Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Resolve

My mom rarely makes promises so when she does, you can pretty much take it to the bank. She doesn't make 'em 'cause she knows life happens and she doesn't want to risk breaking her word. Her word is important to her and she wants it to mean something to others too. I feel the same way which is why I've never been too keen on making New Year's resolutions. Afterall that's basically a promise you make to yourself (or others, too, I suppose).

I tend to think that, for me, New Year's resolutions are a setup for failure. I'm very reluctant to risk breaking a promise to others yet I seem pretty careless about it when it comes to myself. In years past, I'd go into it with all sincerity and determination to succeed but usually by mid-February, I'd trip up and fall flat on my face. Then I'd pick myself back up and try, try again, but by spring I was done; the extra pounds still there, the new discipline not formed, the goal not reached. And I would feel like L.O.S.E.R. - Again. So I finally decided to stop doing that to myself. I decided that it's good to set goals (and January does give you that clean slate feeling) and to work hard to attain them but to tie them to a promise - even just to myself - was just not fair 'cause I know I don't show myself nearly the amount of grace that I would show someone else over their broken promise. But, with each January, still comes the question "To make a resolution or to not make a resolution?"

As I was driving today, I thought about the word itself. Resolution. Resolve. Somehow in my brain there's a bigger difference between the two words than one's a noun and the other, a verb. Maybe it's because of my experience with the words. Resolution seems kind of shallow to me. It's something I think up - a list of changes. But to resolve. Now, that's a little deeper. To me, to resolve, is a matter of the heart. There's conviction there. I thought of the Bible study I've been doing on Daniel. He resolved - do you remember?

In Daniel 1:8, after King Nebuchadnezzar had taken Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah captive (among others from Judah), "Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." (italics mine) Daniel felt personally convicted against eating anything that was considered unclean according to God's law. Not only that but he and his three friends were deeply convicted and...resolute...to stay true to their God in every way - no matter the consequences; and they suffered consequences.

Like I said earlier, January does bring this feeling of a fresh start and there are things I'd like to change - eat better, exercise more, blah, blah, blah. Then there are things that are closer to my heart - finding creative ways to spend quality time as a family; ensuring I have my time with the Lord and in His Word daily. These are very important to me. But is there something I resolve to do? Maybe there is but I think it comes more in the form of a prayer because it's a change that I can't make on my own; it's got to come from God.

I hesitate to share it for a couple of reasons. One, because it probably sounds kind of corny or cliche and two, because the last thing I want to do is come off sounding holier than thou or like some kind of phony but considering there are only maybe four of you that actually read this blog that I'm aware of, I guess it's a fairly safe risk. Besides the Lord is the judge of my heart. Anyway, I've resolved to seek God more than ever before, to give Him my whole heart and, to the best of my ability, not to hold anything back. I've struggled with giving certain things over to Him but like Beth Moore often says we can either bend our knees over a matter or God can bend 'em for us. While God is always loving even in His discipline, I think I'd still rather opt for the first one. I've never been a big fan of unnecessary discipline.

May you have a very safe and blessed New Year's. May you sense God's presence in your life greater this coming year than ever before and may He ignite a fresh fire in your spirit for Him.

Be blessed.


De Anna Morris said...

Wow, Melanie.
Thanks for sharing. You also reminded me of what God has already asked me to give Him...and it is the very thing that, when I fail, feel like a failure and cannot do what He has required of me...Thanks for being His gentle reminder that Yes, I can...with Him.

Blessings to you this New Year!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Thanks for sharing your heart about the resolutions of New Year's and the resolve of our hearts. I agree. There seems to be a chasm between the two. I was reading another post last week, and along with an "anchor verse", Pam @ In His Graces challenged us to come up with a "word" for our year.

Resolve was the first word I thought about. I suppose that God has confirmed it through you. More than anything, I resolve to pursue holiness in my heart and life this year; not like before, but with a firmer commitment to be more like Jesus in all that I do.

It's good to see you again. I don't "follow" blogs because, quite frankly, I'd spend all day on the computer! It's hard for me to remember where I've been, etc. So when readers stop by, I always try and do the same.

May God's abundant peace and presence be your portion as your resolve to live your life for him in the coming days. He is faithful to strengthen your steps and to take you to places you never imagined!


calista said...

Oh girl, you were saving everything up in your mind when you did your Daniel study!!!
Good job!