Resolutions and reflections
By Rev. Jordan B. Davis (M.Div.‘14)
It has now been a week since the new year began and everyone seems to be asking “what are your resolutions?” After many failed resolutions, I tend to steer away from New Year’s resolutions nowadays. Something about the guilt of the “failed” diet, missed workout, and consumed beverage just doesn’t make me feel so great during the long and cold winter months. While planning discussion topics for my young adult groups this past week, I kept hearing that “question of the month” in my head but couldn’t bring myself to go there in our discussions, so I began to think about resolutions in a new way.
Typically, we make resolutions in the light of things we “should” do better or differently as a way to match some magic mold created by media and society. What if we looked at them, instead, as avenues to reflect our faith in God and to portray more the way that God is working in our lives?
With this thought in mind, I asked some of the parents in my “Parents of Young Children” group (a mouthful, huh?) “What resolutions have you made and how do they reflect your faith and how God works in your life for YOUR CHILDREN?” Since then, I have also asked my general young adult group and my youth advisors a variation of this question.
It was interesting to look at both typical and unique resolutions in this way.
If we are resolving to lose weight so that we look better, are we really portraying the important fact that we are created in God’s image? How can we expect our children to live into this beautiful reassurance if we do not?
If we resolve, instead, to be more active so that we have more energy, feel better, and are healthier and thus able to spend time with and care for our families in a fuller way, we show a care for and appreciation of God’s creation in us as well as for others. We are more able to live into our call.
We also talked about resolutions to both receive and share hospitality more often, to spend more face-to-face time rather than just computer-to-computer time, and even to take advantage of more opportunities in life. Jesus didn’t minister or live behind a computer screen or scroll and he didn’t shut the door on guests — he ministered and lived WITH the people, face to face, eating WITH and praying WITH them. I don’t remember reading about Jesus saying, “No thanks, that is out of my comfort zone…” Instead, Jesus led others out of their comfort zones.
God created each of us in a beautiful and unique way – why do we so often resolve to find a way to fit the same mold as everyone else? How would our relationship with God change and grow if we shifted our resolutions to reflections of God instead? How would our relationships with one another and with the world change if instead of losing weight, we resolved to share God’s grace more?
This year, I pray that every person who has made a resolution finds a way to follow through – because we all need a little extra encouragement sometimes. I also pray that we each find ways to not only resolve to change the way we live, but also (and more importantly) find ways to reflect God in the way that we already live and seek to live.
What resolutions have you made and how do they reflect your faith and how God works in your life for YOUR families and congregations?