December 28, 2009
NEW YEAR - NEW ME
Need some change?
It seems that at this time of year lots of us think about it....and out comes a new stream of resolutions....to stop eating turkey with all that gravy :), to take exercising more seriously, to get into the word with more consistency and depth, to take more time to be with family, to be more constructive with that spare time, to be more of a servant and a whole lot less self-focused....and on it goes, we make resolutions with good intention...and then......well we both know what so often happens then....
So, I take a lot of comfort in the words of Paul (a highly intentional guy all of his life) who writes:
"What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another,
doing things I absolutely despise.....I obviously need help!
I realize that I don't have what it takes.
I can will it....but I can't do it.
I decide to do good,
but I don't really do it.
I decide not to do bad,
but then I do it anyway.
My decisions don't result in action....parts of me covertly rebel,
and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I've tried everything and nothing helps.
I'm at the end of my rope."
(Romans 7 - slected - The Message)
Making progress? - yes.
Nearing perfection? - you kidding?
Sometimes frustrated? - yes.
If that's where you are.....I am too.
However, here are some ideas that can help.
- Be brutally honest...about where you really are. Tell yourself (and one or two really good friends.) where you really are.
Not "out of shape" but "in really bad condition"
not "sometimes tempted" but "really blowing it when I am alone"
...use the words that contain real honesty and personal risk with them. Only truly open hearts can beat with renewing life.
- Take responsibility, doing something to build strength in advance of the next time of testing....throw out the stuff that tempts, pull the plug on the TV when you enter the motel room, call your partner and be accountable when you feel weak (instead of just when you get preyed upon effectively), spend a longer time in quietness and prayer when you feel drained or especially vulnerable.
Ideas 3 &4
- The method Paul suggested...what helped him live as an apostle.
Read Colossians 3:1-15.
As you do, watch for the two main movements of wisdom that he puts in focus in his words: put stuff off and put stuff on.
I like this simple approach because it matches what all of us do in another realm in a 24-hour cycle. We put off soiled clothing and we put on clean clothing.
Paul says we should regularly put off (:5ff) impurity, anger, lust, greed and more.
And his list of "put ons" is wonderful - "things above, Christ, love, peace, the word, the name of Christ, the Spirit."
Read the passage over and over, slowly and thoughtfully, out loud and silently, until the "offs" and "ons" start to root in your mind.
What is neat is that there are 3 "offs" and 8 "ons" in the passage.
It's true, change happens to all of us most effectively when our focus is not on "don'ts" but "do's."
By the way, this blog jumped 245 (to 4738 hits) since we last checked. Running super strong all through the Christmas season. Wow! Your interest is truly a blessing! Be sure to check out the last entry for what is going on in our lives.....and thanks for your prayerful support.
God bless you!
See you next year!