Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Unifying Vision of New Year Promise - Christmas Day Nine

“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.

Love and blessings - always - DEREK

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