The new year invites us to make resolutions. But too often resolutions merely accentuate our failings. Are we ever enlarged by our aspirations—or only reminded of our chronic failings?
For years my solution has been to avoid the whole mess. I just kept trying but without setting specific goals. I did not suffer the pain of failed aspirations.
Yet, as the annual temptation to make resolutions arises again, I have resolved to take a new approach. I want to try renewable resolutions.
I will make those resolutions that beckon to my soul. I will recklessly commit to no anger, unrelenting compassion, and unflagging faith. My resolutions will be less timid than any time in the past.
I know that I will yet again lose my temper, judge another, and espouse the narrow view. But this is where my new approach will be different. My resolutions will not be some misguided commitment to henceforth be perfect. No. I will work at the resolutions knowing that I will fall short. And when I do, I will follow the scriptural pattern.
The publican stumbled to the temple and cried, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). When I fall short, I will do the same. I will cry out for God’s mercy: “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death” (Alma 36:18).
I know that my only hope for any real reformation of my character is in Jesus. I will, more than ever, turn to Him for the changes that will gradually make me what He invites me to be.