As the new year is upon us and we all pause to reflect on the things that took place in our lives in 2013, it seems everyone is yet again making resolutions they hope will positively affect things in 2014. Resolutions are an interesting thing to me because of the word itself. “Resolution” is defined by Webster as “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc ; the act of resolving something.” We use the word in more of a sense of intent to do “better” than we did in the previous year. We say we are going to be better people, nicer, kinder, more generous. We tell ourselves we are going to be more patient and less angry. We say we are going to eat right and exercise more. We have all kinds of things we call “resolutions” when really they aren’t resolutions at all. If the word means the act of finding an answer or solution to a problem, then a resolution is the product of a process that comes only after we have been willing to take a very honest look at a situation, clear the fog around it and see it for what it is. That means seeing US as we really are. No one likes to take a long hard look in the mirror because it often reveals things we spend most of our time and energy trying to reason away. But if we will NOT take that very difficult look in the mirror, then our resolutions are nothing more than empty promises we use in order to make ourselves feel better for a little while. Remember, a resolution means you have resolved a dilemma. It means you have an answer to the issue. Whether or not you ACT on that resolution is another matter altogether.
We all search for answers in life. We want to have certainty on what to do rather than fly by the seat of our pants, but certainty is often hard to come by. Sometimes our problems or circumstances are such that we aren’t able to find an answer we can act on. Sometimes the “answer” is to wait instead of acting. Sometimes the answers come with time but most of us are too impatient to take the journey. We want instant results. We want “resolutions.” We want a new beginning! There’s nothing wrong with desiring a new perspective or direction in life but we don’t get it by simply making a promise we THINK we should make. We get it by being willing to take the journey necessary to finally have the answer that is right for us…not the answer we THINK we should have, but the one that is actually the truth. When we reach that point in a situation, it is the moment we have a true resolution. We know which way we are supposed to go or what we are supposed to do. It has been said that “knowing is half the battle,” which means reaching the point of resolution is only half the battle. The rest of the battle is acting on it.
So here’s the challenge: Don’t get caught up in the hype of “new year’s resolutions” and focus instead on the truth you see in the mirror each day. Be willing to not only see the things you want to change, but to ask God to show you the reason you do them in the first place. Strive for understanding, not answers. Strive for purpose, not plans. When you let go of trying to find the answers, the answers will come. And when you have that clarity for the direction of your life or circumstance, be willing to step out on faith and follow, no matter how much it scares you or how difficult the change may be. Don’t make resolutions, LIVE THEM!