Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Resolutions are so 2014, or, why you fail at improving yourself

We love to make new commitments to some sort of new "us-es" every year about this time.  Standing of the precipice of a fresh start there is this compulsion to say, "This year will be different."  Yet, all the studies about these well intentioned resolutions(citation needed) seem to indicate that we pretty much break them all by the time the first week has rolled by. 

Try going to the gym on January 2nd(not the first because the "resolutioners" will be hung over on the 1st) and see how packed it is.  Compare that to the 22nd of January.  You will notice something very interesting.  The gym is very sparsely populated in comparison.  If you are a regular gym goer to-er you hate the first week of a new year because a bunch of knuckleheads will be horning in on your space not knowing how to properly use any of the equipment, nor will they re-rack what they use. 

People quit on their resolutions so easily because; 1) They set unrealistic goals for themselves(never ran since 8th grade gym, this year...MARATHON), 2) It is nice to admit to having a problem that you should fix without actually doing anything(because, hey, knowing is half the battle and just admitting to it makes me a better person....right??) and most importantly, 3) Each time we fail we accept that we are failures and so stop trying lest we get reminded of our failures.

This final one is the most important one to understand.  Our fear of failing, of feeling worthless and unworthy, makes it easier to just quit.  If we quit, we never failed.....or something like that..... How many times have you told yourself, or, heard from others;

I could lose the weight if I tried, but I am fine like this.....

It was a silly idea anyways, I don't have time for that......

I have better things to do.....

At the bottom of each of those statements when it relates to our put aside resolutions is a heart that is desperately worried about being perceived as a failure.  Each time we don't achieve IMMEDIATE success or results we believe that we CAN'T do it.  And in fear of confirming it, we drop it. 

Our broken hearts cry out for affirmation and encouragement.  But the world, and our perception of failures, cause us to shut down. 

Did you know that after each night a fresh morning awaits?  No matter how far you fell yesterday, today is now, and tomorrow is gone.  In Lamentations 3:22-23 we are told, "The Steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are NEW EVERY MORNING"  And in 1 Corinthians 6:11 we are reminded, "And that is what some of you WERE.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of Jesus" 

As you face this upcoming year...get ready to fail.  Maybe tonight.  Most likely before the end of the first weekend of January.  But here is the promise.  It doesn't matter.  Your failures, your sins, your mistakes, those were what you WERE.  Each fresh day is a reminder that the faithfulness of the Lord is great, that his mercies are FRESH every morning. 

Don't miss that....FRESH EVERY MORNING.  There is no qualifier attached to that.  It isn't, "Fresh every long as you did pretty good yesterday."  The hope of the Gospel is that in Christ we are no longer our failures, even the ones that just occurred.  New mercies are here, and new hope has sprung forth. 

So in 2015, don't make a New Years resolution.  Because you will fail.  Make a resolution each moment to keep going even when you fail, because each moment you are standing on the precipice of something wonderful and new. 

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