WORDS // SILVIA BOLANOS
I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions – why do we fixate so much on drastic change just once a year? How consistent are really we with keeping up with those New Year’s resolutions?
I have so many plans to be better, to become more disciplined, and then they all go out the window. Why? Because that drive and resolve was inspired by something trivial.
New Year’s resolutions are a build up of all those things that we had been meaning to refine and improve on all throughout the year, but we never really got around to it because “later” was always an option. Then, December 31st rolls around and you realize how little refinement happened in your life and you try to start with a clean slate with the New Year…naturally!
Nevertheless, that inspiration, that new slate, only lasts a couple of weeks – a month, maybe. Then the old ways take over your newfound resolution to be more disciplined.
See, being disciplined and seeking refinement is a daily decision,
a daily resolution.
Too often we settle with just about enough – I eat healthy just about enough not to sugar crash every two hours; I exercise just about enough not to get winded after going up a flight of stairs; I read my bible just about enough not to feel like I haven’t opened it all week; I pray just about enough not to be completely overwhelmed with life.
I do everything just about enough not to feel like there is no progress or change in my life.
Over the past few months, there is a story that I keep coming back to over and over again. It is only 10 verses long, but it weighs heavy on my heart and mind. Remember the man that climbed the tree to see Jesus? It’s a story in Luke 19 - his name is Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus is described as a rich chief tax collector, a person whose priorities were his work and the money he collected – deemed as corrupt, a sinner – seeking richness no matter the cost.
When he heard that Jesus was close by, he decided he wanted to see who this Jesus was. When he approached the crowd and saw how difficult it would be to get close, he decided to settle and look at Jesus from a tree – this would be just about good enough to get a glimpse, right? Good enough to understand who Jesus was and why everyone wanted to see Him so much, right?
Being resolved to see Jesus was Zaccheus’ January 1st; he decided he was going to find out who Jesus was.. And then it got difficult. So he settled for whatever he could get – anything that was good enough not to feel like he had missed the opportunity to meet Jesus.
There was resolution in Zacchaeus actions; after all, he did run ahead and climb a tree to see Jesus. Nevertheless, there was not enough urgency in his effort – he did not try to get up close and personal. I believe this happens to me more often than it should – many New Year’s resolutions have been to pray more, read more, get closer – and then the urgency and discipline just vanish.
It’s like I want God to be the training wheels on my bike – I keep Him there in case I fall, but I will not lean on Him unless I absolutely need Him, or unless it’s January 1st.
Jesus reached out to Zacchaeus even though he was in the tree, far away from “up close and personal.” In the same way, Jesus reaches out to me, to us, day in and day out. So much so that He has already forgiven me for my lack of holiness and resolve even before it happens.
His mercy, patience, and constant grace overwhelm me – He is already meeting me ¾’s of the way, even before I realize I have strayed, to bring me back to up close and personal.
After this, every time without fail, I wonder why I would go up a tree instead of wanting to be in true communion with the Almighty. Refinement is hard and humbling, especially when I realize that 98% of the time I get it wrong – that every New Year I have the same resolution because true communion did not become a daily decision but a scattered wish.
Dear unresolved, stop running away from being in true communion with the living water. Make your resolution a daily decision.
We need to stop trying to busy ourselves with the endless mundane to-do lists, and act with urgency to be intimate with the One who wants nothing more than to show us the path of holiness and righteousness.
May our thoughts be guided by His character, our words by His grace, our actions by His knowledge, and our decisions by His wisdom.
LETTERING // SAM PALENCIA | PHOTO // JESSICA BILLS