Hi friends! Happy New Year!
Oh, wait. We’re over three weeks into the new year. (How’d that even happen?) This is the point when resolutions are starting to waver…or just flat out crash and burn, right? Unless, of course, you’re like me, in which case you haven’t even made resolutions yet.
I’ve been planning on making some good new year’s decisions, I really have. But with family visits, a month-long sickness (no joke), work at the newspaper going crazy, and Netflix binge-watching with the best friend on the weekends, coming up with resolutions hasn’t happened. Part of the problem is also that I’m an idealistic perfectionist, so I can’t just make resolutions on the fly. I have to sit down and think them up and probably write about them and feel that I’ve made them. If I can’t, it doesn’t happen.
But here’s the other part of being an idealistic perfectionist–I’m terrible with resolutions. I have grandiose ideas of what I want to do. I’ll tell myself that I’m going to read so many books, write everything I want to write, do so many Bible studies, practice my Spanish, lose weight, eat better, exercise more, get enough sleep…you get the idea. But I never do much of anything to break those big goals into small or realistic steps. So if I can’t accomplish them in huge leaps and bounds, I don’t do them at all. When I make resolutions, they crash and burn almost immediately.
Still, I do try to make some resolutions or at least have a few ideas to remind myself of the things I want to accomplish and work on through the year. One thing I did last year was an idea I took from Nicole—pick a word of the year. My word last year was “follow.” I knew that I’d be graduating from college, going back home, and trying to find a job. I knew that things would be more uncertain than anything I’d dealt with in the past. And I knew I would have to trust God and follow His will, His plan, His adventure for my life. That simple word was a huge challenge, inspiration, and encouragement to me throughout the year.
So I thought: “why not choose a word for 2017?” The problem was, I couldn’t choose! “Follow” still seemed so appropriate in so many ways, since I’m pretty up in the air about any long-term future plans. “Discipline,” “adventure,” “submit,” “content,” “abide”…all good words, all with lots of meaning for me, but nothing seemed to be clicking as the right word.
I’ve been trying to make the perfect resolutions, trying to find the perfect word…then it hit me. That’s not ultimately what I need.
I don’t just need resolutions. I need a revolution. And I don’t just need a word. I need the Word.
Let me explain. My best friend, Marissa, has this habit of referring to resolutions as “revolutions.” (It’s not because she doesn’t know the right word, it’s just a funny family quirk.) At first I just thought it was fun–then I realized how important and awesome it is.
A “resolution” is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” We make resolutions because we want to make changes, and by George, we are going to make them. Until about three weeks later, when our motivation and dedication tend to falter, anyway…
A “revolution” is “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” (It’s absurdly ironic that I’m listening to “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton as I type this. I’m also very tempted to turn on Les Mis. Do you hear the people sing… Oh goodness I’m such a Broadway nerd. Getting back on track…) So, what does that have to do with anything?
Here’s the point: A resolution is me gritting my teeth and saying “I am going to do this!” A revolution is a change of who’s in control.
We can make decisions, but we usually don’t have enough strength to carry them out. We mess up. A lot. Especially when trying to better ourselves. Especially when trying to sin less or serve God better. Want to know why? Because we’re trying to muscle our way through and make it happen in our own strength. Just ask Paul how that works out (Romans 7:18-25). We simply don’t have the strength to do it on our own.
That’s why we need a revolution. When I’m trying to do everything in my strength, I’m letting my sinful self be in charge. There needs to be a “forceful overthrow” of our inner “social order in favor of a new system.” We need to execute our proud, teeth-gritting, self-dependent sinful nature (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5). We’re not sufficient, we’re not good enough, we’re not able, in and of ourselves…“but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). We need a new system–one where the King is in charge (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-18). That way, He can be our strength, and in His power, we have all we need to live as we should (2 Peter 1:3). This is the revolution through the power of the Word (John 1:1-5).
We can make resolutions, but without the revolution of letting God throw down our sinful self and take control, those resolutions won’t get us far. We can pick a word for the year, but without the Word of God–Jesus Himself and His written Word–controlling our lives, it won’t accomplish anything worthwhile.
So yes, I do have resolutions for the year. I want to write: posting on this blog weekly, working on two books, and keeping up with/trying to publish smaller projects. I want to be healthier: eat smaller portions and less junk, maybe find time to exercise more, hopefully lose some weight. I want to be faithful in studying my Bible each day.
But more than those resolutions, I want the revolution of God being in control so that my writing is for Him, my health is for Him, and especially the time I spend in His Word each day is to know Him better.
And yes, I do have a word for the year. Kadima. It’s Hebrew for “forward.” (I got it from a cool scene in the TV series The Flash, not from the liberal Israeli political party of the same name. Just throwing that out there…)
Forward. Forward in my writing, forward in my still up-in-the-air life, forward in my relationship with God. Forward in the revolution.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
So, friends, have you made any resolutions? Do you have a word for the year or anything similar? How’s 2017 starting for you? And how will you move forward with those ideas in terms of this revolution? Give me your feedback in the comments!