Go to bed. Tired.

Somehow the months and days of 2016 came to a close and we’re beginning a brand new beautiful year. How the past 365 days have already found their way into 2017 is still hard to believe, but there is always so much to look forward to when we find ourselves in a new season. All that’s set forth before us is so full of opportunity, but whether or not we can see that now is beside the point; it’s whether or not we’ll be willing to find & appreciate it.

This is not another “Here’s My New Year’s Resolution” post that’s plastered on the front of my brand new 2017 calendar. It’s certainly not a cliché “New Year, New Me” claim either. It’s simply food for thought - something to think about as you begin your new year.

Ever find yourself wanting a redo on something? To go back and put forth a different effort, to invest that effort in different things, in different people... I found myself feeling like I could’ve done more in 2016 once it was already over. I hated that feeling of knowing I could’ve worked harder, accomplished more, just done more. To ensure finding myself in a different place come December of 2017, I’ve broken down even my smallest of goals to lay on one common foundation.

My sister is one of my biggest role models. She’s one of the hardest workers I know, incredibly selfless, and has taught me more about life than possibly anyone. About a month ago we talked on the phone, like we always try to do. We started talking about our day. How college was for her, how high school was for me. We ended, however, talking about the rest of our lives. My sister is wise beyond her years and has taught me countless lessons that I’ll always carry with me, but this was one that completely altered the way I thought. We were talking about how easy it is to become overwhelmed and unfocused when your life gets busy, something both of us could relate to. The conversation ended with her telling me, “What a blessing it is to go to bed tired though.” How I hadn’t recognized this idea before was beyond me, but I’m so grateful I could hear it come out of someone else’s mouth.

The fact of the matter is whenever we get tired, whenever we get busy, we consider it a burden.

We consider having a full day of school, work, practice, eating, sleeping, talking, running, driving, and just living to be a burden. But how fortunate are we to have a body that allows us to run until we’re exhausted, or a mind that enables us to learn until we grow tired. Being tired needs to be redefined as a good thing. It needs to be redefined as the goal.

If resting your head at the end of the day entails being physically and mentally drained, understand it to be nothing short of an absolute blessing. We have all been placed where we are with unquestionably different yet valuable talents, and not using them to the very best of our ability is a waste of potential. Squandering even the smallest of our God-given gifts disables us from making use of the possible impact we have on both the world and the people in it. No, this is not encouragement to be a people pleaser or answer “yes” to everything, nor a suggestion to work yourself into the ground every day. Rather, to find and recognize the many good ways that God is using you, and to have faith in your ability to do His will.

Reconsidering trials and tribulations as blessings will most likely never be second nature. It takes intention to turn tiredness into tirelessness, and takes effort to recognize both as wonderful things. Acknowledge that God has faith in you to handle every task He gives you, and learn to be humbled by that great gift.

Stick to all your New Year’s resolutions you may already have in place, but also consider this truth as you start off your 2017. Use your gifts. Use them to help others. Use them as much and as often as you can. And go to bed tonight. Tired.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.’” - Erma Bombeck

- Maggie Petersen, Chicago

@maggieepetersen on Instagram