We’re nearly 2 weeks into the new year and the vast majority of New Years resolutions have fallen by the wayside. The new faces at the gym have disappeared, new diets have crashed, we are hopelessly behind on our devotional plans. That’s not unusual, resolutions historically aren’t so resolute.
However, the interesting thing to me is the question behind them. We are responding to a prompt or a call, a desire to address a problem area, or a pull forward into needed growth. The catalyst that leads to the resolution remains long after the resolution is forgotten. It’s vital that we not forget the catalyst, too.
The focus word we discussed is different from a resolution because there’s no failure, perceived or otherwise, involved. If we’ve not decided on a word, we can do it now. If we have one, and haven’t moved towards it, towards making it a part of our lives, we don’t have to wait for next January, we can pay attention tonight, right now. We’ve been prompted, called, given a desire, whether we act on it doesn’t change the fact that the Spirit moved in us.
I’ll often begin long discussions with myself to talk myself out of this reality. Maybe it was just me, a delusion, vanity, maybe I was following a trend, heard somebody say something on a podcast, or a Sunday sermon, maybe it was indigestion. But it probably wasn’t God, right?
Why do I do that? Maybe you do, too, and maybe our answers are very very different, as different as we are, but I’m thinking that instinct is, and has always been, misguided, grounded in a misunderstanding of our value.
The prophet Samuel had to be called several times before he could acknowledge that it was actually the God of the Universe saying his name. I wonder how many fishermen and tax collectors Jesus had to ask to “follow me,” before the 12 came to grips that He wanted them, was asking them on purpose.
Sometimes we don’t continue on this path because we don’t think we’re worth the time and energy and care to give to our own growth. We are what we are, and we’ll always be. I used to think that way, but it’s strange, the more time I spend in the Scriptures, the more I’m convinced of His love for me. And for you, no matter who I am or who you are. The seeming conflict in that – that we are all loved so extravagantly, like we are His very favorite – makes us big and small. It fills us with confidence and humility. We understand that the refrigerator is His and our picture is on it. Mine, yours, everyone’s, picture is on it. He’d die for us, why is it so hard to believe He’d want to spend time or call us into the life He promises, the life He created us to live?
So, maybe your devotional calendar says January 3, skip ahead to the today, 13, and start again. Then start again when you get behind. Go back to the gym, make dinner a good one, reach out, connect, go to bed early, turn your phone off, whatever is sticking in your heart. Listen to that, listen to Him. You are loved beyond reason or limit. And maybe you did make it up, maybe it was dehydration, and that’s ok, too. Start anyway. As Paul writes in Romans, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” And remember, we’re worth it, and I know because He says we are.