Today, if you hear his voice

Ben White's Adventures with softened hearts

Resolving not to suck sucks

candle I love New Years resolutions.  Any opportunity to change is my favorite, because my whole life is about transformation.  Walking the narrow way that Jesus recommends to us requires some healthy self evaluation on a regular basis.  I spent some time in my twenties “just trying to do better,” constantly plagued by a dissatisfaction I couldn’t shake.  I wanted to live up to my potential.  I wanted to serve God in a big way.  It wasn’t until I got specific about how I needed to change and what I would do to change that I got out of a cycle of self defeating criticism that crippled my capacity.

We can’t just resolve not to suck anymore.  A vague sense of dissatisfaction is deadly for the plans that God has for us.  Feeling bad about ourselves for our sin or our shortcomings usually makes us sin more and come up even shorter.  Shame cycles us into inaction and in our idleness we are rendered inert and evil prevails in us and in the realms that we might have triumphed (I’m sounding really conquistador-ish here). Exposing our darkness and our weakness to God’s healing light is the best way to escape cycles of self -defeating shame and move forward.  This requires identification of specific patterns that we would like to change.  How do you think you suck?  (Saying you suck at anything probably isn’t very self-loving- just for the record).

candle onAnd that’s why I love New Year’s resolutions.  Just making the resolution exposes whatever the opposite pattern may be to the light.  For example, I resolve to not hit the snooze button in 2015.  This reveals my laggardly waking habits and resultant abridgment of prayer time.  I want to change that.  I’m seizing the opportunity to change my behavior.  The Roman calendar is an arbitrary but for some reason very motivating event for me.  In 2015 I will not suck at waking up!  I have a couple of other resolutions because I really like to pile them on.  Luckily, Lent, a much less arbitrary event, comes on February 18th, and if I’ve failed at any of them by then (which I certainly will) I will be ready for a reset.

3 Comments

  1. I love Resolutions too. I make goals with subgoals and steps for each goal. Even when I don’t follow them I love just thinking about plans of action because it reminds me how much I enjoy life and want to get better at it. My life goals are always “patience” and “presence” because I think this is where I “suck” the most. I always try to make sure my resolutions, disciplines, goals, etc. help me to work on these. This year I’m resolving to garden. Even if I only get around to taking care of ONE plant and actually keep it alive through the season, I’ll consider it a success.

  2. Reblogged this on Circle of Hope and commented:
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