Why do we struggle so much with beginnings and endings?
Why do we have such a hard time when things come to an end or when faced with a new adventure calling our names?
What is it about how we’ve been created that makes these things cast such large shadows that more often than not, we run and hide, seeking the comfortable safety and shelter of the familiar?
These are just a few of the questions I’ve been asking over the last several weeks.
Like you, I’ve been bombarded with seasonal messages and topically themed blog posts about things like setting goals, making resolutions, and the true meaning of Christmas.
And can I continue to be honest with you? I’ve ignored most of them.
This year has been jammed packed with lots and lots of STUFF and these last few weeks has been an incredible time of unplugging a bit and finding some rest.
It’s not that I don’t care about the true meaning of Christmas or the importance of setting goals, etc. That’s not it at all. It’s just that I have come to understand that when I start to feel the pressure and pull of what everyone else is doing, I need to do the opposite.
Succumbing to that pressure is what fuels the false self and nothing will kill beauty, kill the heart, like the false self.
But back to the questions I raised earlier.
As 2014 begins, we’re all together in this same space of experiencing different degrees of highs and lows. And even as the Christmas season starts to fade and our senses become dull to the majesty of it, you’re faced with the inevitable new year that has arrived whether you like it or not.
Which leaves you with a choice to make; either you can attempt to escape, run and hide, or you can dive head first into the adventure that is waiting this new year.
Me? I want to say that I’m diving right in. That I’m not looking and jumping into the deep end head first, no looking back.
But that’s not completely honest.
To be completely honest, I’m a bit scared.
What if this year turns out to be another year of exactly the same? What if I continue to fail, mess-up and let those that count on me the most down, all over again?
That’s what is keeping me stopped in my tracks so far. Stalled out. Stuttering, puttering, and limping along.
Then I came across a couple verses the other day that have helped me understand at least a little bit of why this tension exists, why this struggle with beginnings and endings is experienced by so many.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Rev. 1:8
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” Rev. 1:17-18
I’ve read those verses over and over the last few days and the thing that keeps coming back to me is the last question I asked above. What is it about how we’ve been created…
Let me nail it down.
We’ve been created not only BY God, but created in HIS exact image. Did you catch the nuance there? It’s a whole different issue altogether.
We’ve been created to reflect His glory and designed to experience abundance only when resting in that glory.
That’s precisely what John Piper means when he communicates the mission and purpose of Desiring God.
Understanding that we have been created in the image of the One who knows no time, knows no beginning, and no ending; a natural tension is established. After all, all that we experience in life, this side of heaven are those very things, beginnings and endings.
Loved ones die, jobs start and end, relationships and friendships dissolve, money gets earned and then spent, and nothing seems to truly last. In spite of all our very best efforts, absolutely everything we touch corrodes and falls to pieces, eventually.
So what if the secret, if there truly is a secret of any kind, is to accept that tension and cease our attempts at resolving it?
What if the intent is to invite The Father right smack dab into it?
A Better Approach
I’m convinced that what the gospel frees us to do is not simply live a life of trying harder or making more resolutions or creating more rules of discipline for ourselves, but rather unclenching our fists and letting go.
Instead of the strict legalistic attempts at behavior modification, make room for the unknown, create margin for the beauty around you and allow yourself to be surprised by what happens.
Should you set goals, and make resolutions this new year?
Absolutely, I think you should! You can never improve on anything when you don’t measure, and process where you come from and take stock of where you’re going.
I’m just choosing not to use the word resolutions anymore. Instead I’m making declarations. (I’ll be doing a series about this soon, so be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss out.)
Join me in letting this new year be the very best year ever!
What goals and/or resolutions have you decided to make for 2014?
Share your comments in the comments below!
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