Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I used to. I was the kind of person that spent weeks deciding and evaluating the pros and cons of each resolution (in other words, could I accomplish it or not), and faithfully narrowed down the list to the most important areas of concern. My life back then needed work, and by golly, I was going to ‘fix’ it.
Fast forward to the here & now. My life still needs work. I’ve spent years pouring through self-help books, listening to all the ‘you can fix it’ gurus, and making list after list of my deficits. Do you know what I learned through all of that? I’m broken and I can’t fix me. But I have learned a thing or two along the way…
I’ve learned that New Year’s resolutions are media created. They are designed to focus a person’s attention of areas of his/her life that are less than desirable. An old media rule of thumb: first, point on a need that creates stress, magnify it, and then sell the solution. If you watch TV at all, you know the pressure society puts on you to be thin, young, and beautiful. Instead of looking at our physical failings, wouldn’t it make more sense to put a little of that focus on our spiritual needs?
If you could go out and buy a solution to any of your problems, how much would you be willing to pay for it? Everything has a cost, nothing comes free. Trouble is, folks are more willing to part with their money than they are willing to give up their time. Have you noticed that folks will devote an enormous amount of time to work themselves silly in a job, only to spend the money on ways to relax or to de-stress? Makes me wonder just what god they are relying on to ‘fix’ their problem.
We can’t ‘fix’ our lives by ourselves. Money can’t ‘fix’ our lives either. When Adam & Eve sinned, mankind became broken. God is the only One who can fix us up and put us back together. Will our lives become carefree and perfect afterwards? No. What we have trouble understanding is that we weren’t put on this earth to have a carefree life. That life comes later when we are in the presence of Him. We are here to grow, learn, and bring glory to God our Creator. He can and will help us along the way. That concept always sounds good, but the inevitable question is: “What do I get out of it?” In light of all eternity, we have a patience level of less than a minute. Three facts that we have to place firmly in our minds: 1) God isn’t a magic genie, 2) rewards come in time, and 3) it's not all about me/you.
Honey and I made a ‘resolution of sorts’ back at the beginning of last year. Come what may, we were going South for the winter (this winter). As it so happened 2009 was a very difficult year for us. We have never worked so hard, or stayed so focused, on a goal as we did last year. Just when we would get to the point where we thought, “OK, it’s going to happen”, something or someone would knock our feet out from under us and we would be back on our faces in front of God. But, despite the aggravation and frustration, that hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing. We have learned much about relying on God to provide, about how to use the setbacks for His glory, and about how to patiently wait on Him. We haven’t perfected this by any stretch of the imagination; it’s a daily struggle. But we are learning. I believe without a doubt that we will be going home to see family & friends before too long. I have no idea when; but it will happen. God has used these setbacks to minister to at least one family and possibly more. (But that’s a story that I’m going to leave for Honey to tell.) We just do our best to use God’s blessings for His glory and learn to wait on Him. God is in control. The setbacks wouldn’t have happened unless He allowed them to. That means there is a reason for the delay. When He clears the path, we can go through … not until. I’m OK with that knowledge. Our circumstance is broken, but God is in control. While I wait on the Lord, I am going to draw closer to Him, push myself to develop the gifts & talents that He gave me, and watch for opportunities. I guess you can say that my resolution for the New Year is to give my brokenness to God and wait on Him.
What's your New Year's resolution? If you and/or your circumstances are broken, try drawing closer to God, do the best you can, then patiently wait on Him. You may be surprised at how He uses your brokenness for His glory.
Have a good night, and may the Lord bless you.