Resolving to Get Out of the Way
Now that Christmas is over (though not the Christmas season) and the flurry of activity that went along with it has dwindled, people are starting to turn their thoughts to what’s next: a new year. The new year brings with it a flurry of its own, in many ways opposite of the flurry just ended. Instead of preoccupation with holiday treats, gifts for others, and velvet dresses, our culture turns to salads, gym memberships, and sports bras. The outward focus turns in. Instead of delighting others we start to think about the version of ourselves we’d most like to see in the mirror. Resolution season begins. I love the idea of New Year's resolutions, but have yet to truly have a positive experience with one myself. I am not a skilled habit former and as soon as a habit is “set,” or so they say, I get too bored, busy, or exhausted to keep it up. The four month mark is where I stumble most frequently, long after the “experts” say the habit should be set and ready. This year I head into resolution season with a long line of failed resolutions in my wake, even last year’s push to lose weight which I maintained for 8 months before falling off the wagon early in my pregnancy when the only things that sounded edible were white bread and onion rings. In September of this year I listened to a book by Jennie Allen called Nothing to Prove. I was drawn to the title. It was included in my Scribd subscription. I had a lot of driving to do. I didn’t expect an epiphany. It was the kind of book I read to feel like I was doing something about the overwhelming need I have to prove myself, because I knew it wasn’t great. And so I thought I would listen to this book while I trekked around the country and then I could check it off my list - I did something about it, I read a book. To do list item completed. It wasn’t the book itself that really stayed with me, it was a whispering of the Holy Spirit that came while I was listening and kept coming in the months that followed. As Jennie talked about her journey to letting go of the desire to prove herself an image sprang to mind over and over again. It’s like the moon. We are just supposed to be the moon. God is the sun, and we are the moon. He is the light and we are the reflectors. I know that I’m far from the first to make this analogy, in fact I recently discovered it appears in the Catechism itself. It’s a simple one, and obvious too. But I like to think that’s maybe why the moon works the way it does. I mean, it doesn’t have to be that way, right? God could have just given us a lesser light in the sky for night. But He didn't. He only gave us one bright light. Only one. I knew what the theme of my first release in 2019 would be. A collection was born. At first I wondered if this whole idea of being the moon needed to be more than just a collection. I felt like this was a conversation we needed to be having as Christians. Why was no one talking about this? Maybe this idea was so important that it needed its own whole entity. Maybe it needed its own brand even, but then you know what? Doing that would be me trying to be the sun. Again. That Satan is a tricky one. Even in trying to share this pure message there was that opportunity for me to feel like I discovered this light and was solely responsible for sharing it. I needed to be some kind of harbinger of change in the way we see ourselves and live our lives. And that is a very sun-ish thing to try to do. I think the Holy Spirit inspired this collection not because I’m good at living out this idea of being the moon, but because I am rather awful at it. I love to make a difference. I love to provide the truth. But then there is always that temptation to think that the truth is mine. That sharing it rests on me. But the truth traveled on its merry way before me and will again just fine when I’m gone. The only thing that changes when I am here is that right now, while I am here, God desires that the truth bring me to Him. Just that. I need to love you in Christian charity, but I don't have to save you. God already did that. But what I can do is be a full moon pointing earnestly to the light of the sun through my own desolation. I can reflect because I have so little else to give, just like the moon. The poet in me is also drawn to the extension of the metaphor - for though we can not provide light on our own God does allow us to draw the tides. We do change things. We do change people, sometimes even in our lack of light just as a new moon still draws the water. But it’s not the trappings of a beautiful life that draw people in. It’s not your size, your level of attractiveness, your bank account, or the number of children you have. It’s the honesty of faith. It’s the courage of sharing. It’s the brokenness. When people share like the moon instead of the sun, we feel like, hey - me too. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but that’s because I’m not doing it. The good things are God’s, and I get to help. It is not up to us to treat the truth like some pageant toddler, dressing it up and doing it’s makeup to make it an object of beauty to the rest of the world. A Christian life doesn’t have to be shiny to be a thing of beauty. It is a thing of beauty. And if we are acting like it takes all this work to even make it something shareable like the most overzealous pageant mom on the planet then haven’t we kind of done the opposite? Doesn’t that make it kind of unapproachable? So what does all this have to do with resolutions? Just this: [ctt template="8" link="j5qdf" via="yes" ]I want to challenge you to a resolution to get out of the freaking way.[/ctt] Start thinking about yourself like the moon. Stop trying to make light and start just basking in light. That doesn’t mean quit all your ministries, volunteering, and apostolates. It doesn’t mean you stop helping people and just wait for God to lightning bolt everything into place. It doesn’t mean you don’t still try and lose some weight or hit the gym a couple times a week. Heck, it doesn’t mean I close my business and just stop making things. It just means you think about it all in better way. It’s a fine line, but I think 90% of us are over it the wrong direction. I am. I still I am. I have been writing and designing and photographing for this collection for 3 months and it hasn’t changed me nearly as much as I’d like. But I think telling you that is part of being the moon for me, because I think that a big part of being the moon is not being afraid, especially of what people will think. As a creative voice in the Christian small business and art community, I think the desire to light things up is especially strong. The pressure is coming from somewhere (coughENEMYcoughcough) to be an inspiration, to know the answers, to lead the troops like we are the ones that know how to do these things. Not bad things, not necessarily wrong things. But so, so easily wrongly motivated things. If he (enemy again) can’t get us to stop talking then at least he can get us to speak with pride and undo ourselves in the process. The antidote is reliance on God and courage. That’s it. We don’t plan it all out in advance, we don’t make safety nets for ourselves, we don’t put up with BS. God saves and we get to help sometimes. If this idea speaks to you, I’d love to have you join our simple 7 day free email challenge that will walk you through evaluating your own sun-ish tendencies in totally non judgmental way, because, as mentioned, this is not something I am amazing at. I created this challenge not out of my own expertise, but as I walked through my own process of identifying pride and lack of reliance on God in my life. This is absolutely not “Seven Days to a Perfect Moony Faith,” which is what I’m supposed to say for click bait, but I’m choosing to break the rules and #benotafriad.
This is simply an evaluation process. Take a week, and figure out where in your life you need to stop trying to look perfect, trust God, and get out of the way. And then you’ll have some groundwork for a resolution that could really make a difference in your relationship with God. On January 7 we are going to be launching a small collection called “Moon.” It is simple and designed to be wearable and usable for everyday so that if you are one of the people like me who strives a little too hard you can keep a physical reminder of your commitment to trust and courage with you throughout your day. I have always found that when I tether my spiritual practices to things in my everyday I am much more successful in the long run at living them. If you decide to take up the challenge to get out of the way in 2019, let me know in the comments. I'd also love to hear how PSR can support you in your quest!