I wrote this post in January of 2016, and since I’ve been on the topic of New Year’s resolutions, I thought I’d revisit it here. It serves as a reminder that while New Year’s resolutions are great, if we find ourselves on a wrong path, we can turn at any time.
When I was younger, I participated in the whole New Year’s resolution hoopla. Each January I would determine to exercise more, be more diligent in my Bible study, write more, save more money, etc. Like many, I started off strong, then missed a day, fell off the wagon, or went back to my old ways feeling defeated and guilty.
At some point over the years, my pendulum swung to the other extreme, and I determined that I was fine, thank you very much; I didn’t need to resolve to change anything. I may have even scoffed at those who did make resolutions.
Eventually, I admitted that in fact I was not fine, thank you very much. I did need to, from time time, assess my situation and make some adjustments. However, in a mind-blowing realization, I discovered that change could happen at any time, not just at the beginning of the year. It could happen on February 19 or June 3. In fact, I could resolve to live differently on December 21, right before the Christmas holidays. Change didn’t have to be bound by the calendar. I could decide that I would write more starting at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon and sit down at the keyboard right then! What a radical thought!
And, if on the following Monday at 9am I realized that I had forgotten about my decision to write more, I could remember right then and get back at it! I didn’t have to wait until the next Thursday at 2pm!
By now, I have realized that, despite my good intentions and my continued determinations to change, I continue to find a way to fit failure into each and every day. I resolve to call a friend, be consistent with exercise, pray each morning, etc, etc., then I find myself binge-watching some Netflix show that adds virtually no value to my life!
It happens, and then I have a choice — I can continue to ignore my resolutions, or I can turn toward them. If you’ve tried this at home, you know that turning isn’t typically easy or final. Right now I am turning toward my good practices of Bible study, prayer, and writing. In a few minutes I might be finishing the sewing project I have resolved to finish today, or I might get distracted by Words with Friends or Facebook.
Let me just take a moment to say here that I don’t think Netflix, Words with Friends, or Facebook are evil…if you know me, you know that I enjoy each of these 21st century phenomena quite a bit. However, just like anything else in our stimuli-rich world, they can distract me from my turning. They can get me walking away from what I want and need most. So, from time to time, I have to set them down, take stock, and remember why I am turning.
I am turning for a fuller, richer, more meaningful life. More prayer gives me a healthier connection with the Father. More Bible study provides a richer foundation in the truth. Consistent writing allows me to process all that I take in each day, everything I’m learning. These practices — prayer, Bible study, writing — center me. They breathe newness into me.
So, today I am turning toward them. Tomorrow I may get distracted for a bit, but I won’t wait until next year to redirect. I can turn at any time.
Because of the Lord’s great love [we can return at any time], for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23, Rathje Revised Version
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