Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Train Wreck

What most New Year Resolutions look like on January 2nd.

I taking a (belated) stance this year: no New Year's Resolutions. I will not, and cannot, make a resolution for my life based on the calendar being flipped another page. It's insane. It also for absolute certainty will look like the picture above.

I don't want to look like the picture above.

So this year: no resolutions for the New Year.

That doesn't mean I'm not making resolutions at all though.

The truth is, we make resolutions all the time. To eat better, to exercise more, to pray and read our Bibles, to be better spouses/parents/workers/etc. The only thing different about doing it on New Year's is we say "this year I'm going to do it!" and "it's a new start!".

Really. That's about the biggest difference.

I recently (i.e.: just now) read an article on why systems are better than goals. I tend to research while writing these posts, so there you go. Anyway, I agree with the writer of that article. Goals are far-off, nebulous things that we tend to burn out on well before we get there. This isn't a lack of "stick-to-it-ness", it's just human nature.

So instead of a resolution as a goal, I am going to set a resolution as a system.

But what I need is more than a system.

JL Gerhardt (I've linked to her before) recently wrote a great post titled If God Wrote Your New Year's Resolutions. I highly suggest reading it. Go ahead and do that, then come back when you're done.

If God is not at the center of what we are doing, it is useless. If our systems and goals and resolutions revolve around us and what we want, we are missing the whole purpose of why we are here. There is no point. We may as well eat a box of Star Crunches while watching all those episodes of whatever show we missed.

Mmm...Star Crunches...

So two things: systems over goals and God over self. That will make everything better, right? That will fix all our problems right up and everything will be rainbow bridges and unicorns, right?

If only it were so easy.

My mom recently put up a post on Facebook saying that this year she wanted to do less, better. That seems like a pretty good place to start. In fact, maybe we should throw that in there too.

So three things now: systems over goals, God over self, and less over more.

My, this is quickly sounding complicated.

But it's not. In fact, it's so simple it sounds like it can never work. Like we can never get to where we want to be. Of course, that's where systems come in.

That's where we commit to a way of life, instead of a fixed goal. That's where we commit to the progress and not the product. That's where we look around and say we're not doing more this year, we're going to do less, and do it better.

Huh, that almost sounds like something in the Bible. Let's see...

Php. 3:12-14
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let's analyze these verses for a minute.
There is a goal: the prize of Christ and His calling us to His side.
There is a system: pressing on, forgetting what is behind, reaching for what is ahead.
There is simplicity: the one thing Paul does (his system).

Seems like those are worthwhile things to do, then.

Funny how that works out. As a side note, I did not plan this post in advance. I did not pick out my scriptures and how everything would work out. What you are reading is me figuring this out real-time. Attempting to be lead by God to do what He wants me to do.

I'm not going to tell you my goal and system and direction in this post. Truth is, I don't have them yet. Maybe next week.


What I will encourage you to do is to take the time to sit down and make your own goals, but more importantly to make your own systems that you will commit to. Remember, our commitment is to the improvement, to the process. Not some nebulous thing that we may or may not do.

More importantly than that, make sure that it starts and ends with God. Do you need to glorify God with your body by at least getting it in good enough shape to walk without running out of breath? Do it. Do you need to get your soul in shape so that you can quote more than John 3:16 without straining yourself? Do it. Do you need to get your spiritual life off the respirator and spend time with the One and Only God who breathes Life into you? Do it.

Our life has but one true purpose: 
Ecc. 12:13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

Live this. Breathe it. Do it.

Get out there, take your time, and do it.

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