The idea of New Year’s resolutions have always stymied me. On the one hand, I understand the desire to have a fresh start, but the truth is we make these resolutions to make ourselves feel better. We make these resolutions because deep down we all want a clean start and a new hope. A hope that this year will be better, that WE will be better, and a hope that our world and communities will be better.
The problem is, as many of us know all to well, rarely do we keep these resolutions. It’s not for lack of trying or lack of want, rather I believe it’s because we sabotage ourselves from the very beginning. We do this by dwelling on all of our failures from the year before. As a new year begins we inevitable look back. We see our successes, our failures, our joys and losses, and all the mundane moments in between; yet somehow it is our failures and our losses that seem to be pushed to the forefront of our minds.
We go into making new resolutions remembering all the same resolutions we have already failed at accomplishing.
Last year I resolved to read 50 books, loose 40 pounds, be a more grateful person, run a half marathon, spend more quality time with my wife and daughter, pray more, and serve more. Some of those things were accomplished, others were not. Now I am faced with a new year filled with new opportunities and I find myself dwelling on the failures instead of the victories. Why?
The short answer is because I, like most people, will find excuses as to why my resolutions will fail. I will have a conversation with myself saying that, “I will do this” or, “I will accomplish that”, yet all the while, in the back of my head, I’ll be making a list of all the reasons it will be too difficult to tackle.
Think about it. How much time do we spend on making excuses for our poor behavior and/or lifestyles? We blame our parents, the stress of life, our families, our lack of money, the people around us, our schedules, and the list can go on and on. Let’s face it, It’s easier to blame external circumstances than to take ownership for our own shortcomings.
Luke 9:23 has always been a challenging truth for me. “If anyone wants to be my follower, deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me.”
It’s challenging because it is all about surrender. It’s about dropping the baggage, the selfishness, and surrendering everything…DAILY. That word daily, often alludes us. I think we look at surrender as a one time thing instead of the ongoing daily habit that it actually should be.
As this new year begins, this is what I know to be true. I know that I have struggles, hopes, dreams, and fears. I know that I live in a damaged world, where no one is perfect and everyone is deserving of grace. I know that all have fallen short of God’s best for us and that He will never leave or forsake those that surrender to Him. I know there are people who love me and those that despise me.
I know that I have no idea what this coming year has in store but it is filled with new opportunities every day.
Which leads me to make a resolution regarding my resolutions. This year, instead of a one time proclamation of goals and aspirations I resolve to embrace the daily surrender. Surrender to the one who can actually accomplish these resolutions through me. Because, if I’m honest, It is only by His grace that I am able to accomplish anything anyway.
Until next time…