thoughts on newness and resolving

These days I don’t make official New Year’s Resolutions.  There is nothing so paralysing as my own expectations of myself.  I like to think of having hopes, dreams, intentions.

But if I’m honest, there’s always a giant To Do List in my head and at the beginning of the year, after Christmas is over and there is a sense of starting – yes, it does gain more weight.  Something in the mentality of the season, together with the usual break from the ordinary in late December, means that I return home with a mind unusually geared up for action.

Some of the things on the To Do List are rather trivial and hardly worthy of a New Year’s Resolution (NYR), such as ‘must clean out that drawer’.  Other hopes/dreams/intentions are rather more profound: ‘I would like to be more courageous/wise/disciplined’.  All, of course, are personal in some degree, because they are within my sphere of influence.  ‘Achieve world peace’ would be rather unobtainable since I am not the only person on earth.  However, I can think about how I interact with family and friends.  I think about what I choose to say or not say.  When I choose to stand up, when I choose to sit down.

As I noted in the last edition of our church magazine, I rather like the idea of prayers for the year rather than resolutions.  And certainly, it gives a different emphasis.  ‘Dear Lord, I would like more courage/wisdom/discipline this year,’ has a degree of co-operation involved, no longer a lonely pursuit but a conscious decision to ask for help.  Or as the wise man once said in a rowing boat – you can row and pray at the same time.  The two are complimentary.

So, although wary of making NYRs, I do have a gentle bundle of intentions.  Of hopes.  Of prayers.  And the word ‘New’ carries a certain sense of possibility.  I went through a stage a couple of years ago when I pondered the nature of potential and worried that left on the shelf too long, covered in the dust of years, it shrivels into nothing.

Such a thought did not hold in the long term, since it doesn’t fit with my worldview.  I believe in a God who redeems, a God who is constantly taking things off the shelf and transforming them into something beautiful. The potential you left behind may take a different shape now, but with a bit of imagination, who knows what it will be? Even if it’s been left there for years.

You may just need a bigger duster.

Of course, pondering the nature of newness, I remind myself that ‘his mercies are new every morning’, and I certainly don’t have to wait until January 1st to consider how great is the faithfulness of YHWH, the great I-AM, always was, always is, always will be.

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5 thoughts on “thoughts on newness and resolving

  1. Lucy, you have written what resonates in my spirit. I couldn't have expressed any other way, thank you for having the courage to speak on behalf of the minority who choose not to be of the crowd but to 'come away'.As you continue to go deeper and to go higher into his presence, may the spirit of revelation and wisdom, the great 'I AM' himself increase to you knowledge and understanding of who he is…Ephesians 1:15-23No thing is wasted but every detail is precious to him who is faithful right here, right now, he is 'I AM'

  2. Thank you Lora, and thank you anonymous – you remind me of someone but I wouldn't want to call you by the wrong name, just in case! I love using Ephesians 1:15ff as a prayer for others.

  3. A great post – the resolution thing is fraught with problems – I WILL lose weight, I WILL spend more time in Bible Study, I WILL visit my elderly neighbour more – if we try and fail, it is so easy to get waylaid with guilt. And as you point out, you are not the only person in the world, and the actions of others affect even our best resolves.But we have a faithful God and Romans 8;28 is forever true.Two questions re 2011 – will you be in Blackpool in April and/or Northampton in October? Hope to see you somewhere along the way!

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