It’s January 3rd. So many worthy resolutions march through my head. They are also militant, insistent, arrogant, stoic, self-centered, heartless… second person accusations pointing to my failures and weaknesses of 2013.
- Lose those extra pounds you can’t believe are part of you.
- Drink more water. Eat “clean.”
- Walk or do something you could call exercise every day! At least 5 minutes!
- Read through the Daily Chronological Bible this year – and, um… you are already 2 days behind schedule!
- Write notes, send flowers and birthday cards, have and make time for people and encourage them.
- Dress nicely for your husband… sweats just don’t cut it.
- Learn to paint, play the piano… never stop learning and growing!
- Find a church home! It’s been too long. YOU must be the problem.
- Visit Mom and Dad at least once a week, and create one-on-one times with them (you want to do this – make it a priority).
- Be compassionate and loving and reflect Jesus to your adult children. Parenting is over… trust Jesus and pray more.
- Get more sleep. More rest.
- Forgive (have you really done this?) and pray for your enemies.
- There are many more, but STOP!
New Year’s Resolutions? I told Rob, “I don’t make them, because I never keep them. I set goals, though.” That flippant remark begs the question: What’s the difference?
|res·o·lu·tion (rz-lshn) n.1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination. 2. A resolving to do something. 3. A course of action determined or decided on.
Variations of the above “resolutions” have been in my journals, on index cards, and in my head for years (not just in January). Mine probably look a lot like yours? They are all about my doing something differently or altogether new. And even when the outside of me looks a little better, the truth is I seem to fall back on the same flesh patterns – my particular weaknesses.
So why do the whole resolution thing? It feels like a second person bashing of me by me – not much grace or forgiveness involved. It’s a throwback to my perfectionistic tendencies. I’m ungrateful and impatient with God’s work and progress in me. I’m condemning myself as I compare myself to others. I am not ok with being typical.
But the truth is I am a poor, weak woman with limited talents and resources, trying to learn what it means to put Jesus first – to live the Gospel. To love Jesus and others. To be a follower of Jesus.
These resolutions I’ve been making are no way to begin 2014! Focusing so much on ME is ultimately a form of idolatry.
The truth is I am a sinner and will be until I die, and more importantly, I am loved, forgiven and accepted, and will be forever! Shouldn’t this fact be central to my joy and my purpose? My motivation and my priority?
Resolutions imply self-determined action. If nothing else, my many failed years of setting resolutions have taught me that it doesn’t work that way. Not for me. Maybe not for anyone trying to follow Jesus.
What about having a New Year’s goal? Maybe this is all semantics, but looking toward 2014 and my fiftieth birthday, one goal make sense. When I answered my husband’s questions about resolutions, I was dodging responsibility. I didn’t want to commit to actions I said I should take, when experience told me it might not pan out as laid out. But as I reflect this morning, maybe I am on to something?
A goal is an endeavor or objective… a purpose toward which I am directed. It is less a tiresome list of behavioral mandates, and more a big picture purpose, intention, focus or design.
What if I set this goal: Jesus. Nothing else.
What would it mean if Jesus was my goal? To seek Jesus. To know Jesus. To direct myself toward Jesus. To let Jesus set my purpose. To believe Jesus and His Word. To intentionally see Jesus in His creation and His people. To let Jesus love me. To let His love flow from me. To feel the awe and wonder of Jesus. To accept Jesus’ forgiveness of myself and others. To spend time talking and listening to Jesus. To let go more and more of the world’s views and see Jesus.
The list is endless, because Jesus is infinite. The difference? Jesus is the focus, the reason, the purpose, the answer, the action, the joy, the peace, and the whole big picture. All it takes from me is surrender and the will to make Him my first priority.
I am willing to commit to that, knowing I am covered in His grace, mercy, and love. When I inevitably forget, fail and falter in my goal… I will grab His hand again, and whisper, “Jesus.”
Matthew 6:33 New Living Translation “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
My 2013 goal is to keep my focus on Jesus. Just that… Jesus. I’ll trust Him for the rest. I may also do some of the list I started with, but they are simply good and worthy second tier behaviors. Only Jesus is worthy of being a goal. The wonderful second place things in my life are not even on the same list! They aren’t my 2014 goal and purpose. Only Jesus. There’s power in His name.