As a secular New Year begins, there is often the urge to resolve to be better, do better, accomplish something or give up something. The reality is that these rarely work—because their source is our inner judge who is always telling us we are “less than” somehow. This is not the voice of God. These resolutions are born of our egos that want to control us, and eventually we resist and give up, only seeming to prove that we aren’t disciplined enough, good enough, strong enough. We clench our fists.
A spiritual practice of resolutions feels quite different--and a difficult one indeed. It’s a surrender. Instead of our familiar egoic selves deciding what we need to resolve to do or be this year, the practice is to simply ask God. Wait and then listen and then trust what you hear. When we resolve to ask God, the response we receive is far kinder, wiser and supportive in contrast to that of the inner judge. The judge will make you feel inferior. The voice of our Abba will lift you up, whispering freedom, reminding you that you are the Beloved, not separate, not alone. Our fists are opened.
Another means of grace.
Pastor Marcia Wakeland is a retired ELCA pastor, a spiritual director and a listening advocate. She is interested in the actual experience of having faith and how that is lived out. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments or more questions. Her ongoing blog of living out spiritual practices is listeninglife.live.