He bounced into the kitchen with a double dose of his usual enthusiasm and optimism. Good heavens. It was far too early for both.
Guess what, Mom!
I couldn’t imagine. His head still sported some impressive bedhead. Seriously impressive.
You decided to forego personal grooming?
He didn’t find my answer amusing. So I conceded to his little guessing game.
I don’t know. What? I waited. This was going to be good.
I’ve decided on my New Year’s resolution. I’ve decided that for the next year, I’m going to talk less. That’s my New Year’s resolution.
And then he proceeded to spend NEARLY THIRTY MINUTES telling me all about it.
For the love. Somebody save me.
It’s now been a good half-dozen years since my outgoing son’s resolution. And I can assure you he talks more than the rest of the members of our family. Combined. God love him, if I ever lose 100% of my ability to speak, he’ll have zero trouble engaging in a one-way conversation (and I couldn’t love him more for it).
Now, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions for a minute. Currently, my inbox is inundated with emails from retailers and bloggers and booksellers making sweeping promises of a better business, a better life, a better me. “New Year, New YOU!” they assure. “3o Days to THIS” and “6 Months to THAT.” Sure, I want both THIS and THAT. But I have a hard time believing those things will make me happy.
Why? Because I’ve had THIS and THAT, and I still didn’t have ENOUGH.
Maybe this is why I’m a New Year’s Resolution Rebel. I think the concept is okay, the intentions good. Resolutions promise the world but typically deliver dissatisfaction. They remind us of what we want, what we lack, what we think we need in order to be happy, fulfilled and satisfied.
But even when we lose those 10 pesky pounds or run that half-marathon or keep to that strict diet or write that book, we still don’t like who we are. Because we can’t keep to those things 100% of the time. We fail and fall, more often than we’d like. And so our resolutions often do little more than resolve us to a feeling of inescapable inadequacy.
Then again, maybe New Year’s Resolutions aren’t all that bad. Maybe, they’re merely incomplete. Perhaps all those resolutions would be far more effective and far less discouraging if we recognized the one resolution we need more than all the others:
A Resolution to Know Who You Are Because of Who God is
In other words, to discover and believe what God already says to be true about you. Before you shed those pounds or take that job or run that race. That way, regardless of what you achieve or miss in 2017, your self-perception doesn’t dwindle. Instead, your identity remains intact. This ONE SECRET keeps all your resolutions in proper perspective, earthly perspective. Because your divine, eternal identity is established and unshakeable, irregardless of what you do or don’t accomplish.
Who you are has never been about what you do, how you look or who you do life with.
It’s about who God says you’ve always been, from the beginning.
Chosen, wanted, loved, saved, rescued, redeemed, worth coming back for.
So how do you and I turn this nice-sounding theology into life-changing daily practice?
- Identify the lies. It’s not hard to spot the lies, if you slow down long enough to look. It’s the hissing whisper in your ear that taunts you about your failures, your lacking, the many ways you don’t measure up. It’s the personal, pervasive and permanent thought spirals that are so easy to slip into and believe. Especially when a day (or a life) doesn’t turn out quite like you planned.
- Discover the truth. This is a bit tougher, because it requires you and I to push against our automatic inclination to follow that negative, spiraling thought trail. That means we need to turn our backs on the lies and dig for truth. Thank heavens, we have 66 books of the Bible where God goes to great length to reassure us of His purposes, His presence and His love.
- Pray for grace to see the first and believe the second. I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that this battle won’t be fought and won overnight (you already know that). The good news is God never expected us to do it alone. Bend your knees, pray for an outpouring of His grace, and watch—with anticipation!—as He exchanged the painful, deep-rooted lies with His powerful, peace-giving truth.
- Walk this out in a circle of trusted friends. Sure, you and I could work this out in isolation day after day. We’d make some progress, no doubt about it. But something otherworldly happens when God’s people come together to follow Him. I’m more convinced of this now than ever before. We need each other. So how about you find a friend, spouse, small group, neighbor to walk through this journey arm-in-arm? Big changes happen best in relationship.
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