I’ve been getting lots of tips for 2016. Why is everyone on facebook, instagram, email and text telling me how to be healthier, kinder, more stylish, more mindful, and more productive next year?
If I knew how to do all that transforming I would already be doing it. If I had that self-control and discipline I wouldn’t need your planner, juicer, diet, questionnaire, accountability group, or membership. My defenses are high.
I don’t feel like a World Changer, especially now, exhausted, surrounded by leftovers, cookies, wine, and noisy kids on Christmas break. I bet you don’t feel like one either.
How can I possibly be a World Changer when I gave the kids my fearsome Alligator Face an hour ago? How can they be World Changers when they can’t remember to change their own underwear? Maybe we should all just go back to bed.
2015 was rough for Team Fritz. Chris and I just reviewed the outlandish list of goals and hopes we made during our great date on 1/3/15. We were shocked. Never before have we crossed so many things off regarding money, exercise, career, and personal development. We outdid ourselves, but it took leaving everything and starting a new job across the country.
Big things happened, but we didn’t have a magical year of Compassion. This year was about survival and surrender for our little crew. The kids didn’t have any tear-filled epiphanies about poverty and generosity, like before. They didn’t willingly cover themselves in paint, hot glue, and sprinkles to make crafts and urgently raise money to love and serve others, like before. Chris didn’t rip apart, build, and haul things, like before. I didn’t lead rousing story times to bring realities of life in Haiti (our 2015 compassion focus) to our breakfast table and carpools, like before.
We’ve had a Family Compassion Focus for 4 years – Orphans, Clean Water, Homelessness, and Haiti. But in 2015 we were hurting, hot, and lonely, plunked down here in the thick woods of Atlanta. We didn’t have a lot to give. We needed compassion more than we gave it. Maybe it’s okay and acceptable, maybe we were too broken or too selfish to share. I don’t know. I’ve wondered if we should even attempt Compassion in 2016.
Chris and I decided we should at least try. I reluctantly brought it up to the kids over lunch a couple days ago. Surprisingly, they were excited and full of ideas. I shared my new Sharpies. The girls wrote the headings and taped them to the fridge. All 3 have been jumping off their stools to add new things at random times. I’m suddenly giddy with hope.
I’m not sure what 2016 will look like. The breath prayer I discovered on my run yesterday is Begin Again. Begin Again. Begin Again.
- Begin the church hunt again
- Begin a reading plan again
- Begin a writing schedule again
- Begin snuggling with the big kids again
- Begin date nights again
- Begin praying for world at breakfast again
I don’t know what any of that will look like. I don’t have any grand ideas, page totals, point totals, or tallies set up. I’m not writing any resolutions. I’m not dragging my family into anything. I’m not sure if anything on that list will be World Changing. All I have is a simple plan, inspired by these words from our Patron Saint of Sweet River, Frederick Buechner:
“The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Here it is:
- Find 2 pieces of paper. On the top of 1 write “What Breaks My Heart“. One the top of the other right “What I Love to Do” or “What Brings Me Joy“
- Or print this free download: Family Compassion Ideas 2015
- Tape them on the mirror or the fridge
- Invite your family/roommates/friends to write their responses with yours
- Extra #1 – My kids wanted to add “World Changers We Want to Learn About.” How cool is that?
- Extra #2 – They also added “What Do You Want to Do” because they were thinking of our past compassion experiments. This is something we’ll add to in the coming weeks, because it’s the synthesis- where the hunger and gladness meet.
Begin Again. You can do this anytime. We are doing it now. We will start January 1, 2016 with bacon and the New Year’s birthday cake. We’ll talk about our lists, vote, and celebrate. (You can read how we did last year here: Our 2015 Compassion Focus).
We’ll begin to see where our ideas overlap, where we share hunger and joy. We’ll listen to each other. We’ll later research, pray, experiment, and give. We’ll try to keep listening to God and each other. We’re definitely not experts, we’re often whiny jerks, but we’re trying.
I truly believe that God will grow my family into more loving and more lovable World Changers in 2016. I believe he will grow you, too. We can Begin Again.
You are loved. Happy New Year.
- I talked about that great Buechner quote and this family activity at the end of my interview on the 10/20/15 Heroes of Generosity podcast. You can listen to it on iTunes here.
- Now Is The Time – a list of tips for having a safe, quick, easy family chats about world changing (*keep it simple)
- Vote Today – how we’ve done our Family Compassion Focus voting in the past
- My Family’s 2015 Compassion Focus – how we did New Year’s Day on 1/1/15
- Our Story – why we started having a Family Compassion Focus
© Aimee Fritz & Family Compassion Focus, 2015