There seems to be two camps on New Year’s resolutions. One, – yes let’s make them. Camp twois a no. Camp one says we should make resolutions to
change, grow, be different. Lose weight, read books, mend fences etc. But the nay sayers, if social media is any indicator,
seem to be a growing group which says why bother. What is January
1st but an arbitrary date set by people at
some arbitrary date in the past to mark a time when we throw our dates
books (if we even still have those) and our wall calendars (if we even still
have those) and buy new ones. Why would
we be any more inclined to be the people we want to be when the numbers change
at midnight than we were before?
It is a valid question.
And I suppose the real answer is we are not. There is no magic in New
Years. No special incantation in auld
lang syne that makes us more likely to do the things we always want to do but
never get around or to stop doing the things we don’t want to do but always do
anyway. Yet I am not inclined to give up
the tradition of the New Year’s resolutions.
First, although it was arbitrary now the making of
resolutions has got a bit of tradition behind it. Now when those calendars get to changing we
as individuals and communities be it friends, families, churches or small
groups take this as a time to reflect, look forward and decide. What was good about this past year, what
wasn’t? In light of that what do I want
to do the same, what do I want to do better?
These are good questions no matter when we choose to ask them.
Second, I really like the idea of resolving. There is strength in that word. We dilute it a bit in its noun form – resolution. Not bad.
But it sounds much stronger when we consider that in forming resolutions
we are resolving to do things, to not do things, to be things or not be things. To resolve means to come to a definite or
earnest decision about. There is no
wavering there. We are in fact resolute
when we resolve.
Third, I think we all know as we resolve on New Year’s Day
or there abouts that likely we will not be faithful in all the things we
earnestly hope to do, be and become. But
that does not mean we should not try.
Knowing we cannot be the perfect version of ourselves does not mean we
should throw our hands up in despair and say “well then never mind I’ll just be
here on the couch watching Big Bang Theory.”
It means we try and try again. We
don’t wait for another New Year’s after our first fall. We resolve again and again and once
more. As believers we know that even
though not reaching our goals, trying and failing is hard, we
can find strength in the falling down. God
can use this to produce perseverance 4and
perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and
hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within
our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:4-5.
So I say resolve away and don’t be afraid
to fall short because even in that there is good that can be done.
Image: Sarah Ackerman