Reconciling the Post-Christmas Blues and the New Year’s Ambitions

The week between Christmas and New Year’s has always been interesting for me. It’s a week of recovery, reflection and personal revolution!! At least that’s what I want it to be. For years, I would take my endless to-do list, unread book titles, and Men’s Health cover model goals and resolve to accomplish all that the calendar had failed to complete – not my fault really, I just ran out of time ;-)

I have read about and used time management programs, devised reading plans, and joined a gym. One year I got really serious and bought a new watch, bookcases and contacted Brian McNamee but as it is, I still have a huge todo list, shelves of unread books, and employing a team of lawyers to keep my name off the Mitchell Report (and I still never made it to the cover of Men’s Health or played in MLB).

But here’s what I noticed over the years. In the reflection and resolving, I found goodness but many times I also found discouragement from the chronic failure of accomplishing certain tasks. Eventually, I joined the club that proudly said, “We don’t make resolutions.” You can dress that up by saying, “We are the content and confident. We don’t need silly resolutions.” It may work for others, but in my “life culture,” it felt like quitting. There were things that needed to be done in my life and things like resolutions are part of the process.

I’ll be honest, part of this is cathartic for me. I prize reflection, I like dreaming, and I enjoy making New Year’s resolutions, in fact I make them almost weekly (admittedly, majority are not world-changing, but small improvements can be life-altering, like flossing). Maybe it’s because I am constantly analyzing and resolving to do something different that I subconsciously know not to take these resolutions too seriously. Or maybe it’s because I really need it but having resolved to not drive myself crazy, I landed on this simple maxim I believe it is wise to never forfeit an opportunity to better your life.

Which leads to the question of what leads to a better life? Which leads to needed reflection. The satisfaction of checking off tasks on the to-do list will never provide complete satisfaction. Frankly I want to feel fulfilled not done. Reading books, though extremely important, have their limits.  There are some extremely well-read people that will bore every single fiber of knowledge out of you. And aside from being healthy and so forth, I am completely kidding about any desire to grace a cover of any magazine (unless the Pat Robertson Quarterly of the Benny Hinn Gazette or the Osteen Journal decide to take a different directions, then I might pursue those).

But seriously, as I followed the road down to created purpose and became further convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, my greater resolves is to become more like Him – hence, the need for “weekly resolutions.” And that’s why Jesus instructed His followers to carry their cross daily. Not because we are gluttons for failure and punishment but because it’s the path to the “everlasting” life (“everlasting” = “the life of ages,” “the abundant life,” etc). I believe with all my heart, in being more like Jesus, I become a better husband, father, son, brother, friend, pastor, and citizen of the world.

So go on, journal your thoughts, create goals, dream big, dream small, dream in between, spend some time in prayer and in the Scriptures. It’s a good week – I’d like to be among those that encourage you take advantage of it.