I want to talk about those pesky resolutions. Why? Because it’s January, and like every other fool on the planet we’ve all decided that this year is THE year that changes are going to happen. The potato sack of expectations that weighs almost as much as you do has been precariously stacked on top of your shoulders. The winding, mostly foggy path lay ahead. We adjust our clothing, straighten our hats, and double check the clasps holding that lumpy bag o’ resolutions to our bodies.
I am going to call this the cycle of crazy. Yep. I said it. Cycle. Of. Crazy. Every year we put together this list—and we think that each one of us is going to turn into the instant superman (or woman) of resolutions and stand on our mountain of glory eating perfectly boiled and cream cheese mashed potatoes. It’s time for a reality check. It’s time to be honest with ourselves and come face to face with the Maker of our hopes and dreams and desires. It’s time to take that ever lengthening list that magically appears every January and set it on fire at the feet of Jesus. Get your matchbooks out, folks.
Let me explain.
God, Jesus, the Spirit of the Living Word—HE WANTS YOU TO BE HAPPY. Repeat that out loud. “Jesus wants me to be happy.” He also wants you to be polished and refined and unafraid to get your elbows dirty; he wants you to change for the better as well…hence the overwhelming list of crazy that you thought was a grand idea. But I believe in my heart that Jesus wants you to be practical in your leap of faith. Instead of flying oxygen free through the universe like the Green Lantern to some far away planet where you rescue whatever person in distress all the while looking AMAZING with your svelt, 24 inch waist and bulging biceps, put your feet solidly on the ground. Bend your knees and open your hands. Press your knees into the floor and reach up to the Changer of Lives and ask him to help you with that bag of scattered potatoes lying somewhere behind you on the floor. Talk to him. It should go a little something like this.
Jesus—I want change in my life. I want positivity. I want (list your wants here): weight loss, healthier habits, stronger will power…I want to read my Bible every day (or longer every day), I want to keep my laundry done, my garden in order, my car clean…I want to finish my degree, travel the world, learn a new language….
The thing is, Jesus already knows the desires of your heart, but he just LOVES when you share them with him anyway. It opens communication and deepens your relationship. Instead of furiously scribbling out a list, sit with Jesus and make the list together. He knows a thing or two about changing lives. Jesus also knows your limits—when to push them and when to slow your stride. Don’t you think he can help you prioritize and whittle down that list of New Year’s resolutions? (maybe bake up a batch of mashers, too) Don’t feel defeated, please. There is a positive twist to this. The best part about slow and steady change is that throughout the year (instead of all at once at the beginning) you can add new goals. (Slow and steady finishes the course.) New goals equal greater accomplishments.
Let’s focus. Jesus wants you to gain discipline, but he doesn’t want you to overwhelm yourself, stress yourself out, or run into that crazy and overwhelming cycle of I CAN’T DO IT!” Jesus doesn’t want you to give up and fall apart, scattering your sanity to the closest wind tunnel. Failure is going to happen once in a while, but with his help, you won’t get crushed underneath that list of resolutions, AKA that overwhelming mound of potatoes falling from the sack you tried to stack on top of yourself. Jesus wants you to succeed, to do more than you thought possible, and to allow him to refine you, making you into a pretty super (almost heroic) kind of person. But for that to happen, you’re going to have to let go of that list…that sack of potatoes.
Take that list that you made and burn it. Yep. Burn it. Toss it. Whatever it takes. And make a new list while sitting in the presence of your Savior, Jesus Christ; death defying, soul protecting, life giving, all seeing, more amazing than Superman himself, Jesus. When your list is done, take his hand, and side by side, jump into the New Year—take that leap of faith—sans potato sack – and change your life, one goal at a time.
“The forest didn’t start as a plethora of full grown trees…it was grown one small seed at a time, under great heat and pressure, until at last each seedling broke through the earth, reaching up toward the light of life.”
My New Year’s resolution is this: to take all of my goals, all of my hopes, all of my dreams and desires, and to place them at the feet of Jesus. Only he can remove the debilitating stressors of unhappiness and failure and pick me up. Only he can clear the path ahead of me, no matter how rocky, that will bring positive change into my life. Only he can change my perspective. Only he knows how much I can handle and what is most important for me to change first. Because only he knows how many potatoes I can truly carry. (smile)
Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire. Give yourself to the Lord; trust in him, and he will help you.