Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anguish

It's that time of year to look back and wonder where all the time went. My family sent out a collage of pictures for our Christmas card this year, and as we went through our pictures we couldn't believe all that we did this year. No wonder it went so fast. Yet at the same time, I look at my daughter who turned three a couple of months ago and my son, who turns 6 in a week, and I still want to picture them as a newborn and a toddler. Other parents tell me how fast they grow up while they stand beside their teenagers. I guess I was hoping this phase would last longer.

As time has flown on by, it's also time to look back on the resolutions you didn't keep. "I could've done that one if only..." Where did the time, and our goals, go? My job also just had performance reviews. Another chance to look back at opportunities lost or goals not achieved.

Maybe that's not you. Maybe you can look back at your year satisfied at all that happened and in accomplishing all you strove out to do. But chances are, there is still some regret. At least one thing that you didn't do that you wanted to, or did do that you didn't.

So we look ahead to next year. What should we resolve? What should we strive to achieve? Where should we plan to go? If you look back at this past year thinking failure, there's added pressure to make up for it next year. If you look back with contentment, you may feel challenged to even come up with any goals for the coming year. For me, it's like a personal Bible study. Once I finish, I struggle coming up with "what's next."

Either way, we place pressure upon ourselves. We may linger in our regret, or we may be afraid of the future. We may feel pressured to improve our health, our finances, our spirituality. We may have a monkey on our back we want to rid ourselves of, but then comes the follow up question of "how?". Maybe we look ahead and see open doors of opportunity, but are afraid of what's on the other side.

Pressure. Regret. Fear. Anguish.

Interestingly, an antonym of anguish is assurance whose synonyms are goals, hope, promise. At this time of year, the future is before us filled with hope and promise. But our reaction is literally the opposite. Why is that? Is it because our faith is weak? Do we lack in prayer? Do we forget our Creator who "satisfies our desires with good things" (Psalm 103:5)? Or maybe it just because we're too focused on ourselves.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)

This post is part of a Blog Carnival on the topic of Reflection. Visit Peter Pollock's blog to read more.

6 comments:

Lisa notes... said...

I tend to get too anxious when I think about all that I didn't get done and how much is left to do. It's not the way I want to be though. I'm praying for a new year of resting in God's peace, regardless of what I get done or don't. Thanks for your words.

Mercedes said...

I wrote about a similar subject only days ago. If you have time to read it, let me know if it blesses you.

Mercedes

nance marie said...

i bought a monthly weekly planner the other day for 2011. (that is the first time i typed 2011) now should i say twenty eleven or two thousand eleven? i used two thousand and ten this year and think i will switch it up and use twenty eleven this year.

i don't remember little ideas if i have not written them down. so i figure maybe the planner might be a good place to gather all those ideas and see what happens.

something about taking a pen in hand and writing the words onto paper helps my brain take it in better.

what is on your mind?
is a good question for me to be asking myself.

Fatha Frank said...

@Lisa, Peace that surpasses understanding. That's a continual prayer of mine. Maybe I should consider workiing that into my resolutions.

@Mercedes, thanks for stopping by! I was thinking about you the other day to be honest, how I haven't been by your blog recently, so thank you for the reminder. I checked out your post and commented. I'm taking these thoughts in a different direction though... stay tuned. :)

@Nance, I joined the iPhone club a year ago. The biggest thing that has done has helped me be (a little) more organized. I can take voice memos, make to do lists, and check sermon notes at any time, on the fly. That has made a huge difference for me. But my many notes of random thoughts that I hope to translate here is getting awfully long!

nance marie said...

i would love to get a gander at that random note collection :-)

A Joyful Noise said...

Thank you for a terrific post. “Could've and should've,” does cause us anguish, you’re your post gave us hope for new beginnings and for peace instead of distress. We live with contrasts/ May you be blessed in your new endeavors for 2011 as you minister and love your family and others near by and close to you.