I’m really glad it’s a new year. I like when things begin. There’s so much hope and potential. Usually, in the new year, I like to ponder that potential and think of how I can change things. Make the world better. Make myself better. *ahem* Resolutions.
But New Years resolutions require more than the drop of hope my attitude is currently letting into my life. I’ve tried to muster up those feelings of hope and the thoughts about what I could do to make things better. But because hope isn’t something you can muster up, and because I haven’t given enough time this week to the One who is our Living Hope, I have been in a pretty depressed state. Which is not a good way to start a new year, I think to myself, which only makes me more miserable. Come on, self, stop being like that.
Don’t get me wrong. I have TONS to be thankful for this year. I graduated, got a job I don’t hate going to every day, and I married my favorite person in the world. So why am I bummed out? Because I would have resolved to travel. I would have resolved to spend time volunteering. I would have resolved to be a missionary in a foreign country. I would have resolved to be more of the wonderful, beautiful, free and independent and adventurous person I used to dream I was. But as I sat in my office, writing my grocery list at the end of the work day, all I saw myself doing was pushing a cart down the aisles of Kroger, wondering where the pesto sauce was.
Not that it’s still my vision of hell, but this is exactly what I used to NOT want. Spending day after day in an office and evening after evening cooking and cleaning. It feels like the precursor to living a suburban life, with neighborhood cookouts and women’s book club and kids. I do not know why I detest and/or fear these things so much. I used to feel the same way about marriage, and now I really like marriage. So I’ll probably be proved wrong about those other things too. But the fact is, I’m having a pity party because my life is different than I thought it would be, and I don’t have any talent or skills or power to get myself out of where I am. My point is, I’m currently very aware of how I can’t change anything in my life (except my attitude – we’re getting there). So what’s the point of resolutions?
When I take this question to Jesus, He says, You have always been powerless. Ever since I put my life in His hands, I’ve had no control. Apparently I am only just now realizing it. And I’m not really here to be a hero. I am here not only to be an example of who Jesus is, but who Jesus isn’t, and by that point out his wonderful mercy and grace.
So I resolve to wear my heart on my sleeve. To not hide that I am sometimes depressed and sometimes have a bad attitude. I am not going to hide my weakness; I am going to ask for prayer. I am going to see what happens in my community when I decide to be open and vulnerable. My weaknesses, my powerlessness, show where He is strong. And I will praise Him for being All that I am not.
At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
“My grace is sufficient for you;
“My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
-2 Corinthians 12: 8-10 (The Message)