Every year, (I mean every year), I say, ‘This year I will not make New Year’s Resolutions.” (Which end up being false promises and short-sighted solutions to issues greater than this plan I am concocting can fix.)
And yet, I can’t resist. I tell friends and family and radio audiences and social media networks about dreams I have to read more, eat less, rest regularly, learn new skills. I can’t help it. The idea of being re-made into a better version of myself calls me every time.
There’s a reason for that. Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory.” Colossians and Romans both talk about our renewing of our mind and of our image. It’s how He made us, to be in a continual state of growing closer to how He created us. My New Year’s compulsions aren’t bad, just a little misguided if that self-evaluation only comes around once a year.
Shouldn’t there be a little bit of that longing (to be more than I am right now) in me each day? What would it look like if each day I started with a gut check. How today can I be more like Him?
One of my rather unrealistic New Year’s resolutions in 2015 is to learn Hebrew.
Who wants to guess how long that’s going to last? If I focus on the desired outcome (understanding God’s word and how it’s written in context) instead of the expressed goal (learn 3-5 phrases a week), I exponentially increase my chances of success. If I feel I couldn’t master a vocabulary list several weeks in a row, then I am more likely to give up, missing an opportunity for growth. Transformation doesn’t just happen; I don’t just suddenly speak Hebrew; there is a discipline involved, but it’s not about completing a task. It’s about making room, paving the road, putting myself in a posture prone to transformation. Then, I give the Holy Spirit ripe soil to do his work.
This New Year’s season, I am going to start a practice I hope to continue throughout the year. I am going to focus more on who I am being (or better yet, becoming), than what I am doing. I am going to challenge myself to be present for my family, in my faith, in my marriage, instead of overcommitting to events and relationships I won’t remember a year from now. I am going to wake up and ask how I am listening (instead of what I am saying). I am going to pray for wisdom (instead of accumulating knowledge). And so the list goes on. It’s a tall order, but one I hope is a part of a master plan my Master has planned to make me more like who He believes I can be.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Derek Key