Did you make New Year’s resolutions last year?
You wouldn’t be alone. Lots of people did.
Did you break them?
You wouldn’t be alone in that, either. It’s a rare person who keeps their New Year’s resolutions.
The truth is, every last person on the face of the planet can think of something they should either start doing or stop doing. There’s something about the promise of a “new year” that makes us long to start fresh, without the baggage of that thing we do (or don’t do).
And so we resolve.
THIS will be the year we lose weight, work out, quit smoking, go back to school, quit being ruffled by our impossible relatives, learn a foreign language, declutter the house, stop yelling at the kids, read more, watch tv less.
This is the year we will become a better version of ourselves.
But the reality is that most folks don’t last two weeks. Should and ought to are terrible motivators. They’re more like one-way tickets to Guilt Trip Hell. You know that place. It’s where we no longer need the nagging voices of our doctors or mothers or the devil himself, because we’ve become our own worst accusers. Every flaw is magnified, every variance from perfection a point of personal disgust as we spiral into self-loathing, rejecting every offering of grace as ridiculously undeserved.
The flaw in our thinking is that behaving well would qualify us as deserving of dignity, honor, grace…love.
It’s backwards, you know. I know it doesn’t sound logical, but it’s really totally backwards.
We don’t change so that we can earn or deserve dignity, honor, grace, and love.
It’s dignity, honor, grace, and love that changes us.
I’m going to make you a crazy promise. What I’m about to say is really true, even if it doesn’t feel true to you. But if you walk away from trying to beat your bad behavior out of yourself and instead dive into the outrageous, ridiculous, passionate, reckless, incomparable, unconditional love of God, your true Father who actually LIKES you (in spite of what you may have heard or even told yourself), you will change.
And you will also find that some of those things you’ve been trying to change aren’t worth the amount of attention you’ve been giving them. Feeding them—even with attention—is like spraying fuel on the fire. The more you try, the worse it gets.
So run away from trying. Run to the arms of God. It is always safe to run to Him, even when you made your own mess. Your humanity may frustrate you, but He treasures it.
If you’re going to be a mess, be a wildly loved mess.
I should know. I am an expert on this matter.