Settling down after the holidays has never felt more truly settling than this year. Even though the pandemic meant we weren’t nearly as busy as we would have normally been during the holidays, returning to routine and the warmth of home feels incredibly comforting. Even just reducing the “hurry” in our day-to-day is a beautiful thing in itself. Earlier this year I read John Mark Comer’s book “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” and it totally touches on this subject from a spiritual perspective as well. We were not designed to be running around all the time (as weird as that feels in the eyes of the world!).
If you’re reading this, I hope you had a lovely Christmas and/or holiday season. Jarod and I spent time with family and it was great to still be able to carry on certain traditions, even if they looked a little bit different. It snowed all day Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which really might just have been the best Christmas gift we could have received. Christmas morning I whipped up some delicious homemade cinnamon rolls for the first time ever and oh. my. WORD. They were indulgent and gooey and all the things you dream a cinnamon roll could be. Brought me back to the few times I was lucky enough to snag some Cinnabun at the mall as a kid. I think we might have started a new tradition here in the Wolters family! Jarod also made some yummy lattes for us to drink as we savored opening up our Christmas gifts just the two of us.
Looking ahead to 2021 feels strange and yet good. In my head, I can’t quite comprehend that the year is 2021; it almost sounds like we’re in the Jetsons or something (just looked it up and the show is set in 2062, which isn’t too far away!). It’s kind of like how I keep forgetting I’m 24 years old now. This weekend my brother told me in his eyes I’ll be forever 21; sometimes with the hobbies I enjoy I feel 30+, haha! But I’m thankful for my 24 years and anticipating what this next year will bring.
My word for 2021 is discipline. It can sound like a big and threatening word sometimes, but there are several definitions for the word as it can take on a variety of meanings. Here are some of the definitions I’ve found that I quite like:
- orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
- activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill
This year, as I’ve spent more time with myself than ever before, time in quiet and sometimes mundane routines, I’ve learned a lot about myself and recognized how I operate. Not only that but, as a newlywed, I’ve learned about my own strengths and weaknesses in partnership. In 2021 I want discipline to be my guide: choosing the high road when it would be easy to take the low blow, taking a step back to assess a situation before diving in, continuing to care for my physical self both through proper exercise and proper fuel/food, allowing space and time for true emotions to rise to the surface and heated moments to fall away.
I love that “self-control” is a synonym for discipline. In the Bible it’s one of the well-known fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These fruits are the ways in which we can know the Holy Spirit is in us and working through us. They are ways we can exhibit love to others. And because self-control is a fruit of the spirit, we can be encouraged by the fact that the Holy Spirit helps anyone exhibit self-control when our own spirit is lacking, bogged down by our humanity.
Another reason I feel particularly drawn to discipline? Our world often forgoes it. Yes, many are praised for sticking to a plan or putting in work over years and years to produce an outcome, but many people don’t want to put in the work to see any sort of results. This world boasts of shortcuts. I’m sure even just thinking of the word “diet” will help bring to mind a plethora of examples for you. We love things fast and we want things now. Not that this is always a bad thing; I myself also have room to grow in patience, so many of the quick options our world offers end up being nice luxuries for someone like me. But when it comes to how I take care of myself and how I treat others, I don’t want a shortcut. I’ve burnt out my fuse one too many times. I don’t deserve that and neither do the ones I love.
So here I am, declaring DISCIPLINE over my next year of life. Will I fail? Sometimes. The beauty is that I’m reaching towards improved practice, not a tangible result. The result I’m looking for is a true head and heart change, a change that overflows into my actions and words. That’s a result that only the Lord and I can truly know, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.
I’d love to hear if you have any goals or aspirations for 2021, whether it’s high-level or super specific. There’s something really special about hoping and dreaming about what’s to come. I hope you can find joy in visualizing what could be.