I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions, which is probably why it’s February and this post is just now making an appearance.  I don’t buy into the belief that at the beginning of the year we have to make a list of things we want to do more/less/better or change about our lives.  After all, most of those things never actually get done, and I really don’t like that.

However, I do believe that a new year gives us an opportunity to reflect on our life and make decisions to live healthier lives.  Usually I adamantly refuse to make New Year’s resolutions, but this year has been different for me.  2011 involved many changes in my life that were hard, but good, and I am ready for the changes 2012 will hold.

At the beginning of January, God began speaking one word into my life — “simple.”  And, for the past month I have been surrounded by the challenge to streamline my life and live simply.  I feel like God is telling me to remove the clutter from all the areas of my life, and realign myself.  Through this process, I feel like God has also been speaking some different challenges in my life and calling me to become more of the self I was created to be and to be satisfied in that.  It is the process of refinement.

This has sort of culminated for me over the past few days, and yesterday at work a list of things began to flow.  So, these are my life resolutions.  They aren’t just for 2012, but for a new life, a refined life, a simple life.

Streamline my life.

I have so much, and I want to give things away to people who need them.  I don’t want to be caught up in my physical or emotional attachments in such a way that I become greedy.  I want my heart to be rooted in loving and serving people, not my possessions.  I want to live simply so that others can simply live.

Be intentional about encouraging and thanking people.

I fail at this every day.  There are so many people in my life who impact and encourage me, and I want them to know how much they mean to me and how amazing they are.  I tend to be the person who needs encouragement and fails to tell people how much I love them.  I want people to know they have value and are loved.

Get outside of my comfort zone.

I don’t like change.  In fact, change kind of freaks me out.  I get stuck in ruts and so comfortable with what I know that I will never move.  I want to start being intentional about stepping into things that make me uncomfortable.  I often wonder how many amazing things I have missed in my life because I was staying comfortable.

Always say “yes” to spending time with people and building community.

I am naturally a very strong introvert.  I not only find energy in being alone, I enjoy being by myself.  My natural tendency is not to gravitate toward people, but to retreat (which goes back to the comfort zone thing).  Lately, I have always been saying “yes” when someone invites me to do something, even if I had something else to do or it would be easier to stay at home.  By doing this, I have been so blessed to begin building some amazing relationships with some amazing friends.  I never want to refuse this blessing again.

Do important things NOW, because there won’t be a better time.

I have spent the majority of my life living in my future.  I think “well when _________ happens, then I’ll do ____________.”  This is living in a fantasy, and I don’t want to trade my real life for a fantasy.

Be myself instead of who I think I should be or who I think people will like.

It’s only been in the past few years that I have become closer to being comfortable in my own skin.  I have spent the better part of my 20’s trying to be someone I thought I was supposed to be or that I thought people would like, and I failed to be myself.  I want to be myself and be unashamed of who I am, nose ring, gray hair, 72 inches, quirkiness, and all.

Embrace the moments I’m given.

I want to live more presently, instead of in the past or the future.  I posted about this a few months ago, and I have been trying to live this way for a while — living where I am, at this time in my life.

Trust that God will fulfill the desires of my heart.

This is probably the hardest thing for me.  It’s not that I don’t believe my desires align with God’s, I just tend to live in the reality of pain and struggle.  I have a hard time trusting that God will fulfill the desires of my heart, because I have seen so many people not have their deepest desires fulfilled.  I want to rid myself of the doubt that is so pervasive in my heart and believe even when it seems impossible.  I want to live in hope, because without hope, life is empty.