Should we make New Year’s resolutions?

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I cannot remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution. My experience is that the second and third week of January seems to always bring a rush of opportunities that serve as distractions from any specific changes I try to make. The attempts don’t last.

The short, cynical answer to this might be: if you are a Type A personality, go for it. If you are a Type B personality, it might be better for you to use your energy for other purposes. I say short and cynical because I am mostly a Type B personality and have not been able to keep up yearlong goals, well, pretty much ever. I recall as a child, one of the most offensive things for me was giving me a task list. I don’t know why, and I’ve grown out of most of that today, but something in my inner being just curdled at the sight of personal time management – especially if it was imposed by someone else. It was/is something more than just a problem with authority too. I think it feels more like claustrophic panic attacks being set off just at the thought of tight spaces.

Two years ago, I learned something new about myself though and have been living a significantly more organized life. Some days, I might even pass for a Type A. What was this powerful piece of knowledge? Teamwork.

Teamwork is more than just playing nice. The whole value of teamwork is based on the idea that we (the team) are more than the sum of our parts. It seems simple, but mathematically it looks like saying 3 = more than 1 + 2. Either that doesn’t make sense logically, or we have to redefine our understanding of what a team is and decide that it is not combination by addition, it is combination by multiplication! All of our gifts and experieces have the potential to interact in new combinations with all the gifts and experiences of those working with us. That’s not addition – That’s multiplication!

What I learned last year was that I am not reason enough myself to motivate self-change, but for the sake of the team, I can overcome those innate inadequacies and make those changes. I discovered I can do that because it is only in the context of a team that I can really become more than myself.

The Apostle John wrote:

We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

I believe John found this sense of team so much among his fellow believers in Christ that he was willing to put his own life on the line for the sake of the team. The kind of team that he joined went far beyond making New Year’s resolutions. He found that through the fellowship of disciples of Jesus (whatever form that Church took then) he gained access, not only to the others in the group, but access to the love and power of God as well. What would you give for that?

Should we make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t think it matters one way or another. Do you want to really make a difference in your life, your health, your family, and your goals in life? Join (and participate) in a Christian group somewhere. Join a bible study, sing in a choir, go all out and join a church… I realize it is no longer socially valuable anymore, but I guarantee you that if you find a church that you can honestly call home, you will never find another more encouraging, motivating, and supportive group anywhere else in the world.

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