It is January after all. Shouldn’t we have resolutions? Or should we talk about the fact that this is just an arbitrary date and Jan 1 is no better or worse a day to make resolutions.
Actually – all of the above is still a reason to have resolutions. Just that we shouldn’t wait until Jan 1 to make them and we should think about them longer than the first few weeks of the year.
The discussion came up at a birthday party a week ago. Some had the usual healthy living/working out resolutions. Some had the good intention to be in the Word more regularly. I am working on those habits, but haven’t actually named them resolutions. Not sure I can explain the difference. I would say something like they are more time-management and priority issues or even that they are more self-centered. But that might imply that spending time in the Word is not as all-encompassing and pervasive as it is.
But. what are my resolutions.
I want to be a better friend.
I brought this up at the birthday dinner and a few laughed at me, because I am a very good friend to them. But I struggle with other friendships. I don’t make phone calls easily. I have a strong sense of the impropriety of being nosy and interfering with other people. I also let my self-image convince me that I am not someone people would really want to spend time with and that means I require (constant) affirmation that I am wanted. But I take all of that too far and easily let people alone so much they don’t realize I’m their friend (because I’m not, I’m just an acquaintance). I don’t want to invade the lives of everyone I know, but I want to select a few people I think I could be a friend to, where we have things in common, where some overture has been made by them. I want to make quantity and quality time a priority, so that we can become friends and know we can turn to each other.
This also translates to family.
To not be offended so easily.
This one probably sound strange at first. It is the result of a lot of things. First this quote I found in Not Knowing Where by Oswald Chambers
“We have the perfect right not to insist on our rights, for it is the privilege of a Christian to waive his rights; but we do not always recognize that we must insist on those associated with us getting their rights.”
Also watching friends and people I know and love getting offended and walking away from relationships. Some of that comes from the reading of Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns. I don’t want to go so far as therapeutic forgiveness, whire I refuse to ever hold on to anything. But so much of what offends me is just a complaint that I didn’t get my way or that I was not appreciated. That’s why I wrote out this quote:
Pride is any way of putting self into central focus. If I complain about myself I am still prideful.
In the chapter that he talks about deciding when to let something go, rather than express a need for repentance before reconciliation can occur, I studied and studied to see what he was saying. He says we must start by examining self and look to see if we’re sure we are right. Not just that I am right, but that my way is the only right way and the other person couldn’t possibly be right too. Then ask how important this is. This is dependent on the person, obviously. I’ve seen people get offended by something I didn’t think was very important at all. Then see if the person displays a pattern of this behavior. Not do they routinely go against me getting my way or hurting my pride, but are they sinning consistently.
Since I was a child, I would easily get my feelings hurt. I had a disagreement during my EMBA because the leadership teacher tried to tell me that it isn’t my responsibility if someone else gets their feelings hurt. I know what she was trying to say. Using a condescending tone of voice and a mean choice of words is intentionally looking to hurt someone. But telling the truth or explaining a situation shouldn’t be avoided because the other person might get their feelings hurt. In the past year I’ve decided I agree with her more than I realized. A number of times I’ve wanted to tell people to grow up. And that is what my hope is with this resolution, that I will grow up some more.
At first I worded it to not be offended so much, but I changed it to easily. If I were to change how I live my life, it could be that I would become someone who would draw a particular kind of offense more.
To count it all joy.
I think I have a big-issue faith. I trust God with the big issues, don’t let the magnitude of the problem overwhelm me, and trust him. But in the small and day-to-day type stuff I don’t always keep the faith. Some quotes from Believing God by RC Sproul, Jr come to mind.
“Whether it is a great burden or a small irritant, our frustration betrays that our hearts don’t remember what our minds know.” p. 99
This is what I wrote last year as I read this book. “I should wake up every morning with the sole desire to be made more like Jesus. I should count it all joy. I should rest easy at night knowing that the Sovereign God has brought me closer to Him through whatever happened that day.”
We don’t believe that we are at peace with Him. We tend to believe our struggles show either that God doesn’t love us or that God is powerless to help us.
“When we fear, when we grumble, when we complain, we show forth what is in our hearts. We expose our sin.” p. 111
This was another conclusion I came to: “complaining about the situation I’m in is the same as complaining about the person who brought about the situation”. I don’t want to complain. That doesn’t mean it will all be sweet and light, as the world defines good. But it does mean I can stop letting my temper get the best of me, getting frustrated because I don’t get my way immediately. Wow, I sound like a spoiled toddler when I put it that way.
To accomplish this I believe I must be in the Word (there’s where that one comes in) and in prayer and even in study. But I must also apply – I should prepare verses and things to say when I’m on the verge – to remind myself Who I belong to and how I should act.
In past years, my resolution has been to fix my tone of voice, especially when I’m frustrated. But, if I work on resolution #3, the tone of voice should be fixed.