Such is my general response to New Year’s resolutions.
You might say, “Wow, Sara, tell us how you really feel!”
Or maybe even, “That sure is a downer of an introduction.”
Or you might just stop reading altogether, convinced that this is not the kind of encouragement you need at the dawn of a new year.
But I assure you, my feelings have nothing to do with a deep disdain for the premise, philosophy or theology of a resolution.
Quite frankly, I simply stink at keeping them. And if I am being completely honest, I would have to say the stinking is not contained by just the keeping of them. But also in the making of them.
I have resolved to wear pre-baby jeans so many times I have lost count.
(FYI, I don’t even own my “pre-baby” jeans any more.)
In college, I resolved to grow out my hair????
(This one is just embarrassing.)
And last year, I resolved to have more “normal” moments.
(Um, yeah...pretty confident I don’t even know what this one means.)
I imagine that each year, my Father looks down at me, at my efforts and lovingly shakes His head with a smile.
My guess is that it is somewhat akin to my head shake when my two-year-old attempts to put her footie pajamas on all by herself. Arms in leg holes, legs in arm holes. A valiant attempt, but a hot mess.
One that always makes me smile, knowing that my Sophie will keep persisting, keep trying and keep fighting even in spite of her previous failure.
Now because I have been down this road before, I know she’ll get it. She’ll then move on to other challenges that are simply a part of growing up. And all the while, I’ll be there to encourage her, love her and even smile.
But it also reminds me that despite my failures, I need to keep trying too.
You see, I‘ve known for years that God has a plan for me, even in failure and even in spite of my silly resolutions. But in that plan, I also know I am not the orchestrator. I am the instrument.
My strings, my keys and my melody are to join in with His plans. The very plans that Jeremiah 29:11 speaks of: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Now it doesn’t take too many brain cells, which is a relief as I am down quite a few, to figure out I want to be a part of that plan.
And His word doesn’t really spend a whole lot of time on my waist size, my hair length and what is “normal.” But it does spend a whole lot of time on the importance of loving Him.
Heart. Soul. And mind.
And it also holds verse after verse on loving the world like crazy.
Widows. Orphans. And the broken.
When I join His plan, I find that my resolutions, my goals, my plans become less about me and more about Him. I find myself determined to act, to resolve and to commit to Him and to the world as to what I will do this year. And the next.
I am resolved to remember that God is not bound by my plans or that of the world’s. I remember He is bigger than political parties and natural disasters and tragedies that break our hearts. I remember that His love does not condone evil but rather, it overcomes it.
I am resolved to remember that children are my Father’s very heartbeat. I remember that in moments where I am frustrated and tired and fed-up as a result of my own human selfishness. And I seek to honor every little life taken by violence, disease and starvation by letting Jesus work in me to love my babies as well as His.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, I am resolved to love those who hurt. I don’t expect to be loved back. And I avoid saying, “I understand.” Instead, I remember that we all hurt in our own way and that broken people need our hands far more than they need our words.
So this year, just like my Sophie, I will try once again to be diligent about the plan He has for me. And I will keep on trying until I get it right. Even though, more than likely, it will be an effort that will take me all the way to eternity.
But unlike the years before, I know He knows the plan. He authors the hope. And He brings the future.
Even through instruments whose hands and legs sometimes get stuck in their footie pajamas.
He simply needs us to keep trying. To keep joining Him. To keep holding onto His truth.
From there until eternity, nothing makes a Father smile more.
Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.