Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Real Deal About New Years Resolutions:

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

Christmas is all over.  The floor is lined with remnants of brightly colored paper and curly ribbons.  The anticipation of giving and receiving has subsided.  The sun of this year has slowly set, and we await the dawning of the new year. 

The New Year.  For most, this brings a sense of excitement.  A new beginning of sorts.  A time to refresh, reshape, reprioritize, and rethink the goals of the past. 

But for the forgotten others, the New Year may bring with it a sense of failure.  It may bring with it the disappointment that comes with things hoped for that were not accomplished, things prayed for that were not answered, things dreamed that did not come to pass.  For many, it brings a sense of regret.  Things promised that were not followed through, things started that were not finished, things done that cannot be erased. 

I recently met a woman who dreaded this time of year, loaded with the nonsense of New Years Resolutions.  The time of year when we fool ourselves into thinking that we’ve started fresh. The time of year where we lie to ourselves, trying to believe we have the power to accomplish what we cannot.  The time of year where we set high expectations that can never be accomplished.  The time of year where we set ourselves up for one thing alone- failure. 

There is something pessimistically honest about her perspective.  There is something refreshing hidden beneath the negativity and despair of her statement.  Because, you see, in many ways she is right. 

When we begin to view our success and accomplishments as our sole responsibility- failure is inevitably right around the corner.  There is only so much our feeble humanity can accomplish.  Only so much we can dream, only so much we can try, only so much we can hope.  Only so much we can fail…without growing weary.  Whether we come to this conclusion early in life, or whether we are enlightened the moment before our eternal departure- this one truth we cannot avoid facing: our human limitation. 

Though, unlike this woman, this does not bring me despair- rather, it causes me to rejoice.  It causes me to find freedom from the burdens of accomplishment that I tend to place upon my shoulders.  It causes me bring my chains of human expectation before a God who holds the keys of ultimate sovereignty in His hands.  It causes me to rest in the truth that I am in His care, remembering that the great things He began in me will not be neglected.

It may tarry, but it will come.  It might not be in our limited perspective of time, and it might not be before the new year, but one thing is certain:

He who began a good work in you, will complete it. 

Friends, may your failures and your regrets be replaced with new hope, freedom, and a renewed sense of anticipation as you await the completion of His great works in your life.  Amen.

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