It’s nearly New Year’s Eve and with that marker in time comes New Year’s resolutions, those promises we make ourselves when we’ve decided to begin the year fresh and start doing things the right way. Diet, exercise, savings, stop drinking, stop smoking, stop cursing people out….
Most of these promises last about 3 days. Some hardy souls might pull it off until February, but for the most part these acts of pure will power and stubborn resistance don’t get us very far.
I stopped making resolutions several ears ago when I realized I was simply adding to my To Do List, a never ending list that just keeps growing. I think I’m still trying to complete my To Do List from 1984.
Often all those resolutions just become more evidence of our own failure to live up to our own expectations.
What seems to work far better than taking on new things, is letting go of old things. Making room. Just like in our home, if we get a new piece of furniture, we need to let go of something else to make room. Well we should anyway, but half the time we don’t even do that at our house.
Long ago Oprah, the self help guru, had a segment where she claimed that we just needed to clean our purses out to make room for money. Apparently money just needs a happy little nest and if you just create a safe place for it to live in, the law of attraction will kick in. What was once old receipts and gum wrappers will now be replaced with dollar bills.
Uh, yeah. Oprah was one of those things I decided I didn’t have room in my life for anymore…
The spiritual principle behind it however, is a sound one. There are things we cling to within our spirits that just don’t belong there, that no longer serve a purpose. We tend to be creatures of habit who like the familiar, even when it no longer serves us well.
Rather than struggling to resist the 16 pounds of chocolate now sitting on my coffee table, it is far more effective to let go of my chocolate desire and fill my life up with my favorite healthy snacks. Having an abundance of other good things, rather than a deprivation of the bad.
Even our bodies will reflect this spiritual condition, starve yourself and often our bodies will simply go into starvation mode, clinging fiercely to every single little fat cell. Dealing with our spiritual metabolism is even more challenging.
Like the Borg say, resistance is futile. Should the Borg show up I encourage everyone to fight them, but when it comes to spiritual matters, surrender is often a far better strategy than resistance. Alcoholics Anonymous embraces this principle in their first step, “We admitted that we were powerless – that our lives had become unmanageable.” In short, surrender, admit defeat…and than you win.
Long before Oprah and AA, we had the bible, outlining the same principles for us, teaching us that the words we speak over ourselves are far more than mere words, that words have genuine power, the power to change the whole world, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
In faith we call this surrender, submission, letting go, laying it down at the foot of the cross. There is victory to be found in defeat, His victory, but we must make room for it, by letting go of those things that no longer serve us, that bring us misery and suffering, that keep us trapped in strongholds. Replacing our will with His will.
“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.“
Anybody most gladly glory in their infirmities? I’m laughing here, that is not so easy. Lord, Lord, I have discovered this most interesting character flaw and with all the excitement and delight of a child, I surrender it to you, I lay it down at the foot of the cross. I await in delightful anticipation, I make room for the new treasures you will bring me, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Less of me, more of Him. His will, not mine. Works every time.