“Celebrate New Year’s when you want to, and as often as you choose. They’re your resolutions, not ours.” So says a blogging Seth Godin recently.
I’m taking his advice to heart. Today, January 3rd, is New Year’s Eve. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to…
Come to think of it, why wait ’till tomorrow for anything? “Starting tomorrow, I’m going to…” is procrastinating. Not doing the right thing until later has been the problem, right? So how about, “Starting now, I’m going to…” instead?
If it’s worth making a resolution for, why not begin immediately? Or, taking it a step further, why not ditch resolutions for actual choices?
If we’re not ready to start this instant, we might as well admit that we’re not ready to start at all. I think this is why so many New Year’s Resolutions fail. It’s like ingesting a slow-release pill we have no real intention of digesting, hoping the deadline will magically prepare our stomach lining for tough medicine despite our usual cramping and protests.
Understanding where we are in the process is important. If I’d rather start tomorrow, my choice in the now should be, “Starting now, I’m going to invite God to change my heart until I can hardly wait to do such-and-such.” In my battle against porn years ago one major turning point was my recognition that I didn’t really want to leave it behind. My prayer became, “I don’t want to be free yet, Lord; but I want to want to be free. Can we start there? Please change my heart.”
He took me up on that journey, and today, I’m free.
I’m not saying all choices should wait until our hearts are fully onboard. We’re in a bloody battle with our flesh, a residual force within us that wants the polar opposite of what’s good for us. There is a time to wrestle down that sucker and break its arm, like it or not. While God was changing my heart towards lust, I didn’t just sit back and eat grapes. I locked horns with my inner evil and pushed for headway by the power of the Spirit. Sometimes the act of doing something changes our motive over time.
Notice, though, what that means: Choosing one desire (where we are ready) over another (where we’re not ready). I may not be totally ready to give up such-and-such, but I am totally ready to exercise radical faith. So I use my faith readiness to conquer my fleshly reticence, trusting that change will happen on the way.
Just remember, this only works in the now, not in the future. Tomorrow morning isn’t good enough. Latch onto what you’re ready to do right now, and use it to conquer what you’re putting off ’till tomorrow.
What about you? After reading this, are there any New Year’s Resolutions that need tweaking in your life? What are you learning about resolutions and choices?