There is a wonderful, brand-new-journal, unsharpened-pencil, unfootprinted-snowfall newness to January. We love the idea of a beginning. A starting over. A resolve to give oneself the freedom to a “do over”. To erase the slate.
So incredibly overwhelming.
So potentially guilt-inducing.
As the turn of the calendar approaches, I feel the need to make resolutions. What will I do in 2013 to make the year a greater success for my family, my faith, my ministry, myself? This is a great question. And an excellent focus. But if I’m not careful, the wise introspection shifts quickly to “What should I do to be more, do more, have more, seem-like more, impress more…?
It stops being “What is God meaning to do through me?” and becomes “What do I think others expect of me?” or “What can I do to make others accept me?”
“Danger, Will Robinson! Danger.”
You see, when I am in my right mind, I know that I am a competent, useful, beneficial member of society. There are things I am doing well. By the grace of God, I am what I am, and it ain’t all bad. However, when the topic of New Year’s Resolutions comes up, the magnifying glass comes out and I see every.single.flaw. I see every single regret, every half-heartedness, and every missed opportunity. I see all the ways that I’m not excelling in the ways that YOU are. I play the comparison game.
And I always lose.
I bet you do, too.
There will always be someone who is memorizing more scripture, making more meals, exercising more regularly, giving more charitably, and making their house more Pinterest-worthy than you are. It is just true. And trying to beat them will tear you down. Trying to match them or imitate them doesn’t make me a “better me”: it makes me a “fake me”. I don’t do those things. I can’t do those things. When it comes to the comparison game we cannot win.
And we shouldn’t try.
So here is my New Year’s Resolution. And I suggest you take it on, too. I resolve to Get Real. I resolve to get to be the real me that the Lord intends. I intend to get really into the Word and to get really into prayer so that I can see what the Lord really expects and then to set my own expectations accordingly. His standard is what I need to attain. His measure is what I need to evaluate myself.
I may still look to you for advice and tips and pointers if what you are doing is something that the Lord is also calling me to. But I will not consider myself a success or a failure based on your level of success. I will Get Real and just really be me. And not even “me”, but the new and improved, transformed-by-the-Spirit me.
Do you see what I’m saying? And do you see that the resolutions may actually end up being harder than the ones you were planning on making? Because, if I’m being honest, my resolutions might have a lot to do with cutting out sugar, when the Lord is asking me to cut out selfishness, and that is much harder.
But do you also see that if it is the Lord’s will that you are looking to accomplish, he will enable you to do it? There is a hope-giving verse that says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24) Amazing! He has called me to what might be the most staggering set of resolutions yet.
Becoming Christ-like is no small order! But he is faithful. He will do it. For me. In me. Through me.
I might break my resolution to eat less sugar and exercise more, but if I keep my eyes fixed on Christ, and if I Get Real about doing what He requires (and receiving what He gives!), it will be the best year yet.
Barbara and her husband educate their seven children at home and have found that no two are the same! Barbara is currently writing a book about her battle with depression. In between lunches and lessons, Barbara blogs at www.barbarapostma.com