Thinking about New Year resolutions…I stumbled across this post from 2010. Shockingly, I could have written it yesterday. On the big stuff, I’m so in the same place. Do we ever really change? My updated comments are in blue.
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Approaching a New Year…carrying hope and optimism that the coming year will be sweeter, richer, healthier, thinner, safer, more fun, and less stressful than the last one.
I’m making some truly new resolutions this year – things I might actually achieve – because for the past fifteen years, I’ve had the same three goals:
1. Like zillions of other people, I always determine to lose weight. Two years ago, I did shed 20 pounds. It was forced on me by inflammation issues. However, I have gained back 15. ARGH!!!!! So, that’s on the list again. Or still. And I imagine, glumly, for the rest of my life. So depressing. 🙁
2. I always resolve to bite my (hard to admit) critical tongue. That usually lasts about a week. If I ever master this, I’ll only have half a tongue. Sadly, my tongue is still fully here.
3. I always resolve to gripe less. One year my son (who was about twelve at the time), who tended to gripe too, (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and I made a deal. We vowed that we would not be so negative, and that we’d call each other out on negative remarks.
It worked a little. But then we discovered that when one of us was displeased with something, the other would agree, Oh yeah, that’s crummy. Which just confirmed our view that life was full of annoyances and worth complaining about.
Low-bar goals. (And the Styrofoam thing might make me just give up on #3.)
I’ve decided New Year’s resolutions don’t work for me. I’ve suspected this for several years, because I keep making the same ones. There’s a quote about doing the same things over and over, expecting different results = insanity. I don’t know about insanity, but futile and silly come to mind.
It hit me that, in light of eternity, one year is just a snap of the fingers. And the human heart is stubborn. I’ve tried repeatedly to change for the better, but the slide back to “normal” is short and easy and often very appealing.
I was only able to get healthy two years ago by relying on God’s strength (because I didn’t have any.) Change, for me, is a spiritual issue. My flesh is a lazy, gluttonous master. Disgusting, but true.
So the question for me is always, Do I want to give God this issue? Do I want Him to correct this wayward heart, my self-focused tendencies, my lazy streak? Yes, I do. The answer is always yes, but the journey He takes me on is always challenging, because it involves growing up.
That’s what hard. That’s what’s painful. And I’m not sure we ever fully mature in this life.
I don’t think God cares whether or not I mop my kitchen floor, but He does care if my words hurt others. He cares whether or not I take care of my body, and He cares about whether or not I’m grateful, or just full of complaints. So, the New Year is helpful in that it’s a time to pause and see how I’m doing, but the good news is that God gives me a lifetime to get it right. Or better. As long as the path I’m on is “doing my best to honor His design for my life,” I’m doing OK.
We had some challenges last year, and some heartaches, but I still trust that God is in control, I still trust that He has a plan, I know He’s always with me, I know He is the only unchanging force in my life. I have not been swayed from any of that, so I’m doing OK.
I’ll keep working on the three weaknesses listed at the start of this post, because they affect so many things in my life. But I’ve adjusted my expectations. I don’t want January to be the month I look back at how I’ve failed anymore. Or, even the month where I give myself another 365 days to correct my flaws.
January will just be a pit stop pause where I thank God for what He’s shown me in the past year, and how He’s going to guide me through the challenges in the next.
Welcome, 2017, where I’m stumbling towards heaven, one year at a time.