When Auld Resolutions Be Forgot

So… how’s that New Year’s Resolution holding up?

I think the New Year is pretty overrated, as far as holidays go. What are we celebrating again? Oh, the passing of time? That thing that is constantly happening, but we only pay attention to once a year? Neat.

But I do like the idea of making resolutions and trying to change some of my (many) bad habits. I’ve been known to keep a New Year’s Resolution well into February, sometimes March… probably because I don’t start them until January 15th, at the earliest. That way, when everyone else has called it quits by Valentine’s Day, I’m still going strong because I haven’t been at it nearly as long.

And, if I happen to slip up and lose it somewhere along the way (there’s an extra-50%-off-sale sale, they add new shows to Netflix, Taco Bell is… open) and mess up, Lenten resolutions, thankfully, are always right around the corner.

If you didn’t make a resolution this year, or if you’ve made one and already broken it, it isn’t too late to reconsider. Pope Francis has some suggestions – his top ten list for Vatican employees is full of excellent advice for any of us.

I think Papa Frank might be on to something, here… As much fun as it is to talk about a new diet or an exercise routine, or finally sticking to a budget and getting some organization in that rat’s nest you call a bedroom/locker/backseat (all admirable goals), let’s step outside the box for a minute.

This life isn’t going to last nearly as long as the life to come. Maybe there ought to be more to this New Year’s Resolution thing than just looking like we have it all together on the outside… But we’re made up of so much more than just our exterior. How are things looking on the inside?

Have you ever asked Jesus what He would resolve for you, if He could? Think about it: no one knows you better than He does. He has seen every moment of your life, known your every fault, cheered on your every triumph. And I bet that no one knows, better than He, what your next victory ought to be.

What about letting Christ make us into something new? If we could just place ourselves into His hands, with honest and humble hearts, He can and will change us. He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5) – that’s you, and me. Rather than coming up with our own lists on what we’d like to improve or change on ourselves, maybe we ought to come to Him in prayer and ask what He would like to do in our hearts, our relationships, our families, etc.

This year, I’ve resolved not to make any resolutions, except one: to spend more time with the One who knows what I most need, and has the power to help me achieve it. Go to prayer, however you pray best (whether that’s journaling, hiking, playing music, sitting in Adoration, or something else entirely) and ask Jesus some questions about what kind of home improvements He’d like to make on your heart. He should know – He lives there.

A couple ideas to get you started:

  • Is there a particular virtue (honesty, charity, chastity, etc.) where I feel especially weak? How can I grow stronger in it?
  • Is there someone difficult I have been avoiding? How can I love him/her better?
  • Have I done what I can to help take care of the poor? Do I have time, talent, or treasure that You would like me to spend on others?
  • Am I disciplined in my prayer life?
  • Am I a gossip?
  • Do I think about others or myself more?
  • Do I only feel confident based on what others think of me (Is anyone crushing on me? How many likes did that get? Did anyone see me do that thing well?) or what You think of me?
  • Do I spend more time being jealous, or grateful?

Those are some tough questions – and please don’t take this to mean that I think you are struggling in each of those areas and need God to do a total overhaul on your life (although, I don’t know you, so maybe that’s true…). But when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, we generally try to make some big changes. And if we work at them, we might achieve one.

So why not ask God to help you tackle one of those areas? If anyone can make it happen, it’s Him. Just ask:

Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Habakkuk 1:5 – Look over the nations and see! Be utterly amazed! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe, were it told.

Isaiah 43:18-19 – Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

2 Corinthians 5:17 – So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

New Year, new you – in Him. Now that’s a resolution worth keeping.