Every year or so I have to buy a new journal. Presented with fresh, crisp new pages and promises of a new start, unfailingly I start out page one with a resolve – that within this new personal epistle, I will tell the story of sure-to-be-seen victories and spiritual triumphs in my life, a daily account of Christ's faithfulness. Months, sometimes years later, when that now-old and tattered journal is completed, rather than a daily account of my victory, it's all too often a sad portrayal of my failures. Long stretches of nothing between dates, then pages of confession and brokenness. Self-centered prayers and misplaced dreams held onto that should have been long left behind. The handwriting that started out so perfect becomes sloppy and at times, almost unreadable. At the end of it all, the only thing left of my good intentions is that Christ's faithfulness never slackened or failed me.
New Year's Resolutions are too much
like my new journal expectations – well-meant, even beautiful, even
right and perfect...but in fulfillment, speckled with ink blots and
failures. And so, I don't make New Year's Resolutions. Because the
truth is...I will fail. I will forget. I will choose not to. I will
hold onto the things I shouldn't. I will eat that third bowl of ice
cream. I will neglect my Bible. I will make that mistake. I will love
that sin more than Christ.
And whereas it is never ok to excuse
sin, I am born of trouble, as sparks fly upward. I am not perfect or
sinless. I am not free from temptation nor have I achieved a level of
spiritual perfection. Instead, as a new year begins, I embrace my
humanity. I acknowledge that in this new year, I will have journal
pages full of failure and sins that I regret. I cannot be perfect
this year. To expect anything other than that for myself, is
guaranteed to only reap failure and condemnation on myself.
In 2015, I will fail, of that I am
certain. However I am also certain of this, that the forgiveness,
grace and cleansing unto victory that I faithfully received from
Christ all throughout 2014, is the same forgiveness, grace and
cleansing unto victory that I will receive every day of this new
year. I do not go into a new year defeated by my sure sin or by expectations that will only lead to failure. But
instead, I embrace who I am and what I am...and hold even tighter to
Christ who redeems me and indeed, who IS my perfection. I strive for
Christ-likeness, not perfection. Because He IS my perfection.
Each day I pray that I will choose the right over wrong. But in the days, perhaps long days when I do not choose that, I won't look at my failure to meet perfect expectations but rather the promise of God's faithfulness even when I don't.