So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NRS)
Resolutions are great, except for when they aren’t. Sure, they serve a good purpose for setting priorities, opening new horizons and creating positive change. Yet, if we feel we fall short they also come with a side-dish of guilt, something that parents of children with special needs cope with constantly anyway. So what’s the solution to keeping a New Year’s resolution?
Bing Crosby had some good advice “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” In accentuating the positive, I started choosing a variety of goals for the New Year. I choose one thing I’d like to learn, one habit I’d like to change, and one challenge goal that is my personal moon shot for the year. One year my “learning” and “challenging” resolution were one in the same. I learned to scuba dive despite being claustrophobic and uncomfortable in the water. Plus, the movie Jaws left an indelible mark on my psyche as a child. Approaching it this way, accentuating the positive, resolutions have become fun, plus I have a whole year to achieve them. I’ve learned how to do things that had lingered on my list of, “someday I would like to…,” I’ve eliminated some bad habits and created healthier ones, and I’ve tested limits and been surprised by what I can do.
It’s the “eliminating the negative” that is the real challenge when it comes to resolutions. We all fight that voice of doubt that says, “No, you can’t.” Some days we miss the mark, and guilt sets in. We can eliminate the negative by offering ourselves a measure of grace. It takes forty days to make a new habit, or break an old one for good. It’s okay to have a bit of trial and error along the way. The main thing is that we can trust in Paul’s words to the Corinthians. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” That is the true and ultimate new you. The best resolution we’ve all made is to become followers of Christ. That is the most important “new you” any of us will ever be. How we celebrate that new creation is important, but when we fall short of perfection in resolutions we can trust that grace abounds.
So how did I do on my 2016 resolutions? I nailed two out of three, and grace abounds.
It is not too late to start a resolution on the second week of January. The year has not been “ruined” by missing a week already. There is still plenty of time to learn, explore, and succeed.
Renewing God, remind us again of how you make all things new. Open our eyes to new possibilities and shape us to be who you call us to be. Amen
Happy New Year, and happy new you!