It’s here and now at TCW that we chat resolutions. There’s something so freeing about a fresh start – who doesn’t love a chance to shed the weight, start using a planner (for real this time), up water intake, become a better listener, or say no to snooze?
A new year stirs the soul and invites change, but though inspiration strikes and we thrill in new-found motivation, our resolve to BE BETTER tends to fizzle out. Discouragement and despondency settle in. And for those of us who make up the majority of classic Resolution Fizzlers, I’ve realized our goals are lacking the absolutely necessary foundation; the foundation that, in fact, should be another (if not the only) resolution we have:
Whatever the desires of your heart, whatever the ambitions, the dreams, the bad habits we try to tackle every January 1st, we need more Jesus because it turns out the Lord cares. It’s not an idea we ever consider – what does Jesus have to do with my workout regimen or plan to spend less and save more?
Ahem – everything.
Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10); it’s obvious and real that our personal improvement is what he desires, too.
Our desire to improve, to be better is a draw heavenward; God is goodness itself, love itself. Though it might not look like it on the surface, our hopes for a richer life are hopes for closeness with God.
And chances are, it was God who put the desire on your heart in the first place to show you that he’s the one who can fulfill it. Who better to see you through?
But it’s tempting to leave Jesus out of those parts of life. “I like to leave church at church.”
But I tell you that keeping him out of our hopes and resolutions is like taking the wind out of a sail. We might drift, but we don’t reach that thrilling, full potential. And ultimately, our goals in and of themselves will be incomplete. St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, Lord.” That’s ideal insight for our resolutions – they simply won’t be enough unless we ask Jesus to come on in and transform like he does.
So go bare your soul to Jesus. “Prayer is a launching out of the heart towards God,” St. Therese said, and heartfelt prayers do not have to be verbose or eloquent. Two of my favorite prayers are “I want to be better, Jesus,” and a simple “Change me.”
Tell Jesus what you’re shooting for, what you wish you could overcome but feel impossibly stuck or even hopeless. Ask that he grant the desires of your heart; couple it with “If it is not your will, give me the grace to bear my desire.” Pray simply and invite Jesus into your goals and hopes. Do it all the time. In a moment of weakness. In a moment of strength.
And once we invite the Lord into our resolutions, we’ll see just what grace can do and how far we can go; the Lord will bless what we offer (you read the Loaves & Fishes, right?). We’ll be able to see more clearly through Heaven’s eyes what is and isn’t worth ambition.
Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Happy 2017, friends! God bless you!
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