This is the last day of January.
Thirty-one days of 2016 will soon have gone right past me, in just a few more hours.
And I haven’t started any of my New Year resolutions…well, maybe I’ve partially started a couple of them, just a few days ago, at least while it was still January.
But what happened to the other ten or so resolutions I put on my list on New Year’s Day, when I had all the time a new year can bring, when I was so full of plans and determination and…resolution? Where did that go? And where is that darn sheet of paper I listed them all on?
Maybe it’s stuck in one of those three big piles of paperwork still sitting on my desk and chair and sofa, the piles I promised myself I would sort through and take care of. Oh, now I remember: that was an item on my list.
What about you?
Have you, like me, maybe–kind of–sort of begun some things on your list and forgotten about others? Or even reneged on some? Backed away from giving up some item or some person–an attachment stronger than your will, though you know it isn’t good for you?
Apostle Paul wrote,
“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another.” He goes on to say, “I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.”
Been there, done that, Paul. Nice to know I’m not alone.
Paul goes on to say (the Message version, Romans 7),
“My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.”
Well, maybe not every time, Paul. Too much wallowing! I stick to good decisions lots of time.
But, I do admit this: When I disappoint myself with a misstep, yes, it feels like the despair Paul describes, whether the misstep has surprised me or whether I saw it coming all along, and let it.
But God sent me help through Jesus–not the kind of help that turned me into some kind of a robot who never makes mistakes but real help. Such good news that it turned me inside out! So I could focus more on God and not myself.
I no longer had to worry about keeping the law that kept tripping me up, me and Paul, making us pay more attention to that worry than to God.
Paul learned the hard way, too. He reminds me (in Romans 8) to “simply embrace what the Spirit is doing” in me and trust God, not the law, and that “those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed” but that “those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them–living and breathing God!”
So, me and Paul (and you, too) can say, Yes! Welcome, welcome in me Holy Spirit of Christ! May our lists be abandoned! May God reign in us! Yes, may God reign!