I hate New Year's resolutions.
A yearly classic of my own is vowing to lose weight and get in shape. I say that just about every year, and, well, the camera speaks for itself - I fail every year.
Why do I fail?
For starters, it's easy to say 'I'm going to get serious about dieting and health' during the Christmas break as my tummy sits comfortably stuffed with turkey, cookies, cake… and more cookies. Dieting sure sounds easy when I'm full. The problem occurs the next day, when I awake to find myself hungry again. 'What's one more cookie?' Fat Glenn reasons. Skinny Glenn tries to respond, but it's too late, Fat Glenn is already too busy chewing a mouthful of Snickerdoodles and peanut butter blossoms. And so goes my endless, lopsided struggle with fatness.
My love for cookies and most fattening foods, however, is not the only reason for my frequent resolution failures. I am beginning to think the reason my New Year's goals always fail is because as much as I joke about my weight - I'm not exactly on the verge of needing a crane lift to pry myself off the couch. Yes, I would like to lose weight, but it's not a matter of life and death (at least not yet anyway). There's nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, but I believe the real reason I hate most resolutions is because they are meaningless. How does the world change if I weigh a few less pounds (insert gravity/axis joke here)? Truth is, I fail because I haven't been choosing goals with any real meaning.
This year I have set the bar much higher: I want to be a better man.
That may sound cliché, but there’s much more to it than meets the eye. As I ponder this new resolution, a particular Bible verse keeps popping up in my head. It’s found in the Book of Joshua, when Joshua says to the Israelites: Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
To consecrate means to set yourself apart from evil and prepare to be used by God. It’s a spiritual cleansing of all the junk in your life. Once you do this, it opens the door for God to draw closer to you and work wonders. When Joshua said this to the Israelites, they were camped near the Jordan River a night away from entering the promised land. They probably had no idea how they were going to cross the raging river and defeat the enemy.
Furthermore, what did Joshua ask the Israelites to do just hours before 'go time'? He didn't tell them to sharpen their swords, do extra push-ups, or whatever else ancient warriors did before battle. No, he asked them to consecrate themselves. They did just that – and God halted the waters of the Jordan and led the Israelites to victory in Canaan.
Heading into 2014, I’m not going to limit my goals to reigning in my mockable-yet-relatively-insignificant weight fluctuations. Instead, I’m going to consecrate myself and be a better husband, dad, and boss.
I will serve more than I am served. I will help more people in need. I will be less cynical and highlight as many stories of decency, hope, and love as I can find. I will be an encouragement to others rather than a stumbling block. I will love my neighbor as myself.
I’m as guilty as the next guy for falling short on these simple things. But this year, I’m recommitting myself. And I firmly believe, if we all do the same, we can expect to see the Lord work wonders among us in 2014.
Here's to a great year!