1 Jan 2011

A New Year's Humbug

I'm not the biggest New Year's fan in the world.

In fact it's safe to say I do a great Scrooge impression. It's just a week late.

The last few New Year's I've just enjoyed being at home with some close friends and family and bringing the New Year in that way.

But my problem with New Year's Eve isn't anyone else. My main problem with New Year's Eve is myself.

With New Year comes the inevitable New Year's Resolutions. And with them comes the inevitable failure and let down. Most of the time if I make a resolution I end up making exactly the same resolution next year. So sure I maybe vow to run more and yeah perhaps for a week or two I do. But then I stop and I quickly fall away with my promises to myself. Or maybe I am determined to write more and for a few days I am writing blog after blog. But eventually sooner or later I get lazy and I end up rather sitting on my butt doing nothing, than write.

Now it's not that New Year's resolutions are bad. It's not even that they can't be done. But what is seeming more and clearly to me every year is that when it's left up to me, even my best intended plans will come to nothing.

Which is pretty depressing. Because when I focus on my own abilities I will just let myself down. And I will start to doubt that I am made for anything. Or I will start to beat up on myself because of my inability to follow through on the dreams I want to pursue. Or I will start to doubt my faith and God.

Which is all pretty selfish when you think about it.

Selfish because the focus is on me. Selfish because all my New Year's resolutions are set out to make me a better person. To make me feel superior or have worth.

As Christians we spend so much time trying to do rather than just being. We set out to read the Bible in a year but we get bored at Leviticus. Or we decide to pray more but when God doesn't seem to hear us we give up. Or even when we decide to do something for someone else we get frustrated when they don't change the way we want, to so we give up on them.

But thankfully for us God doesn't work like we do. He doesn't base his view of us on our New Year's Resolution success rate.

Which means we can be free to spend time in his presence and be, rather than doing what we think a good Christian should do.

This year when I think of the things I want to accomplish or the the things I want (or maybe just need) to change about myself I will try and remember that they aren't what make me who I am. It's the God who loves me no matter what that makes me who I am.

And when I eventually forget the optimism and hope I had, I can refocus on what I should have done in the first place.

It's a good thing to be better. There is nothing wrong with wanting to accomplish things this year.

The problem is when we try and do them for ourselves, by ourselves.

In 2011 and beyond, I don't want to make that mistake again.


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