Resolutions vs Joy Multiplied

Resolutions vs Joy Multiplied

New Year, New You!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? It’s a topic of conversation the week before and after January 1 every year, whether it be around the office water cooler or a friend’s social media feed. Headline: Resolutions, Yes …or No?  I have never really put much stock into make a resolution.  One year I resolved to not. Make a resolution that is.

Last year was pretty tough for me; I know I’m not alone.  The year wasn’t a knock-down-drag-out kidney punch and body slam kind of year.  While it had those moments it was more akin to a blister on your heel, and you can’t change your shoes — ever. If you moved slowly, gingerly everything was okay. And when you couldn’t, it hurt like hell. To garner your sympathy I could write a litany of all the things that went cock-eyed, topsy turvy and full-on upside down in 2017.  But I won’t.  That’s not the point.

These past couple of months I was wont to find some kind of peace with myself, my depression, my health, my year.  And the Spirit of the season began to wrest a little with my heart.  There were these little nudges, these reminders that others were sharing on social media, which individually seemed innocuous, but together made something glaringly clear.  I had no JOY. None.

Joy is not like happiness. Happiness is relative.  It is dependant on outside factors and stimuli.  You can fake happiness. You can’t fake joy.  Joy comes from deep inside. It can not be manufactured, only multiplied.  It was then the Spirit lit an ember.

A few days ago a friend messaged me about trying an Episcopal church after a painful season of anger after being hurt by the church.  I reminded my friend (again) that it wasn’t God who caused this pain, it was the flawed people in the church who did.  Then, then, I had a realization.

I realized I had not been practicing what I was preaching. For the first time in years the notion of letting go of past church hurts went from my head to my heart.  I’ve known all along the hurt I felt was caused by the people I went to church with.  They knew I stopped attending.  What they didn’t know was that it was they who drove me away.  I knew forgiving was what I needed to do.  A lifetime of attending church told me that’s what needed to be done.  I knew there was that plank in my eye.  And I was quite content to smack people around with it rather than get rid of it.  Except the only one hurt by my plank-stuffed eye was me.   I wanted to keep shaking my fist, saying ‘See what you’ve done! And you don’t even know it! HA!  I’ll show you’ and I stayed away.

But …I am tired of staying away.  I’m tired of empty and hollow, of clinging.

Resolutions are our way of saying “I’m going to do better.”  The problem is most of us don’t know how.  I certainly don’t.  Rather than make resolutions I know I will fail at,  I have chosen three Focus Words for 2018. My hope is that by living these words throughout the year many aspects and areas of my life will improve.

Consistency

(be) Present

Joy

I don’t want a new me.  I want a renewed me.

The ember is starting to grow.

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Come Thou Fount

Tears. Unexpected, streaming tears. Sweet, cleansing, purposeful tears. Washing, joy-filled, releasing tears. The kind that catch your breath and leave you speechless.  It was just what my weary heart needed today.

 

Come thou fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing thy grace

Streams of mercy never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise.

Teach me some melodious sonnet

Sung by flaming tongues above.

Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it

Mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my  Ebenezer

Here by thy great help I’ve come

And I hope by thy good pleasure

Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger

Wand’ring from the fold of God.

He to rescue me from danger

Interposed his precious blood.

O that day when freed from sinning

I  shall see thy lovely face.

Clothed then in blood-washed linen

How I’ll sing thy sovereign grace.

Come, my Lord, no longer tarry

Take my ransomed soul away.

Send thine angels now to carry me

To realms of endless day.

O to grace, how great a debtor,

Daily I’m constrained to be.

Let thy goodness like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart, O, take and seal it

Seal it for thy courts above

I have loved this hymn since I was a little girl.  The melody is simple and almost poetic.  I want it played, or sung, or both, at my funeral some day, many, many years from now.  Lord willing.

An Englishman, Robert Robinson, went to a revival with the intent of mockery and heckling attendees.  Instead his soul was touched and three years later he gave his life to  Christ. In 1757 or 1758, he wrote this hymn while preparing a sermon.  Two hundred fifty-nine year later the words are still moving within the hearts of those who will listen.

And listen, won’t you?