If ever there is a good time to seriously consider your life and how you might live it more purposefully, it’s the New Year. But sometimes I feel anxious around this time of year, especially this year. The last few months of 2013 have kicked me in the gut and while I’m ready for a new year.. I’m also completely unprepared for a new year.
The reality is, whether 2014 is marked by high-fives or facepalms, belly laughs or choking sobs, all of it will be lived out under the umbrella of amazing grace. I will laugh, think, swear, apologize, entertain, cry, sleep, whine, worship, fail, succeed, accomplish, dream, doubt, inspire, and love this year. It won’t be perfect but if all the preceding years tell us anything, it will be life-changing.
Yet lasting life change doesn’t usually manifest itself in the sparkly and bright wishes for a prosperous, healthy, and comfortable new year. In my experience, change is usually difficult and almost always uncomfortable. Even when it’s good! Like getting married, for example. The wedding planning can be a bear but the day-in day-out of being married and slogging through hard times together etc.. that’s really really hard sometimes. John and I have experienced many uncomfortable growing pains in our relationship this year, but those growing pains have served to carve out more room for a deeper love and a sweeter friendship.
At times, this year will likely be a mess. If at some point during 2014 you don’t feel a little bit uncomfortable I would propose that you aren’t exhausting the year of it’s potential, because you aren’t discovering your own! There’s always more to a person and it exists just beyond their comfort zone. I know that few people will start this New Year and think, “I’m resolved to be uncomfortable!”
But what if we were?
Being unemployed is uncomfortable (don’t misunderstand me, I’m not resolving to remain unemployed!). Social situations and small talk make my palms sweat because people want to know “What you do” and I’d just rather not talk about it. It’s uncomfortable. But it’s also been really humbling and eye-opening for me. Sure, I get a front row seat to my insecurities (Yes! Best seat EVER) but I also get a front row seat to the grace of God, the kindness of friends, and the power of prayer.
I’ve also noticed that being uncomfortable in a circumstance for long enough eventually leads to an expanded comfort zone. Sooner or later, we’ll stop being uncomfortable in that situation and another opportunity will arise to take us one step further. And another. And another. Until we look around and think, “WOW. My world has gotten so much bigger and fuller and harder and sweeter… because I chose to step outside of it.”
This year, if you make resolutions, why not throw in an uncomfortable one? Maybe there’s a relationship that needs reconciling, a career change that’s long overdue, or one dream that you’ve thought about a million times but are too scared to even begin moving towards.
I have a handful of resolutions this year and some of them start right outside my comfort zone.
This one, for example:
I resolve to perform again. Somewhere, somehow. Be it theater, dance, or music — it’s time to enjoy the stage again.
I am an entertainer at heart but I am scared out of mind to put myself out there, guys. I don’t know if it means walking into a dance studio and letting other people see my shaky arabesques and wobbly pique turns, or if it’s auditioning for a local theater production and just doing it because I love it, whether I get a part or not.
2014’s gonna be uncomfortable and I’m just gonna embrace it.
Will you join me? Let’s make our comfort zones just a little wider this year. It’ll be more fun if we can laugh at ourselves together. 😉