Friday, January 1, 2010

Give Up or Give In

Happy New Year!

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Did you promise yourself to exercise more? Eat less? Save more and spend less? I make only one New Year’s resolution every year and break it as I make it. I resolve to not make any New Year’s resolutions this year. Why are we compelled on this day to make promises to ourselves? What makes us think that the next 365 days will bring a happiness and success that the last 365 days lacked? In the past, I also did the New Year’s resolution thing. I’d promised myself that I would lose weight, be happier or at least less depressed, or more financially secure and every year, I failed miserably. I believe I failed for two reasons: 1) Because changing the number on the end of the date just isn’t a good enough reason to base major life changes on and 2) I was relying on my own will and its insufficient power to overcome my present nature.

I did eventually lose weight, became much happier and a little more financially secure and all those things began on obscure dates in my past that I couldn’t recall if I tried. How did I do it? I stopped trying. Don’t get me wrong. I put in a lot of effort and fought to overcome in each of those areas, but I didn’t rely on myself for success and the ability to overcome. Life changes must begin on the inside and only God can truly change what’s in my heart. I may want to be a better person, but I don’t have the power to do it. When I’m tempted to turn back to my old ways or sin against God, I have a tendency to gather my resolve and fight harder to not give in until I have nothing left to fight with. I don’t want to give in, but I can’t and don’t want to stop myself either. That’s when I must choose. Whether it’s a resolution I’m trying to keep or sin I’m trying to avoid, I must choose if I am going to give up or give in to God. A friend told me a story last week about his three-year-old daughter. She was struggling to the point of tears in her effort to zipper up her winter coat. There he stood patiently watching and waiting as his headstrong little girl became more frustrated at her inability to zipper her own coat. Then she just stopped, dropped her hands at her side, and looked up at her Daddy and asked him to zipper the coat for her. In the same way, I must surrender to God and admit that it’s not in me to overcome this temptation and that there’s part of me that doesn’t even want to. I hand the situation over to him and wait for him to overcome the temptation for me. I lean on his willpower, not mine.

I pray that 2010 be a very good year for you. May you be filled with God’s presence and your relationship with him deepen over the next 365 days and may you gain every good thing you desire in your surrender to the Lord.
About the picture:
Pittsburgh, PA (December 2009)

1 comment:

Common Household Mom said...

I'm praying the same for you in this year.

Jan 1st as the beginning of a new year always seems contrived to me. I like the Jewish New Year, which comes in the fall, as our part of the world turns away from summer heat and growth into harvest and storing things and getting ready for winter.