Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 Has Got To Be Good

As I have aged, I have become a smidgen more pessimistic regarding New Year's Resolutions. I don't like to admit it, but I have. I was once optimistic about setting new goals, but I suppose after 20 or so years of not living up to them, I'm tired of it. However, I can not deny that I am a goal oriented person and that God has every intention of letting me use that part of my personality for His glory. I guess what I am getting at is that I shouldn't let the past failures predict my future behavior. There's no hope in that, right? But, really, New Year's Resolutions bother me.

I looked it up on Wikipedia, that great source of internet trivia, and discovered that it can be related to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, where persons reflect upon the past year and make amends for and forgive wrongs.

What disturbs me about resolutions is that they seem self-centered and thereby shallow. The whole idea of self-improvement is somewhat tasteless when it is solely focused on what I want. I know I am not a perfect person, and I would never presume to say that God has nothing for me to work on. What I desire is a deeper goal. Something that I have worked out with God in order that I may know Him more fully.

Here is an interesting post along these lines. The writer's point is that resolutions are often framed wrong. It's not that self-improvement is wrong, it is that "They make no reckoning with the power of our passions" And then, "propose self-dependent solutions – “I resolve to do xyz to change myself.” (Please read this article!)

Then we have do it ourselves. I for one am pretty fickle in terms of my self-will, which will usually not sustain me through the completion of my goals. (Hence my hesitance to make a resolution.) And then if I have done it myself (should I succeed) where is the message that God gives power and mercy to those who obey and love Him?

After all this reading and research I feel pretty good about my resolution. It is simply that I want to live more for Christ and less for myself.


Ashley Bartley said...

Great post Jess, very encouraging.

Jessie said...

Thank you, Ashley. I appreciate your comment. For a while I thought I might have been going off the deep end, you know?