It’s that time of year. That time of year when your email inbox and social media feeds are flooded with all things New Year. Whether it’s feel-good sayings, productivity hacks, goals, items, sales, new memberships, ideas, etc. the New Year
subtly overtly sends the message “out with the old and in with the new!”
And believe me when I tell you I’m right there. I love the New Year, AND the stars are aligned in 2018 because Jan 1 falls on a Monday – eureka! New Year, New Month, and New Week!
But then I was called on the carpet…
Earlier this month I read a blog post by David Cain in which he challenged his readers to a Depth Year – encouraging us to go deeper instead of wider. And, boy did it resonate with me…especially this part…
A big part of the Depth Year’s maturing process would be learning to live without regular doses of the little high we get when we start something new. If we indulge in it too often, we can develop a sort of “sweet tooth” for the feeling of newness itself.
I’ll share a weakness of mine – it’s books. I counted this morning, and I have, in my possession, 65 unread books in my home. I probably have a similar number in my office. The topics range from writing skills, productivity, organization, marriage, travel, memoirs, to psychology.
Even if I managed to read two books a month, I’d still have unread books in 2019. Even at a book a week I’d still have 2-3 years worth of books. How did I get here? I’m a sucker for new endeavors. I often find myself journaling “there’s so much to do!” and “there’s so much to learn!” and in a burst of energy I start new things.
There’s other psychology at play as well. There’s the “this is the thing that’ll fix me,” “this is what I need to be happy/fulfilled,” “this is what I need to do next,” “you should try THIS.” It’s the downside of an impulsive and adventurous spirit – I’m always up for the next thing.
So what’s the problem with new?
Why is new so attractive? Let’s face it…things get stale. And we get bored. And then, there’s that newness rush that’s so hard to say no to and acquiring becomes an end to itself.
Besides the money spent and resources used for acquiring new things, new seeking makes us lazy. It’s a quick little rush with minimal effort and some disposable income.
Our instant gratification society allows us to be flippant with our time and energy. With the snap of our fingers, we can have a new wardrobe, enough books for a college career, a house full of furniture, a trip booked anywhere in the world. We can buy just about anything we want on Amazon with ONE CLICK – it’s a fantastic time in human history but a hazardous one as well.
We’ve lost our sense of why.
The space between an idea and execution has shrunk to a nanosecond. And as soon as that new endeavor gets difficult or stops giving us whatever we’re looking for, we’re able to snap those fingers again and start over.
And because new is so easy we stop asking “why.” Not only why do I need “this” but why am I seeking the rush? Or the distraction? What am I avoiding?
Go deep in 2018
The antidote to the busyness of soul is not sloth and indifference. The antidote is rest, rhythm, death to pride, acceptance of our own finitude, and trust in the providence of God. – Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung
What does GO DEEP even mean?
Find value in what you already own and do – no new hobbies, books, clothes, trinkets, diets, workouts, or whatever else you might be thinking of taking on in 2018.
Going deeper forces us to reckon with our finite resources of time and energy.
How many things do you have floating around in your head that you want to do? Having them stay in our head is a mind game AND a quick way to feel like a failure…because they never get done.
Now, take a good long hard look at your season of life and current schedule. Reckon with your finitude. Listen to your inner compass – I know it sounds hokey, but mindfulness and awareness are critical here.
After you’ve assessed your current situation, make a commitment to focus on something substantial and challenging this year – like ONE or TWO things – commit to rebuilding those mental and disciple muscles.
Read the books you own (pick a single topic)
Wear the clothes you have in your closet
Create with the supplies you have on hand
Learn to recognize that “new” fix – what are you avoiding – what are you seeking?
I am not a fan of absolutes, and this “go deeper” practice is not a permanent state of being but rather an experiment in awareness.
Let mindfulness be your guide in 2018
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