New Years Resolutions

Overcoming Excuses to Make a Change

One of the joys of starting a New Year is the opportunity it affords to initiate a long overdue and much needed change. It is a season ripe for a breakthrough – that will free us from the inertia of the past while propelling us to possess a preferred future – that will break us free from the old while enabling us to lay hold of the new. That is the essence of what we call turning over a new leaf.

When it comes to finally doing what we have hoped and longed to do, many of us can sound like the lame man laying at the Pool of Bethesda. He had a paralytic condition that hindered him from being able to respond in time to the stirring-of-the-water seasons that periodically came along for his healing. As a result, year after year rolled by with their missed opportunities, and his excuse for his inability to change became his testimony – “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:5 NIV).

Excuses abound when desired change is not forthcoming. We easily can become fixated on the things that seem to be holding us back. Not unlike the man stuck at the edge of the pool, just feet away from his breakthrough, most are quick to cling to excuses rather than seriously consider what it will take to overcome them and make the change. Or more precisely, WHO it will take to overcome them and make the change.

Hope for New Years Resolutions

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? In just days we mark the beginning of a New Year – 2011. It is an opportunity to script a new beginning and turn over a new leaf.

When I did a quick survey of a number of websites touting popular New Year’s resolutions I discovered they all fall into one of the following categories, listed here in no particular order . . .

One of the great theological treatises on the pitfalls and perils of new beginnings is the 1991 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. It is the story of an arrogant, self-centered man named Phil who finds himself trapped in living the same day over and over and over again. Despite numerous resolutions, no matter how hard he tries he cannot turn over a new leaf on the calendar. Every morning Phil wakes up to the same song on the radio, meets the same people, faces the same problems and is confronted with the same decisions. Essentially he is sentenced to reliving the day until he finally has a change of heart that enables him to get it right.

The deep theological truth embedded in this movie is that an internal change is required for an external change to truly take effect.

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