Maybe the tendency to make resolutions at the start of a new year is an indication that we have a level of dissatisfaction with how things currently lie for us as individuals or even within the context of a group. Maybe this dissatisfaction becomes that positive spur to make a change in the way we do things – whether in action or attitude the change brings about a different result. There is no use doing the same things we always do and hoping for a different outcome – it’s not going to work that way.
Equally however, the fact that many resolutions fall by the wayside rather quickly is a very real indicator of how hard it is to change – old habits and attitudes die hard. Maybe a number of these hard-nosed manners or ways of thinking in our lives contributes to the measure of dissatisfaction but our familiarity with these ‘frustrating’ approaches means we justify our approach – “it’s hard to change”; “I’ve tried other ways and they haven’t work so I’ll stay with this approach even though I’m not fully happy with it.” And we get on with life – maybe hoping for that miracle to spark a change but deep down resolving ourselves to a measure of disappointment and discouragement.
Obviously we shouldn’t give up trying to break into positive and helpful new habits and attitudes but we must look at it as a long term investment. We cannot expect to change everything overnight – no matter how attractive or desirable that might seem. The issue of perseverance, the issue of forgiving ourselves and others for failures, the issue of being gracious to others as an open door for others to be gracious to us all need to be confronted on our journey to positive change. Sure it is easier to retreat or resist (flight or fight) but the pathway to growth involves persevering – picking yourself up from disruptions – and continuing on the long term goal you’ve set for yourself knowing that it is a worthwhile goal that will bring worthwhile elements to our lives. It also involves forgiving others for their failures towards us but also forgiving ourselves for our failures. It is time to challenge ideas that damage our self respect – don’t be so hard on yourself or ruled by an unrealistic drive towards perfection that whips us harder to achieve more and more that effectively adds further condemnation. To bring positive change involves practicing generosity and graciousness even when it is contrary to what we feel we’d like to do.
In the end these attributes are part of our spiritual mandate – press on towards the goal set before you to win the prize (Heb 12:1); run the race so as to win (1 Cor 9:24); forgive others that God might forgive us (Matt 6:14-15); do unto others as God has done to us (Matt 7:12) – show grace and mercy. And practice love. Find out how to be a great love-giver by starting to give love because with practice we will get better. Others may not always see our expression of love at first, because there are different ways to express love or different love “languages” but with perseverance we will find out how to love others and do it more and more effectively.
At Connect Baptist Church – Deagon we value innovation; pursuing excellence; being other-centred in our outlook rather than self-centred; remaining relevant and being generous in our life practice. These may seem to be aspirational rather than realised at any given moment but every step we make both individually and collectively in these areas the more we will reflect these values in our vision and practice. Blessing is assured to all those who seek the righteousness of God and seek the advancement of God’s kingdom – we simply need to look with the eyes of faith .