Smoke filled my nostrils and burned my eyes sending my body into fight or flight mode. I tell myself it’s just a campfire, it’s just smoke on this cold wintery night. Yet, here I am filled with fear. I am unlearning, unraveling, undoing the memories and the moments of the last camping trip.
My husband woke me in the middle of the night. Ashen skin and wild eyes; all he could communicate was that he thought it was a heart attack. That night became my worst nightmare as I loaded him and our kids in the truck, racing like Danica Patrick to the nearest hospital. I watched his heart race to 311 beats a minute and I stood in the corner as the ER team shocked his heart back into normal rhythm. This was only the beginning of several ER visits, hospital stays.
The campfire is where it all began but that doesn’t mean every time I smell smoke that my husband is going to die. The smoke blinds my eyes to truth in front of me—therefore it’s time to unlearn. Maybe you feel that way too. Blinded and filled with panic as 2021 is looming bigger on the calendar and 2020 is bullying your soul. Before you flip the calendar, the New Year reminds you of the promises you made last year. And shattered. Big self-improvement promises that were merely dust by Valentine’s Day.
You know the promises:
How you promised to read the entire Bible in a year, how you wouldn’t yell at your kids or husband. How you promised you would make your son use the bathroom instead of the front porch to pee. How you promised yourself you wouldn’t hold it until the last minute to pee. How you would lose the 10 pounds, the muffin top, and run that half marathon.
Or that you would try harder, hustle more, be someone better. But then life’s classroom of hard knocks and soul bullies showed up to remind you, “Who are you kidding? Forget it. Don’t bother, it will never change.” The soul bullies hiss what a looser you are when you raise your voice, have that extra glass of wine, let your bible collect dust and throw your tennis shoes in the closet.
But what if I told you something that could change your New Year’s Resolutions? What if instead of doing, trying and hustling there was something entirely different? What if you chose to unbecome? What if you chose to unlearn, to undo the world’s messages, to untangle the real YOU from the muted, clouded version of yourself in order to find the truest version of you? It’s why we make those resolutions, anyway. We want to be a better version of ourselves.
Like that late wintery evening at the campground, where I unlearned the behavioral responses of fight or flight of the night Chris nearly died camping. We need to unlearn what the world is telling us that will make us happy, better, or true.
Maybe 2021 is a chance to get back to the real you. Maybe this is your chance to untangle your soul from the bullies—the ones who say you need to keep up with the Jones’, look like the chicks from Baywatch, and break the glass ceilings in order to be a better you. My darling, lose the weight if you need to, but don’t do it because of pressure and shame. Turn away from the “self-help” gods we make promises to; look to the Scriptures instead.
There is a better way to be a be a better you. It doesn’t begin with a bunch of worldly, shallow, already set up to be broken self-made promises. The better you is already found in God’s Word but it’s been buried in the lies that hustle-is-better-than-holy life. We don’t need to make become someone else or make resolutions, we need to go back to who we were, to who we are.
It reminds me of my church’s recent renovation. It was time to replace the faded pews and worn floors with better flooring and seating. But we had to undo decades of carpet, wood, and trim. We had to strip the sanctuary bare, right down to the foundation. My darling, mama. Your soul and New Year is in need of the same undoing.
Unbecoming, undoing, unearthing, untangling, unraveling. 2021 is our chance to surrender instead of strive. It’s a chance to undo all the messages of the world in order to bring in the new. Shut down the resolutions and turn to the one thing that will change your soul in the New Year.
In case you aren’t sure how, here are three tips to help you uncover the real you—the best you in the New Year.
Three Ways to Undo the Old & Bring in the New This Year
1. Break up with Busy
The world values busy. In our American culture, moms aren’t valued or desired unless they are busy and productive. Your to-do list becomes the thing that is stressing you out, wearing you thin, and distracting you from what your soul really needs. The busier you get, the more cluttered is your schedule and soul. And the less time you have to actually pee when you need to. Soon you’ll find yourself exhausted, sick, and burned out. Your soul doesn’t need accolades of an overcrowded to-do list. It needs downtime and lots of it. Remember busy is a choice. Stress is a choice. Downtime is also a choice. Choose wisely. Create space in 2021 to allow room for solitude and growth. Redo your daily routine to be fully present in every moment and establish a regular practice of rest. If need be, buy that fancy pants planner you’ve had your eye on and re-organize your schedule and your family’s schedule.
2. Unlearn the Hustle
My darling mama, you don’t need to Hustle to be someone. You matter simply as you are. You don’t need to prove it by throwing big birthday parties for your four-year-old. You don’t need to find that next project. You don’t need to break the glass ceiling either. Hustling is another word for busy, for striving, for cluttering your soul with all the things that take you away from the real YOU. There’s a difference between hustle and holy hustle. Your biggest effort, ambition, focus, drive, and direction is meeting with your God each and every day. Unlearn the world’s definition of success and re-define it in your relationship with God and how he sees you. Success is God’s department, faith is yours.
3. Undo the False You
You are not the number on the scale. You are not the value of how clean your house is. You are not your paycheck. You are not your resolutions. You are not the number of degrees or lack of on your office wall. My darling mama, you are who God says you are. The best practice to undo the layers and messages of this world is meditating on God’s word daily. Carve out time to practice this. Doctors and scientists have proved prayer and meditation promote healing and impact the brain. Find an App or daily devotion or women’s group. Do what you can to dig in!