Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Road of Good Intentions

My Facebook status today went something like this: "The road of resolutions is paved with good intentions and the roadkill of passed failures." 

I am the first to admit that I fail often at things I have intentions of accomplishing...especially when it comes to resolutions.  How is it that this happens?  We/I seem to constantly be in this state of inability and it seems worse at some times than others.  This year for some reason I seem more acutely aware of all the things I planned to accomplish and failed in.  Its a very long list as I am that person who's favorite saying is "Oh wouldn't it be cool if we could....!"  Yep, that would be me...the dreamer or I prefer to call myself the visionary or the "idea" person as I am forever coming up with ideas.  However, my remembering is not fraught with guilt as many find when they fail but is now tempered with a quiet understanding that I am not really the one in control and that non of us are no matter how much we would like to feel or believe we are.

In reading status updates of people on Facebook this past  week I realized that there are many who seem to feel there is a need to set New Years resolutions.  A resolution is like a promise to work at bringing forth what one sees as necessary or needed change. I honestly have to say that I have rarely set New Years resolutions for myself and failed miserably at every one I ever did make. You see I don't need a specific date for mine to be launched  I made them all the time.  I think most of us are like that really but we find the new year a great place to make a public statement of our intentions.  So as the new year approached I became curious as to why we ever make them in the first place if there is so little hope of success.  I've had my ear to the ground and here are some things I've found on the subject.

Did you know that people who are unhappy or depressed (about 80%) make resolutions more than those who are not and that happy people rarely if ever make these types of resolutions?  The fact that unhappiness seems to lead people do it most gave me pause to consider why I ever made them myself.  I only remember ever making New Year's resolutions a couple of times actually but made thousands of other resolutions at other times.  I believe it has more to do with our feeling of self worth and contentment than anything else.

The Bible says quite a bit about us making plans and is full of lessons on the subject.  But then is says also that it is not us but God who is the one who determines our steps...even our words and those He knows even before we speak them!  If you take a good look at New Years resolutions you will notice that most of them are self serving even when they seem on the surface to not be so.  I think this in itself is a major cause for them failing.  There is bitter fruit in selfish ambition.  Yes I said selfish ambition.  You see when we make a self centered goal and proceed to see it met our ambition is selfish.  OUCH!  I've been there too so don't say I'm pointing this finger at you...the other 4 are pointed back at me remember.

If your resolution is to feel better about yourself my question would be why do you feel bad about yourself in the first place?  Do you feel you are worth less because of who you are?  Hmmm.  I see it all the time.  I need to lose weight.  I need to get in shape.  I need to be "better".   Here's a question for you that I want you to really think about...What if God could use you best just the way you are????  REALLY!  YOU"VE GOT TO BE KIDDING?!?  Did you just scream that in your own mind?  I mean it when I say to think about it.  I've had to.

Four years ago I had successfully lost fifty pounds and was physically fit with my blood pressure being that of an athlete.  I got my hair cut and colored, was able for the first time in years, have fun shopping for clothes because they fit.  The circumstance of my new body image made me feel happy!  With the weight gone I walked taller, my posture was near perfect and I felt wonderful.  My husband would call me his little whisp of a woman, which I loved as I'd always felt I was built more like a pack mule...sturdy and low to the ground.  You see I was not happy with how I was made and did not feel feminine because I was not one of those whispy women until now.  In reality I was just plain not happy with this body I'd been given in the first place but tried to cloak my resolve in a self righteous attitude about keeping my body healthy to serve God.  UGH!  What a load of horse pucky!

My success in meeting my goal would not last.  In less than a year after losing the weight I began getting a tightness in my thighs when I would stretch after walking.  My back, which was injured a few years before, began to give me so much trouble I had to greatly reduce the time I spent exercising to maintain this new healthier body.  My resolve to be a healthy, fit woman went right out the window.  It seemed better to God to set me down in a chair so He could get my attention than to have me out working out and looking all whispy!   That I needed to learn to listen to Him was more important to Him than to keep me strong in my body.  He put a hobble on me so I'd learn how and learn my lesson well.  I had no way of knowing when I set that resolve to lose the weight and accomplished it that I would do a total reversal physically and gain it all back.  I was certain I could keep it off because I loved the way I felt and the way I looked.  I even would walk by the plus size section in the clothing store and thank God that I was never going to shop in that section again.  Boy was I wrong.  Funny thing about all this though, I'm actually the happiest and most contented I've ever been.  My body is the weakest its ever been but my faith the strongest.  My discomfort has brought about eternal benefit.

So if you have been tempted to make a resolution this year or find yourself always trying to make yourself a better you I would ask you to seriously consider if it is really necessary.  I have found that this new me is far happier and grounded than the old me.  I'm sitting on prime real estate with longer racing down the road of good intentions.  So what how about you?  Take some time to ask God what He would have you do.  I think you will find the payoff to be amazing.

Proverbs 5:21-23, 16:9 Matthew 6:24-27,33,34

May God bless you with ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart of understanding this coming year.  And may you see that He has made you just as He needs you to be.  Happy New year. 

Copyright © 2010 by Patty Hicks

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