The Sexy Celibate’s 10 Goals for 2014
#10) I want to stop worshipping other people’s golden calves. Or abs. Or house. Or family. I can’t judge how happy someone is by their smiling Facebook pictures. Many people that I think have it easy worked very hard to get there. Many people I think are happy are suffering inwardly. I am judging their insides by what I see on their outsides and that is never a wise thing to do. The less I compare, the more compassion I will have.
#9) I want to remember that happiness= reality minus expectations. Putting expectations on people often results in resentment. Putting expectations on circumstances often ends in heartbreak.
#8) I want to stay far far away from schadenfreude. No, this is not a kind of wienerschnitzel. It is a German word for the practice of finding satisfaction in someone else’s failure. Conversely, I don’t want to be unsatisfied when someone else is celebrating, like with getting married or having children. I can have compassion on myself in my disappointments without letting jealousy run my life.
#7) Taking #8 even further, I don’t want to focus too much on what I don’t have, but on the beautiful things that are right in front of me. The bible says to not to cast your pearls before swine. (Matthew 7:6). Swine don’t understand the value of pearls; they think they are no different than pebbles. I don’t want to cast my pearls before swine, but what’s more, I don’t want to be the swine that doesn’t recognize the pearls. I want to see the beautiful things that are before me and not pass them by as if they are worth nothing. My life doesn’t often look like I expected or wanted it to, but I have so many tiny, precious things in my life that I need to notice and thank God for.
#6) I want to say this prayer on a regular basis: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I say this prayer all the time. When I have a hard situation in front of me, I ask what can I control in this situation? and then what can’t I control in this situation? Then I try to let go of the things I can’t control into God’s big, big hands. As Cheryl Strayed says “Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”
#5) I want to believe that I can choose serenity today, right now, that my happiness is not attached to some far away future thing. For some reason I am constantly grasping at the hope that something I don’t have will finally make me happy. If I only had this job or that partner or these children or that ministry I would finally have all that I want. I wait for that mysterious moment, that beautiful crux of a moment that I believe will change everything, and it never comes, even if those life events do happen. I will wait for that moment the rest of my life if I am not careful. It will keep me in a place where I am always grasping and never cherishing.
#4) I want to learn to love myself. To see myself as beautiful, even after I suffer rejection.To remember that I am the beloved. Jesus said to love my neighbor as myself, not more than myself. So learning to love myself is as important in Jesus’ eyes as loving my neighbor. Did you know that Jesus’ most repeated command was be healed which can also be translated be made whole? Loving myself can become hard for me as a single, because I don’t often have someone telling me that I am beautiful. In fact, when I suffer romantic rejection it is really easy for me to believe that there is something wrong with me, that I am not beautiful. But I am, and I need to do the hard work of believing that I am. As Henri Nouwen says, “Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, as soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, ‘Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody. … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned.’ Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the Beloved. Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
#3)Every time I have a big decision to make, I want to ask myself What would I do if I weren’t afraid? and then do the next right thing.
#2) I want to lift my eyes up to the mountains (Psalm 121:1-2) and away from my navel.
#1)Truly, truly, with everything in me, I want to look upon,fall in love with, remember, saturate myself with, listen to, be kissed by, walk near, and be minute by minute changed by the fathomless, mysterious, passionate, astonishing, never ending lover of my soul who calls me beloved, which is indeed the core truth of my existence. Every time I gaze upon his beautiful face, a little bit of his brilliant light will seep into me and drive a little bit of the darkness away. I will see myself beautiful. I will live moment by moment. I will celebrate my life and the life of others. I will choose serenity.
Hmmmm. I guess if I practice #1 all the other stuff will happen. Maybe I should just focus on that one.