Bah Humbug on Resolutions by Heather Gray

Every year, I listen politely as people talk about their New Year’s resolutions.

Honest. I try to be polite about it.

Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail.

It’s not like I tell them they’re insane or that their goal of quitting smoking, losing fifty pounds, and running a marathon are ludicrous. I just…sometimes…roll my eyes. Maybe snicker a little.

Why?

It’s complicated, and it goes all the way back to… Oh, who am I kidding? There was no trauma, epiphany, or moment frozen for all time that led to my unpopular opinion about resolutions. It’s the way I’m wired, and since that’s kind of hard to change, I’m stuck with it.

The problem is that I’m a practical person.

You may not think that’s a problem, but in a resolution-loving world, practicality is not entirely embraced.

If it’s October, and I realize that I need to be more committed to spending time in God’s word, why should I wait till January to put a plan of action into place? Will waiting two months make the resolution easier to keep? No. But it will give me plenty of opportunity to change my mind and back out of the commitment. So if it’s October, and I decide I need to change something about myself, then I’m going to do it right then. Dragging my feet for a few months so I can start the year fresh won’t do anything except set me up for failure.

But that’s me. I realize not everybody’s the same. Some people thrive on goal-setting, on that feeling that they’re in it with somebody else (the other 800,000 people that have made the same resolution to spend more time at the gym…but mostly end up spending more money there instead).

Me? Not so much. If God convicts me of something that I’m doing (or not doing) in my life, then I need to deal with it now. Not tomorrow, not next month…and certainly not next year.

It’s not that I think resolutions are bad. (I wish more people would resolve not to wear pink socks and purple pants when their hair is dyed blue. Or to vote. Or not to cut people off in traffic.) Rather, I think we should each commit to making change in our lives the moment God brings the need for it to our attention. We should be making resolutions all year long as we grow in our faith and in our walk with God.

Resolutions aren’t inherently bad. It’s the putting it off till the New Year to which I object.

And in case you’re wondering, these are the resolutions I’m working on right now:

  • Spending more time in the Bible. (I’m doing a chronological study.)
  • Exercising mercy and forgiveness regularly so that the practice of living it will come to me more readily.
  • Not taking it personally when someone doesn’t like something I’ve written.
  • Serving God by serving my fellow man (and woman) in my community (and not just in church).

So now that I’ve managed to rain on the whole New Year’s Resolution parade…what are your resolutions?  Whether it’s for the new year or for your life in general – what are you resolving to change about yourself, your life, or the world in which you live?

Resolutions or not, I want to wish each of you a Happy New Year full of God’s grace and the sure knowledge of who you are in Him.

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