Redemptive Resolutions 2019
It is startling to me that 2019 is here...where did 2018 go? With the arrival of a new year comes hopeful expectations and enthusiasm. However, even though I was almost giddy for the arrival of 2018, I know I am not alone in my readiness to say goodbye to this year. The question then becomes what will be done with the theoretical clean slate that is 2019.
This is where 2019’s Redemptive Resolutions come into play. As we re-emerge from the Christmas haze, it is a good time to remember the point of Christ’s birth. He came so that we might be redeemed, and as a redeemed people we are called to live in a manner that strives to recover that which has been lost through the Fall. Asking ourselves how our jobs, families, friendships, etc. can be redeemed helps to shape our goals for 2019. Understanding what the idols in our lives are can also shape our resolutions. So much of what needs to be redeemed is tied to our destructive idols. Dietrich Bonhoeffer reportedly said, “Atheism was not introduced in the garden, but idolatry was.” So, these two questions about redemption and idolatry serve to minimize how distracted we are by our feelings, our personal definitions of truth, and our own sins—filters that keep us focused on those things that are truly significant.
Even if we could all agree on the above, knowing what redemption looks like is not always obvious. Neither is properly identifying idols. Certain questions and examples can greatly assist with both of these issues, especially since the answers are not the same for everyone or every situation. In the coming blogs we are going to provide some things to help promote our thinking in these areas. By way of encouragement, I am convinced that recognizing redemptive solutions and idols are skills to be cultivated through practice. Developing these kinds of “muscles” will allow us to be more proactive in our pursuit of the holy.
Here are my redemptive resolutions for 2019:
#1 Create Beauty—In 2016 one of my resolutions was to “Take in Beauty.” While this is still a goal, for 2019 it has been modified to the creation of it and to do so by living more beautifully.
#2 Take a Tech Audit—Ask questions about the technology that is in my life and what purpose it is serving. Is it moving my soul towards virtue? What adjustments need to be made? Is technology creating false realities (e.g. FB is not community)? How much time per day to do I spend with technology outside of work? What could I do with that time instead?
#3 Live Joyfully—This is not about being a Pollyanna, but rather becoming more self-conscious when overwhelmed with work or life in general. Part of this is striving for greater recognition of true blessings. Another piece would be to eliminate certain phrases or habits like “Oh, I am so busy” or deep sighs when life is not meeting my expectations. These are the kinds of things that quickly become automatic response mechanisms which does damage to our attitudes and can even distort reality. For example, if I procrastinate and do not plan well, then I can become too busy and overwhelmed because I have not properly anticipated deadlines. When my response to others is that “I am so busy,” I can begin to believe it when in reality better planning and being more proactive may have kept life more manageable.
#4 Read More—Someone once said, “The most powerful influences in our lives are the books we read and the company we keep.” It is hard to describe but reading good books enlarges our world, humbles our hearts, and stimulates our minds.
#5 Establish the Work of My Hands—Psalm 90 challenges us to “number our days” and then Moses’ prayer ends by asking God to “establish the work of our hands.” At the end of every year, Bonhoeffer made a habit of reading Psalm 90 which is filled with rich insights. After reading Psalm 90 multiple times over the past several weeks, this may be a routine I adopt going forward.
#6 Integrate my Redemption Resolutions—There are numerous articles that tout the value of integrating annual goals monthly as well as weekly. This is to help prompt us that what we do each week should be moving us towards our goals. For the past several years, many planners are including sections at the beginning of each month and week that capture the annual goals as visual reminders. Here’s to better execution.
Of course, listing these are much easier than executing, so my prayer is that these would encourage me to live more redemptively. Do you make redemptive resolutions? We would love to know your list. If you are willing, please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!