A Simple Note for 2015

By Carolyn Shields, taking a break from a New Girl marathon

I've been doing a lot of sprawling in the chapel lately. Mostly in exasperation.

The past week I've done the following:

  • Watched twenty episodes of New Girl

  • Ate three tacos in one night

  • Finished my book proposal, worked, ran,

  • And sprawled

Because I don't get it.*

My New Years Resolution is to be kind to myself. Looking back on 2014, I realized how hard I was treating myself. Matthew 5:48 has tripped me up for years: Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. Excuse-moi, what? How am I supposed to be perfect? I'm incredibly flawed...but last year I dwelt too much on that.

So this year I'm done with my negative thoughts, questioning my worth, doubting my value, and looking in the mirror with disgust. I am going to be kind to myself, find myself beautiful, drink more water, treat my body well, and above all, take medication when needed. I'm going to embrace failure and recognize progress.

So why was I sprawling so much then? Well, because I've been having negative thoughts, questioning my worth, doubting my value, and looking in the mirror with disgust, ha.

I've been lying on the pew, staring up at the ceiling, and asking God some big questions. With my book proposal due to meet the board in a week, and my final answer left hanging on Uganda with a deadline only a few days away, I have to ask: why me? And not in the self-pitying way either. Because I may have just stated my biggest New Years Resolution, but do you want to know my second one? Have a cute butt by the close of 2015.

I swear too much. I probably drink too much. I'm quite illogical and am as emotionally vulnerable as an exposed heart. I enjoy that's-what-she-said jokes. I wasn't worth fifty plus employers times for interviews.

So WHY, in 2014, was I asked to write a book on identity for young Catholic women by Ave Maria Press when I'm going through an identity crises? Why have I been asked to speak in Uganda when all I've been doing lately is sprawling in the chapel, playing with the strings on my hoodie?


I am precious and glorious in His eyes, and because He loves me.

Isaiah 43:4

You are worth every heartbeat. God is bigger than any question you can ever ask, and if you didn't have an easy transition from 2014, if your struggles from last year have rolled over into this new one, know that God doesn't mark your days as we do. Psalm 90:4 reminds us, "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, like a watch in the night."

Yes, we are called to be perfect. But I think perfection is different for all of us. It's like peace. We must pray that God gives us HIS perfect peace, and that we keep in mind that His peace may not be the solace that we expect or may think we need. Similarly, the perfection we have in mind for ourselves may be different than the fulfillment He has in mind. The 'he's perfect for you' scenario ties in with this. One guy may be suited exceptionally well for you, and may be the opposite of what another girl needs. Likewise, the perfection we seek in ourselves will be different than the scholar's, the young mother's, or the missionary's.

Take a step back and evaluate your truths. Especially the hard ones. So what if you fail again in 2015? What if you find yourself sprawling again? But oh my darling, what if you fly?


*And come on, in all honesty, when do I ever do?