When I was younger, I was one who 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, or achieve some other lofty goal. Like many, I started off strong, then soon missed a day, fell off the wagon, or went back to my old, more debased ways. I would feel defeated and guilty.
I am sure that at some point 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.
Eventually, I admitted that in fact I wasn’t fine, thank you very much, and 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, I find a way to fit failure into each and every day. I promise myself that I will 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. So 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 what I am receiving through prayer and Bible study. These practices center me. They allow me to make sense of all the other ‘stuff’ that happens in life. They breathe newness into me.
So, today I am turning toward them. Tomorrow I may fall off the wagon for a bit, but I won’t wait until next year to get back on. I can turn at any time.
Because of the Lord’s great love, [we can re-set at any time],
for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 Rathje Revised Version