Two of my TV favorites reminded me that New Year’s resolutions are not all about dieting, exercising, doing something more or less, or trying something new.
One of the hardest resolutions to make and keep is the decision to move on.
My husband and I were catching up on season 5 of “Once Upon a Time.” It largely takes place in the underworld where souls are there because they haven’t moved on. They have unfinished business. We came to one of those episodes that is a plot turning point, and it ended with two people both promising to move on regardless of how difficult that might be, especially considering one of them was dead. (Living people among dead people in the underworld. Yeah. Watch the show and it actually make sense.)
And then my treadmill companion, “West Wing.” If you’re a fan, you might remember the end of season 1 and start of season 2 where the president is shot at, but it is actually one of his aides who is badly hurt. The writers give us a two-part opportunity to learn how each of President Bartlett’s staff became a part of the campaign and, subsequently, the White House staff. As these new staffers are trying to contribute to the strategy conversation with then-Governor Bartlett, he says, “What’s next?” but they continue with the same topic. He turns to them and tells them that when he says, “what’s next?” he means “what’s next?”
No more standing still or looking back over your shoulder. No more replaying the conversation and figuring out a better or different way of handling it. No more going back over the same points, looking for a different answer.
Today is moving day.
Take a look at three of the relationships that are part of your ministry — your relationship with your boss (e.g., pastor, principal, director, superintendent), your peers, and your volunteers.
What is one conversation or behavior in each relationship that is stuck or has you stuck? You know what I mean. Things like the conversation you have every month that you can repeat word for word.
What one response or behavior have you never tried? I mean NEVER. I used to get picked on when I was a child, and I did what typical children do–I whined, I cried, I gave back as good as I got. Then my mother finally convinced me to “kill ’em with kindness.” As much as I hated doing it because it felt so false, things changed. I never would have tried that on my own.
Then ask yourself, what’s next? What do you want to be next if you could ever imagine getting over this obstacle? I remember growing in confidence around very opinionated people when I finally decided one day to just respond, “Okay,” when someone challenged me on a decision. Then I quickly followed it with a “so what’s next?” Changed the tenor of the conversation and ultimately the relationship.
A new year is all about newness. Embrace it and move on.