I’ve had a bad run over the last few weeks. When I say “run,” I mean a streak of impulsive behaviors followed by guilt followed by misery followed by the humiliating need to apologize. No boulders of sin, mind you, but a pebble of rebelliousness here, a little disrespect there, a regular thoughtlessness everywhere.
Feels like trying to hike my way to being a good person by way of a patch of shale that crumbles and slips underfoot.
In my hands right now is a rich book that I am highly recommending you read, to help you get this year off to a good start: Renovation of The Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, by Dallas Willard. Bring a highlighter. Dr. Willard jerked me to attention with this statement:
“Blowing it” shows who I am as a person. I am, through and through, in my deepest self, the kind of person who “blows it” –hardly a lovely and promising thing to be. Whatever my action is comes out of my whole person.
He goes on to talk about the necessity for remorse, and my brain starts churning through what it means to start a new year.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
I’m coming into the new year with sagging shoulders, because of the ways I’ve fallen short over the last few weeks. It’s uncomfortable, but I think maybe it’s the best position from which to ring in the new year. From this place, I don’t write resolutions.
There is no self-determination to be good, because I know from experience that I don’t have it in me to be good for even half a day without blowing it.
Dear God, help me.
There is no resolve to be better, only a collapse to my knees and a tearful declaration of how needy I am. Honest confession followed by grieving –this is where the blessing of God is found.
Dallas Willard goes on to say:
The initial move toward Christlikeness cannot be toward self-esteem, because…realistically, I’m not okay and you’re not okay. We’re all in serious trouble. That must be our starting point.
Again, this is a very uncomfortable position to take, but if we will have the courage to be honest, we will give God room to show his best work in us. We are weak, but he is strong.
How will you choose to start this new year?
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