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For a few years now I've felt really guilty about not making some cool, "I'm giving up soda for the next year" or, "I'm going to work out six days a week--for 52 weeks straight!" promise to myself. The reality of the situation is that if I, Kelsey Kaufman, were to make a resolution like this for an entire year, it would be done mostly out of pride and not necessarily because I really, deep down, actually want to do that, forever. Sure, doing any thing for self-betterment is important and I am by no means trying to knock anybody who makes New Year's Resolutions--heck, good for you! It takes a lot more courage to make one and stick to it, or shoot, tell everybody about it and then not stick to it and have the humility to admit defeat. What I am really trying to get at here is that throughout the course of our lives, we should strive to be better, in fact the best versions of ourselves from the second that alarm goes off (for some of us more than once) in the morning until our head hits the pillow at night. This, in my opinion, is why it is so important to nightly examine our conscience and how we spent our day--what did I do well today? What can I work on to better for tomorrow? Did I treat each person that I came across with the respect and dignity that they deserve?
When you are able to not only set smaller-term, more practical goals but actually follow through with them and at the end of the day say, "Hey, yesterday I wanted to treat my coworkers better and today I followed through by answering their questions politely, not going straight to my office without saying hello, etc"--it will be then that you are ready to start making longer-term goals and for the right reasons. As another opinion, when involving the spiritual life in any facet (e.g. prayer, the sacraments, carrying our own crosses without complaining) these resolutions can either become much, much easier, or a heck of a lot harder. It seems to happen very often (at least to me, I cannot speak for everybody!) that we'll make these really great, non-specific spiritual resolutions for the new year when we haven't even tried doing these things for a month or even a week. With that, for any of you out there who might have been feeling super ambitious about making a 2012 spiritual resolution, keep your goal in mind and break this coming year up into 52 weeks, and them into 366 days (yes, it's a leap year! I'm already excited for 2/29!) so that if one day doesn't go as well as you had hoped, or even one week, there's always the next day, the next week.
This message might seem really basic and "so third grade" but I'm pretty sure that every single time I hear it, I'm reminded of how important it is to not get bogged down and accept defeat when I mess up. Heck, especially for Christians this will never get easier, and as soon as we think it did, it just got a whole lot harder. No joke. With that, I encourage you to keep starting each day with a clean slate and a goal in mind, and when the day ends, examine your conscience and your actions of that day and set a new goal for tomorrow, or better yet, ask Jesus what he desires of you and your tomorrow. It's really tough, and sometimes we get challenges we don't really want, or we'd rather have other people's challenges. This is common. But tough luck! Each of us has our own individual path to follow with its own specific obstacles along the way and if we need help, it is never far off, so long as we ask: Matthew 7:7-11. (<---worth the click!!)
Thank you for all of your support and prayers! For those of you that I didn't get a chance to see while I was at home for Christmas, please send me a line if you have any new prayer requests or if there's anything else I can do. I'll be leaving for Fargo on Thursday, please pray for safe driving weather!