I do not make New Year’s resolutions.
For me, they come up hollow and wanting.
Sort of like when I tasted cotton candy for the first time. The packaging all fluffed up and colorful made it look like a good idea, but was such a dissolving disappointment in the end.
Keeping the traditional resolution feels like nose-to-the-grindstone work; something I don’t want to do, yet need to do to become the best version of me.
What does this even mean?
How many versions of me are there? Is there a Cinderella version? A Carol Burnett version? Is there an unabridged version somewhere that I don’t know about? Ask my family. They probably know.
It’s a bit too bumper sticker for me, really.
Sort of like the WWJD bracelet of the ’90’s. What would Jesus do?
Probably not wear the bracelet, for one. It wasn’t about the externals with Jesus, anyway. Besides, he broke everything down to two things. Love God. Love people.
Trying to create the best version of myself feels like a bunch of cotton candy. A sticky mess with not much to show for it.
For the past several years, instead of resolutions, I chose one thing that I thought would fit into God’s two things. Last year I wanted more joy, so I went to the most joyful person I could find. Jesus.
In my journey I discovered that so many people think God is angry and Jesus is…dour. So many of us humans do not know that God sings and Jesus laughs.
It wasn’t easy running after joy. I found out I am not naturally the most joyful person. I tend toward melancholy and choosing joy came down to just that…choosing. I had to intentionally choose to be joyful. When I chose to look for God in all things, I found joy. When I chose to love people in hard moments, I found joy.
It wasn’t sappy sentimentalism. It felt divine. It felt sacred. And it felt incredibly real.
This year I am going after friendliness. I wonder if it’s becoming a lost art.
On recent walkabouts in town, I’ve passed strangers on the sidewalk only to have them look to the ground or pull out their cell phone as they sidled pass me. People on neighboring streets turned their faces, again, engaged in a phone, or slipping in earbuds as I walked by. I found myself uttering a quick “Hey there” anyway, just to make a human connection.
Like my pursuit of joy, I know it won’t always be easy. Some days I won’t feel like being friendly; especially to the un-friendly, the un-grateful, the rude.
But, if it really is about only two things…loving God and loving people, and if Jesus really is the most joyful person that ever walked the planet, then I think he must have been the friendliest, too.
With Jesus there is no looking to the ground.
There is no closing off the ear.
There is no turning of his face.
May I be the same this year, and always.