What is the purpose of a resolution, after all is said and done? For many the new year is the trigger point for resolutions. And for many the resolution is broken quickly and forgotten.
In my current state of affairs, I challenge myself to resolve to a process. Otherwise, I believe that resolutions are a set up for failure. Resolutions I contend, are triggers, starting points, not the completion of an action, but the beginning of a process. And so I hope to share with you my resolutions from around 1977, still working on them, but resolved nonetheless.
The groundwork. I can’t change tomorrow because I say I want to change something. I can alter a moment. I can start a process. If I choose a good process, I have discovered that it remains fresh and new and alive. I may waiver, but that is because I am not perfect.
In 1977, I resolved to quit tobacco, chewing, smoking, dipping tobacco. I have been tobacco free for about 12 years now. So that took a little over 2 decades. But frankly, that was a resolution to me, and finally a victory over what I considered to be a bad habit.
In 1977, I resolved to lose weight. I think the last time I weighed under 200 pounds was around 1978. I would be happy now if I were under 300 today. So that is a resolution that needs to be revisited. More bad habits I need to correct.
In 1977, I discovered that life, and my Spiritual life in particular was and is a process. My relationship with God is not a resolution, it is a process. And in that year and every year since then I have learned that I travel a road, not paved with steps of perfection, but with the process paving blocks that lead toward a life of perfection and maturity.
I had been a student of the Bible for many years. But in 1977 I accepted a position as a youth minister in Tulsa, Ok. Honestly, little has been the same since. Nothing has been more challenging than the honest questions and searching of bright teenage men and women. Doubters, believers, followers, wanderers. I loved that group of folks. So much so that it probably motivated my return to Tulsa, after an absence of 30+ years.
And in 1977-78, a process was started that continues to this day, and this moment… and this moment. For those of you who are not believers, feel free to do as you wish with these words. For those of you who do believe, I hope the discussion of this process brings you hope. It is a part and portion of God’s resolutions for me.
I share with you the most powerful verses to touch my life. I did not discover them in those early Tulsa years, the discovery was years before. But the resolution… I believe the birthplace of the resolution was Tulsa. This is my resolution.
James 1:2-5 “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”
“Consider it pure joy”, it is a resolution followed by process. Trust me, as a person who has resolved to quit tobacco, or lose weight, or consider it joy… the resolution is easy. It is the process that takes time. The process does not require perfection. The process requires an awareness to the process. The process forges perfection. Like the refiners fire for gold and dross.
Considering the process is really a blessing. I mean it is easy to consider it joy if all of the circumstances of my life are just as i wished or hoped they would be. But the trigger in this verse is to consider it joy in the midst of trials and tribulations. I could write about this for pages, but I will sum it up with the belief that this is a faith trigger. And for believers, faith is the touchstone of …. well…. faith. And “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
And the process continues, faith produces endurance. Why must we endure? Well I believe endurance would not be necessary if I had the life cycle of a fruit fly. But I am blessed with years and multiple challenges.
And If I allow endurance to have its perfect result, I will be perfect and mature, lacking in nothing. And that my friends is the reason for my resolution in the first place. I desire changes in my life. Why? So I can be mature and complete lacking in nothing. And though the challenges are manifold to reach this destination. Resolved I am, to get there.
And it all starts with Consider it all joy. Consider it all joy. That does NOT mean everything is a joy. Not everything is a trigger for thankfulness. In fact my first blog post the day before Thanksgiving, 2013, was entitled “A moment to be Unthankful.” It startled some wondering about my mental well being. But there is light in the shadows. And my resolve is to consider it all joy.
And for those in the process, I am pleased to point out that there is actually a caveat. Tucked at the end of this Bible passage, the promise of wisdom. When I don’t understand the process, when I struggle with the ability to consider, I have an “out.” An open invitation to ask God for wisdom. Given Generously and without finding fault. Wisdom is a glorious gift. And a blessing to be received in the midst of any process.
I can already tell 2014 is going to be a great year. I have considered it.