How are those New Year resolutions coming?
I made New Year’s resolutions 2 days ago that I’ve already failed to keep! I failed to keep one of them this morning after I slept in, and I failed to keep another one soon thereafter. Two days ago, I resolved to get up at 3:50am everyday to study Scripture and pray. When that alarm went off this morning, I hesitated. Never hesitate with resolutions. I was sound asleep again in seconds. The next resolution I broke was actually the prescribed consequence for breaking a resolution, which is to fast through the next meal.
The cards were stacked against me.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, Mrs. Linville had made cinnamon rolls from scratch, and thus it was over before I knew what hit me. It was worth it. In my opinion, a fast is a great consequence because it creates time to do what I missed out on, and gives me practice in the self control I lacked when I turned my alarm off and went back to sleep, but that’s not to say I’m doing all this on my own:
“Resolutions don’t work without a partnering consequence and consequences don’t work without an external source of enforcement.”
My wife is my enforcement, and she will ensure that I will be enjoying the rest of the day without food (two meals for two fails). Now, to be clear, please know that I’m not mistaking my consequence-fast with a pray-and-fast kind of fast. No way. While it’s inevitable that there will be spiritual benefits, I acknowledge that this is more psychological in nature. I understand that the devil is capable of causing people to sleep in, but this time, I just wanted more sleep.
I slept in because Mrs. linville and I stayed up celebrating the completion of all my course work for the two intensive graduate classes I need for my masters degree. The classes start Jan. 5th and will be held in Chiang Mai. I’m excited about everything I’ll be learning, but I’m not looking forward to being away from my family for two weeks. Please pray for us. For those curious, my 2015 resolutions are: to rise, to rush, to run, to reach, and to reign.
– To rise before the sun.
– To rush before the Throne.
– To run away from sin.
– To reach for God’s Word before anything else.
– To reign with Christ in my responsibilities:
1 + Over my fears: to dwell in Christ by striving after Him in word and deed.
1 + Over my faith: to share Christ with everyone everywhere in love.
1 + Over my flesh: through wise nutrition and exercise in Christ.
1 + Over my family: to love, serve, lead, pray over, provide, and protect them.
1 + Over my friends: to love, serve, encourage, pray over, and exhort them.
1 + Over my foes: to love, serve, pray for, and make peace with them in Christ.
To be honest, these have been my resolutions every year for over a decade. I imagine these could be your resolutions too, and you may have them! While I’m familiar with the resolve, I’m not as acquainted with the consequence. That part is new, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.
Okay, now my enforcement is telling me:
“Here’s a loop hole: you had to sleep in because we celebrated so late last night and your today need not be punished for your yesterday’s folly!” – Mrs. linville
(-_-) … … I’LL TAKE IT! (I mean, I fasted through second-breakfast, elevenses, AND lunch; plus it’s roasted chicken night guys!!!)
I’m beginning to see a weakness in my plan… (laughing out loudly).
Everyone who knows my wife would agree with me that she is the epitome of empathy, hence the quote above, but let the record show that her empathy was not the weakness in my plan – I was. Everyone who knows me would agree that I’m a little too spontaneous for my own good.
“I’m great at making quick decisions, but not so great at making the best decisions quickly.”
My wife was stern but loving with me regarding my consequence as I fasted through the afternoon, but she had made a good point. If failing to get out of bed was the compromised resolution, why wouldn’t fasting through lunch count? Specifically, why must it be the very next meal that I fast from? Perhaps the stipulation is too strict and needs revising. And indeed it did, and indeed it was. Now there’s a good enforcer: one who knows not only how to enforce, but what to enforce. Ultimately, this is about growing in my walk with Christ, so remaining focused and obedient to Jesus is the blessing beneath the burden.
I resolve to follow Christ.
Jesus didn’t call us to be Pharisees – making rules for our rules – he called us to be his. Resolve to follow Christ! Failing in that resolution is its own consequence, for not following Christ means so much more than not going to heaven. Not following Christ means following something else, and everything else is inherently wanting. Following what will only deplete and can never revitalize is the essence of being spiritually dead; following one’s own misguided appetites, but never knowing fulfillment. Nope. Let’s resolve to follow Christ.
Now its time to pack for Chiang Mai! Please pray for my safe travels, I greatly appreciate it! Please leave a comment: if you know of any fun Chiang Mai activities or if you made any New Year’s resolutions!
Thanks for reading,