“Where there is no vision, the people will perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I do like to launch each New Year with a sense of clarified vision.
Many of us believe our resolutions fail because we have “bitten off more than we can chew.” But the opposite is closer to the truth: our resolutions don’t go far enough. It’s not so much that our goals are difficult as that they are too limited in scope.
Consider the following January cliches: “Jog three miles a day.” “Lose ten pounds.” “Read a new book each week.” “No more yelling at my kids...” These kinds of ideas are resolved and failed in rapid succession by thousands upon thousands of well-meaning people. Maybe we're a part of that crowd...?
Simply put, goals like this remain mostly unattainable because they’re attempted outside the greater context of a unifying vision. In short, goals work better when they are subordinate to a deeper sense of purpose.
A pledge to healthy living is more likely to lead to daily exercise and lost pounds than “I resolve to lose weight.”
The spiritual discipline of simplicity will result in less waste than a promise to “spend less at the mall.”
A commitment to love my family is more effective than “less yelling….”
“Derek,” someone said to me at a recent party, “I bet your New Year’s resolution is get your column syndicated.”
Well, no. My goal at the beginning of this New Year is to own a renewed sense of faithfulness to God’s purpose for my life. I’d LOVE to reach more people via this column; but, outside the context of an authentic faith, it’s not important at all.
The specific goals that we tend to isolate each January are simply clues to a deeper and more complete story that remains to be told. Cosmetic resolutions fail to stand the test of time.
Deal with spiritual poverty, and the drinking will take care of itself.
Address depression, and overeating might not be such a temptation.
“Curse less in front of the kids” would become “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
It often takes fear, or adversity, or tragedy to shake our consciousness into the realm of what’s really important. But we don't have to wait for a reactive realignment of our souls; rather, we can chose to enter the New Year as Pilgrims in Progress.
My prayer for 2010 is this:
May we all turn our hearts, our wills, and our intentions to that which is consequential and solid.
May we remember not only who we are, but who we belong to.
May our faithfulness be evident.
And may we live in terms of the purpose for which we were created.
Take on a resolution like that, and the details will take care of themselves.