Friday, January 4, 2013
When I stopped making New Year’s resolutions it meant that I also gave up month-of-May resolutions, birthday resolutions, week-of-September 7 resolutions, wedding anniversary resolutions, new home and job resolutions, etc. etc. Pick a day out of a hat and I could declare, "From this point on, I am going to do 50 sit ups every day." Or, "From this day forward, I will never again eat an Oreo cookie."
How ridiculous, because what we are doing is putting faith in a date on a calendar to be our savior from ourselves or choosing new surroundings like plaster walls and carpet to be our inner change.
Look how well trusting in a date has worked for the end-of-world hobbyists!
Look at how taking a new job has made so many people “happy” or how many new houses have “saved the marriage.”
But, you may protest, what about resolve? Okay, let’s look at resolve: "I resolve to do this, I resolve not to do that." Think about it logically and ask yourself, “How has that worked for me in the past?” “How is it working for me today?” “Will resolve still be there a month from now?” “How well does ‘my resolve’ stand up to temptation and the influence of others?”
Thinking logically about resolve always leads to my favorite question, which is, “How can I help me if I am the problem?”
Resolve, at minimum, is only a platitude, and, at maximum, an attitude. It isn’t an action. And even if we can act on our resolve, it is bound to last only temporarily, as mine always did when I tried secular humanist self-help routes to stop drinking.
Don’t get me wrong: I understand human resolve can be strong. I could go three months on sheer willpower and determination and succeed in not drinking. But each sober day was a horror of listening to the clock tick each and every minute of my “success,” only to go to bed declaring "victory," dreading waking up the next morning faced with having to live through another day like that again (and for the rest of my life).
People say they don’t believe in hell. Well, I’ve tasted hell on earth and living like what I’ve just described is it. It is the very bondage the Bible talks about. It is darkness. I was caged by my efforts to free me. And that, my friends, is hell, believe it or not. I may not have been physically pouring alcohol down my gullet, but I sure wasn’t free of its grip. I wasn’t free of me. And the harder “me” tried to free “me” the more chained I became. My record of physical self-sobriety was three months. But remember, the mental addiction to alcohol remained. And so I drank again, without fail, after several repeats of existing 3 months sober.
I can't say it earnestly enough: A resolve to believe in ourselves when we have nothing to offer is foolishness and a waste of time. It’s time to stop lying to ourselves with the line, “But this time it’ll be different." The only time “This time will be different” is if this time, YOU’RE different. And you’re different only when you are no longer so self-centered to think that you can fix you when you are the problem.
(Part two of this post will appear soon)
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16