I spent the last week of 2010 cleaning out my clutter.
There was a lot of journaling and praying and fervently flipping through Scripture to find certain verses.
At the end of it all I felt like my soul had finally exhaled after a year of holding my breath. The truth is I felt like I spent much of 2010 under water. No matter how hard I worked, or how focused I was, I constantly felt behind. It was like I was swimming in a race but I kept sinking despite my best efforts. Instead of getting ahead I could barely catch my breath.
By the time December got here I was exhausted. Usually I spend the last week of the year praying, planning and charting as I set my goals and resolutions for the year ahead. This year when I sat down for my annual date, I starred at the empty pages before me for what seemed like hours.
You see, 2011 isn’t just any year for me. I’m having a birthday in less than two weeks—a birthday that ends in a 9. It’s the last year for me to accomplish everything I wanted to achieve in the pivotal decade that has been my twenties. Crossing those last few things off my list would be feasible, but it would also be all consuming.
Internally I began to experience a tug of war.
Did I really want to exhaust myself in an attempt to achieve everything I set out to do when I was 20 or did I want to reexamine who I’ve become in the nine years since and see if different dreams and plans might be worth pursuing?
In a move that was somewhat surprising—even to me—I chose to let my list go. I mentally walked myself back in time and reacquainted myself with 20-year-old Shannon. She dreamed big. With a promising decade spread before her she cast her net wide. In nine years she was able to do almost everything she set out to do—and plenty of things she never imagined in her wildest dreams.
But the thing that struck me about her was how different she is from who I am now. I’ve lived a lot of life in that time and I’ve experienced devastating heartbreaks and thrilling victories that couldn’t have been foreseen at the threshold of my twenties. I’m still dreaming big and casting my net wide, but the things I want have changed.
Letting go of the initial blueprint I set for myself at the age of 20 isn’t failing. It’s growing.
I’m releasing old dreams so I can embrace new ones. My focus is now on being and not so much on doing. I’m more concerned with receiving God’s dreams for me than I am with telling Him about my dreams for 2011. For the first time in almost a decade I feel free.
I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year.