Updated: Aug 3
For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
To resolve or not to resolve, that is the question. On the first Sunday of 2019, Pastor Mark asked for a show of hands: “Who makes new year’s resolutions?” I felt like the only person raising her hand.
My process of making New Year’s resolutions has changed over the decades. At one time, I made a few SMART goals, often discovering they weren’t so achievable after all. Now I more often create a theme for the year, choosing a few key words for the year and a key Scripture.
One year, my key word was “gratitude,” in another, “submission.” One year I chose three “M”s—measured, moderate and methodical. Those words were so helpful for a flibberty-gibbet like me that I repeated them another year.
In the last decade, some key Scriptures have been:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV) “Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them…” (Hebrews 13:3 NASB) “Honor your father and mother.” (Matthew 19:19, Exodus 20:12)
That last Scripture was for 2019, the year my mom turned 100. “Honor Mom’s 100th year” was my theme to go with it. Looking back, I did pretty well keeping to this theme up to and including Mom’s 100th birthday reunion weekend, but less well since then.
And so, on to 2020. For the past two months, I’ve been beta-testing a resolution: “Don’t be crabby.”
I really dislike being crabby with people I love. They are too precious and valuable to treat badly or discourteously. I want to always remember how precious and valuable they are, and never treat them badly. The only way to do that is to train my mind to reject crabbiness. For the past two months, when annoyance or irritation crops up, I immediately think, “Don’t be crabby!” That morphs pretty quickly into a prayer: “Lord, don’t let me be crabby!” Somehow, this thought/prayer starts a whole train of motions in my soul with a hearty portion of gratitude and submission to how God’s Spirit wants to animate my feelings and actions.
Perhaps my Scripture for 2020 should be the whole 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. I kinda forgot about this chapter until a few weeks ago, but it works really well with “Don’t be crabby.” Particularly, “love is patient” and “love is not provoked.” And with learning new things, like how to use oxygen tanks and watch my dad work so hard to breathe, I’ve been reminding myself, “Love bears all things… and endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). If my dad can endure the hard work of breathing, and still wants to see friends and family, go to church and concerts, doing the work of life, then surely I can endure being his witness, standing by and assisting him.
A couple other candidates for 2020 resolutions are:
“Observe one Sabbath day each week.” This was proposed by my son, who does just that and has written extensively on it. He and his wife observe Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Sabbath dinner on Friday is very special, with candles and prayers and a time of praising each family member gathered around the table. The praise time can be a bit embarrassing, but it’s hard to be crabby with someone that you’re publicly expressing praise and gratitude for once a week! It’s hard for me to imagine observing Sabbath a full 24 hours each week, but I could at least resolve to think about it.
“Get help with cleaning the house.” This was proposed by my husband and seconded by everyone who visits. Perhaps “love endures all things” will help me to cope with the lack of privacy a housekeeper would cause me.
As for keywords, “bear,” “endure,” “love,” and “gratitude” are all good candidates. Pastor Mark offered his own candidate a few sermons back in the fall: “shine.” That goes well with 2020, which in my free association leads me to 20-20 vision and clarity and visibility and on to light, illuminating darkness. The desire of my heart is to be an agent of light, walking as a child of the light from our Lord Jesus.
So, thank you for thinking all this through with me! Here’s my 2020 plan:
2020 Key Scripture: “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NASB)
Don’t be crabby.
Set aside 4 consecutive hours each week for Sabbath rest.
Hire a house-cleaner.
2020 Theme: “Be light”
Dear brothers and sisters, may God favor your reflections on 2019 and grant you overflowing blessings in the new year!