive.
I challenge you to receive it with much gratitude. And if you haven’t already begun to open it with the act of learning and practicing, then do so. And learn and practice that resolution, learn and practice until you move beyond the practice and are “doing” that resolution, and you realize you have opened the gift, and used the key.
When I feel the joy of receiving a gift, my heart nudges me to join creation’s ballet, the airy dance of giving and receiving, and getting and giving again –Lewis Smedes.