Deep down, I think that I should feel different on December 31. I want my internal calendar to recognize that we're on the cusp of a new year and respond by some swelling of emotion. Something should be special about this day. Something should feel noteworthy and important. Shouldn't sequins and really great shoes be involved?
Now, December 31 is a day that should be well-lived, and I'm hoping that it is. Still, a part of me rebels when this one day gets elevated to such a heightened level that it practically begs disillusionment.
I've been feeling frazzled lately, and I finally pinpointed why. I'm a person who likes to be productive, but lately I haven't accomplished much. I had intentions to plan for the new courses that I'll be teaching next semester, but my papers and books are piled in a corner, untouched and looming. I had goals to work on a writing project, but I haven't made a dent. I've been sick.
I've felt behind and out of sorts, and during all of this, three dear little people in my household still have called on me to feed them, read to them, change their diapers, cut their food, get Play-Doh out of their hair, and put the shoes back on the Polly Pockets.
Yet, from this place of depletion, I'm reminded of two invitations that are vastly comforting:
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11: 28)
My good friend, one who is finishing her PhD, runs triathlons, and once went to work in a wetsuit on a dare, once wrote to me that she had been praying that "God would still her heart." In the figurative, not the literal sense, of course. Keep that heart pumping, God, just still the chaos in it. You understand.
This is what I'm praying for this year. When the ball drops and millions are celebrating the New Year with flashy parties and loud festivities, my prayer is that my heart would be stilled. This year I want to come closer to God -- not run -- when I am weary or burdened. When I'm waiting in line, paying bills, recovering from a head cold, filling up the gas tank, folding laundry, brushing teeth, taking out the trash, answering email, putting away groceries, tucking children into bed, and grading papers -- all those moments that make up the daily grind of a year, I'm praying for my heart to be at ease.
This year, during those days when I'm pulled in too many directions and feel behind before I even get started, I want to step back, be still, and know that He is God. Sequins are great, but true rest is priceless.
Image compliments of Jazzlog (flickr.com)