New Year’s Resolution time has never stressed me out as much as this year.
Some years, I’ve made serious resolutions kept deep into February.
I’ve made resolutions not seriously intending to keep them.
Some years, I’ve completely ignored the practice as a silly way to convince yourself that pulling out a brand new day planner means a brand new life.
We’re already a week into 2012 and I’m still thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and why I’m such a slacker for not having made any.
Maybe because I rang in 2012 with women who were talking about using New Years as a chance to reflect & process the year in preparation for the new one. I’m highly influence-able like that.
Maybe because I’m currently at a conference with amazing people doing amazing things and realizing I’m expected to pick up a voice in this community.
Maybe it’s because it bothers me I was prepared to drift thoughtlessly into a new year – a year in which I will turn a quarter of a century old – and I don’t want the entire year to be defined by thoughtless drifting.
We’re already a week into 2012 and I have not yet started a yearly Bible reading plan.
I have not yet picked work on my novel back up and have barely written any blogs.
I have exercised – but only because I’m near a pool and enjoy swimming with friends and not out of a great desire to get back into shape.
A week into this New Year, I have already allowed myself to become stressed beyond what I think is healthy for a believer.
I have assumed I could read people’s heart intentions and thought bad thoughts about them. I have already been a worst version of myself.
And we’re already only a week into 2012!
At the conference I’m attending right now, the speaker worked through the book of Jonah – preaching from it as a book of grace. I’ve never heard Jonah’s story held up as an example of grace and I’ve learned a lot.
Mostly what I’ve learned is that I don’t understand grace.
That is not some sort of super-holy-humble way to say God’s grace is beyond my understanding (which, it is nonetheless).
I mean I don’t feel like grace penetrates my heart. I don’t feel it permeating my mind. I don’t feel called to action by grace.
It wasn’t always like this.
I remember weeping silently in my Romans class in college as I understood – chapter by chapter – God’s abundant grace that makes alive what was once dead.
I remember nearly dancing out of a professor’s office as I seized the new shoots of freedom springing up from a heart hardened to prefer legalism.
But those experiences were a long time ago… four years counts as a long time for a soul thirsty for grace.
I wonder where to find the remedy to this dehydration of grace.
Maybe through the ancient means of appreciating grace – spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading and fasting?
Maybe through noticing the tiny graces – the flower, the moment of quiet, the smile of a child?
Is there a New Year’s Resolution for reclaiming an awareness of and delight in grace?
I may have to try them all.
But I won’t stop until the grace-drought is over and I’m drowning instead of thirsting.
Maybe that is my resolution.