Friday, January 20, 2012

Resolve in 2012

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 Resolutions. Everyone makes them. Whether it's an exercise plan that begins religiously on the first of every year, a commitment to read certain books within the month, or a quiet, mental purpose - in the words of Princess Victoria - to "be good," people are constantly resolving to think better, to act better, to be better. Yet, despite the commonality of this routine, one somehow feels more official when sitting down to write in large letters across a blank sheet, "2012 New Year's Resolutions". What will you do with the next 366 days of your life? Plans relating to fitness and finances are perhaps the easiest and most predictable - eat less, save more - they bestow a sense of accomplishment by being clearly quantifiable, easily achievable (with a little discipline! :), and yielding more-or-less immediate results, which monitor the level of commitment to the cause.

But how does one make resolutions in regard to relationships? Parents, brothers, sisters, friends - it is surely far more necessary to have a plan for growing and sharpening these bonds than it is for growing a bank account; yet, too often, goals in these areas are either scantily constructed, or skipped over altogether. Year after year, if relationships even cross one's mind during the planning process, their goals are vaguely confined to "get to know whats-her-name," or "spend more time with so-and-so." Why? Why is it that the most important aspects of life are the ones for which the least intentional plans are laid?

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How laughable it would be to resolve to "loose weight" with no specified intention of altering exercise or diet. How much more so to indistinctly purpose to "have a more sharpening relationship with Jane" but leave out the "how-to"! Yet we do it - the difficulty being in the obscurity of the gauge. We do not receive a bank statement each month, informing us that we're running low in the "quality time" account. We possess no mirror-on-the-wall to reflect a face pimpled with impatience. We cannot step on a scale and see that self-centeredness is beginning to weigh heavy in our interactions with those we love. Relationships are simply not measured in gifts, emails, or hugs. No, the gauge of our efforts lies much deeper, measured only through the looking-glass of Scripture. We must not let this stop us, but how then should we proceed?

Carefully, purposefully - we must stand and defy the tendency to simply drift through days and years, haphazardly "chilling" with friends when we're bored, or cooking with siblings when the fancy strikes. Each interaction should be deliberate: planned and designed to glorify and honor our King. Most importantly, the ultimate relationship we must resolve upon is that treasured gift between our Savior and ourselves. C.S. Lewis well understood how to build and strengthen relationships when he wrote:

"When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed, but increased."
Yes, specific resolutions can be made with regard to relationships, and the "how-to" resides in the diligent seeking of God. With the blessing of His Holy Spirit to lead us, we are without excuse if we fail to purposefully build our relationships this year. My prayer for 2012 is to be intentional with every interaction. From spending time with my Savior each day to giving the random five minutes here-and-there to help the Twinkles with knitting, I want to see and plan this growth with the eyes of my King. After all, we know that resolutions are there for a greater good than depriving us of chocolate. They had better be.


Mikaela said...

Oh yes, they had better be!

This was a fantastic post, with apt descriptions and unique word pictures (I won't get "face pimpled with impatience" out of my head any time soon). Most importantly, though was the message--to take relationships beyond the arena of fun and accidental.

Thanks for the edification!

Lauren said...

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing this! I love that quote by C.S. Lewis--if I ever have a significant other, we're definitely going to have to read and discuss that quote together! Resolutions for relationships mean the most to both the resolver and the family and friends, and your post is very timely!

Lynnae said...

Thanks so much for the post, Sarah! It's very thought provoking, especially when I've been thinking that I really need to take more time with both my savior and family this year.

{Kaytra} said...

Loved it! The C.S. Lewis quote was wonderful, and the entire post was such a motivation to me. Thanks girl. :)