Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to look back at the year behind us and evaluate how it went. Did we keep our resolutions? Did we accomplish all that we hoped to do beginning last January 1st?
Just for fun I went and dug out some of my old diaries and tried to see if I wrote down all of the resolutions I remember making when I was younger. I found one from 1982 (I was 16) and here was my list of resolutions:
1. Practice piano every day.
2. Have devotions every day.
3. Do exercises and run 1 mile every day.
4. Be a lot nicer to Johnna and Jill. [my sisters]
5. Keep our room clean.
(6. Not to crack my knuckles!)
January 2’s entry admitted “I haven’t kept any of my resolutions today. I didn’t practice piano, (I did have devotions,) I didn’t exercise or run a mile, I didn’t act good to J & J & I did crack my knuckles.”
The years since then have been pretty much the same. I have kept and broken new year’s resolutions with varying degrees of success and failure. As I’ve gotten older I find my list of resolutions getting shorter and shorter because I don’t want to admit failure when I don’t keep them.
I think the new year is a good time to look at our lives and make some goals to improve how we’re living in the year ahead, but the idea of doing something “every day” is perhaps a bit unrealistic.
As I look at the year ahead I do have some goals. I’d like to read the Bible all the way through again this year. I haven’t done that for quite a few years. I’d like to eat better and exercise regularly – so I’ll be more healthy (and hopefully some extra pounds will come off in the process). I’d like to pace myself and do things when they need to get done instead of waiting until the last minute way too often. Maybe if I get more of my work done at the beginning of the year I’ll have more time to write a novel during NaNoWriMo in November.
The word that keeps coming to me as I think about the New Year and resolutions and goals is “perseverance”. I have a bit of a problem with that concept. I tend to give up on projects too quickly, or I do them at the last minute and they aren’t as good as they could have been. I also find myself wanting to give up on life itself when I get discouraged by failure and fear. Yes, you read that correctly. Maybe as a Christian I shouldn’t admit that. “The joy of the Lord is my strength”, you know. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Those verses are true and I believe them…eventually.
For some reason I’ve gotten into a pattern of first thinking the worst when I’m under stress or when I feel overwhelmed with life. I find myself thinking that I’d rather not go on, that life isn’t worth it, that I’m useless and don’t deserve to live.
There was a time when I worried about these feelings and thought I was suicidal, but now I see them more as my poor coping mechanism. I would never take my own life. I love my family and friends and I love God and I’m thankful for the life He’s given me.
In recent years I’ve been learning more and more about emotions, faith, stress, depression and many other subjects. God has been teaching me to turn more and more toward Him when I fail, instead of collapsing in despair. As I look at the year ahead I want my number one resolution to be: Keep trying!
I want to train my mind so that my first thought isn’t “get me out of here!” when I fail or undergo a stressful situation. I’m sure I will have many opportunities to practice as I go into the new year.
The Bible gives us many good verses about “perseverance” and I want to close by sharing a few of them with you:
Hebrews 12:1b – “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
James 1:3-4 – “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Hebrews 10:36 – “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man [or woman] who perseveres under trial, because when he [or she] has stood the test, he [or she] will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
My dear sisters, as we go into the new year I pray that you, too, will “keep trying!”
© Robyn Mulder 2006, therobynsnest.org