All of the hoopla of a new year — a new decade can feel overwhelming like the throngs of crowds who enthusiastically greet it in celebration when the clock strikes midnight. This year I slept right through it. Partly because it makes more sense to start anew with a proper night’s sleep and mostly because I am just not that into the hype of a new year. I’m not interested in goal-setting or resolutions or crushing it (whatever “it” may be.) It’s not because I’m complacent or lack ambition or betterment. It’s just that for me, resolutions never seem to be the way to affect genuine life change.
By nature, I was always a rules person. I played by the rules. I made countless rules. I was disciplined (and neurotic) enough to think the criteria I set for my life was paramount to achieving success or at least to maintaining order.
Not in the span of a day or even a year, but in incremental shifts and small seemingly insignificant moments, I realized that however well-intentioned my resolutions were, they were feeding a mindset of unworthiness. Instead, I began to consider the threshold of unconditional love that is the basis of Christianity. I tried to wrap my head around the enormous truth of being loved right where we are and I started to question the motivations that ruled me. I came to know mercy in a meaningful way. I didn’t use it as a crutch to allow myself to do whatever I pleased. It wasn’t an invitation to complacency. It was motivation to stop putting emphasis on the worldly and pay more attention to the worthwhile. It was permission to let go of the perfect and find grace in imperfection. It was possibilities made endless through the merits of forgiveness, the boundless pursuit of compassion, and the insurmountable power of love.
Mercy is less of a resolution and more of a refuge. It is a remarkable source of empowerment and I have achieved more through its merits than I ever did following even the most stringent of rules. I love the intention behind resolutions – the motivation of wanting to better oneself. More so, I love the freedom that being loved and enough by an ever-generous God gives me to do more – not in terms of mankind’s measurements but as his will manifests in my life.
The nature of time is to move forward reminding us to let go of whatever is holding us back. Time doesn’t wait for us to reach our resolutions and neither should we wait to follow the path that God has planned for us. The present moment, right here and right now, we begin anew. With God’s mercy on our side, every moment can be a new beginning—a resolution based not on rule-following but on the gentle ruler of our hearts.
While I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I would love to hear about some of yours or any encouragement you can offer to those who have committed to new goals. My encouragement is to start where you are — again and again until by God’s grace you are no longer starting but amidst your heart’s desire. Many happy new beginnings to you this year.