January 1, 2013
Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.
Letter #257: The Hangman’s Noose: A New Year’s Resolution
Happy New Year! Did you know that only 9% of the people who still use their landline phones to answer survey questions say they make resolutions for the new year? Or, to illustrate it for you visual people: The stick figure at the end, on the hangman’s noose, represents the percentage of people who make resolutions. You will note that he has not lost any more weight than the other figures who did not make New Year’s resolutions.
Society has made this New Year’s resolution guy the laughingstock, hanging there on his gallows, which symbolizes the general tone society takes with resolution-makers. “Ha! Resolutions are meant to be broken!” some will say, simply because they can’t tell the difference between resolutions and long fingernails, just when you got them all the same length. I don’t tend to swim the same directions as “society”—which is not the primary reason I wouldn’t win a triathlon—since society doesn’t often believe the same way I do, nor does it have similar standards, morals, or goals.
One reason for a lack of New Year’s resolutions is that people have made them before and didn’t stick with it, so they became discouraged about ever making another resolution, which is actually a resolution in itself, and perhaps the first one they’ve been able to keep: No More Resolutions. Good for them.
Other people would rather not have the pressure of a good intention hanging over their lives every day, a constant reminder that they don’t measure up to their own standards. And still others tell themselves that they are so perfect just as they are—no need to resolve to change anything—that it’s a wonder they can’t fly yet.
Perhaps the dumbest reason some don’t make resolutions is because they don’t have goals for their life. What?!? Say it isn’t so! Everyone has dreams … but goals are the little steps in the direction of the dreams.
My dictionary says a resolution is “a determined intention,” and we all know that without gritty determination, those big goals and dreams will never come to pass. Most people have good intentions, but they lack the resolve it takes to go from intention to action. A New Year’s resolution could be the first step in that right direction.
A new year is the perfect excuse to start fresh. I set goals at the beginning of every month, then weekly review those goals so I stay on track. But a new year is the time to assess your life as a whole and see where you’ll be in a year if you keep on the same paths you’re on now. In the areas you see that aren’t living up to your highest potential, make a resolution to change course—then set goals (achievable, measurable, and time-related) to accomplish that resolution.
When God saved the Israelites out of Egypt, He taught them to always commemorate the event by celebrating the Passover, making it the start of their new year as well. Scripture tells us that Jesus is our new Passover, saving us from the captivity of our sins. As we accept His payment for our sins, we are a new creation in Him. Every year is then a year of celebrating being set free—a “Year of Jubilee”—and every day in Him is a new day: the beginning of a new year of freedom from our sins.
Therefore, this year, I’m resolving to make Christ known in my life—to make my life truly count for eternal things. Abraham Lincoln said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.” I want this year to be full of life. I want the life in my year to be the Life of Christ, living in me to reach out and bless others who need His life. This may mean making uncomfortable choices or not always being understood. But I’m prepared. I’m with the 9% who at least want to change and are doing something about it. So hang me for it!