It’s that time of year when the inevitable promises are made: “I will stop doing such and such,” or the more positive spin, “I will start doing so and so.” I have made my fair share of resolutions. In fact, this year, although I did not officially make any official resolutions, I did join the throng at the gym for the first time in three months…purely by coincidence that it so happened to be here at the beginning of a new year. NOT a resolution. Okay, maybe a little.
Why is it that we feel compelled to make this promises to ourselves every year? I think it has to do with how we dream…what is it that we dream for ourselves? So often our resolutions are focused inward. We want to make ourselves better. Why? To finally win the eye of that special someone, or to get that new, perfect job, to finally move out of the parental domicile and gain “true independence?”
I think therein lies our problem with resolutions, and why we will ultimately fail. As long as our focus is on ourselves, we will fail. We are driven by our human nature to want something more, to seek something bigger, to satisfy some inner need that many of us struggle to identify. If we shift our focus from inside to out, to the needs of others, to building community, to…building the Kingdom of God, I believe we are more likely to succeed. If it’s for us individually, we can easily let ourselves down. However, if it is for someone else, it is more difficult to do so. Not impossible, but generally more difficult. We have unpleasant feelings like guilt working in our favor…feelings we would prefer to avoid. And at first, that can be a strong motivator. However, if we follow through with whatever endeavor we set before ourselves – this community building endeavor – I believe we will find that we do not need to be motivated by avoiding an unpleasant feeling. Instead, we will find a much stronger motivator: LOVE. The love that God feels for us. The love that we are called to share with each other.
Did you make a resolution this year? If, for whatever reason, that resolution doesn’t work out…well, you know.