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Resolutions and Safeguards

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” (Luke 18:16-17)

Time for the annual check-up. It’s a new year!! How did the 2020 resolutions work out? What’s on deck for 2021??

For 2020, one of my New Year’s resolutions was “Don’t be crabby.” Many would say this is not a good resolution as it’s not “SMART,” that is, Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-restricted. But it turned out to be oh-so-relevant in 2020, more than I could ever have imagined. When I checked in with my husband about it in December, he gave me the thumbs up: “You did it. You’re not crabby at all.” Woohoo! Check that one off!!

On New Year’s Day, my four-year-old grandson informed me that he also had a resolution for 2021. “Don’t be crabby,” he said. “Like yours, last year.” I was touched. And then he invited me to re-up for 2021, with a warning. “You do it too, Grandma. If you don’t, you might be crabby.”

Excellent point. So I added “Don’t be crabby” to my 2021 list. (I feel the effects of it already!!!) I have had repeat resolutions before, but it’s definitely a first to have a CO-resolution. It feels like we’re living out Paul’s words in a letter to the Philippian Christians: “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Philippians 2:2)

Co-resolution is powerful. We can ask each other nosy questions: “Have you been crabby lately?” We can stimulate each other to love and good deeds: “Remember Grandma, ‘Don’t be crabby’!” “Oh yeah, right, thank you!!”

And when I have been crabby, and want to talk it over with someone, who better than with my co-resolution partner?

To some, repeat resolutions might seem silly or boring. It’s true that if I had resolved to paint the kitchen in 2020, and duly painted it, repeating the resolution in 2021 would seem silly.

But my grandson makes a good point about crabbiness. If I don’t resolve to not be crabby in 2021, perhaps I will lapse into crabbiness again. Attitudes, like old habits, have a way of resurfacing.

In the letter to the Philippian Christians, Paul sometimes sounds like a broken record on the habit of rejoicing. (Rejoicing is the flip side of Crabbiness.) He talked a lot about his personal struggles and suffering, but in the same breath called them to joy:

“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.” (Philippians 2:17-18)

He repeats this idea later in the letter: “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1). I like that Paul says, “to write the same things again is no trouble to me.” Repeating was a “safeguard,” to help the Philippians resist falling into crabbiness when things were stressful. And a third time, “Rejoice in the Lord, always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

God similarly taught the Israelites to repeat and remind themselves of His commandments, to keep them focused on obedience.

“And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as bands on your forehead. And you shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Or in modern terms, teach these good things to your grandmas and grandpas; talk constantly about them with your grandsons, whatever you’re doing, wherever you are! Keep reminding each other so that you will do what is good!

My grandson and I are following in the footsteps of the Israelites and Paul with our co-resolution for 2021. Maybe you’d like to dream up a resolution and invite someone to do it with you.

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