I've never been really hip on New Year's resolutions. I don't have the staying power to make them, much less keep them past January 14th or so. I'm a huge "excuse maker" even though, at the time, I don't like to put it that way. They're not excuses, just real bonafide reasons. Reasons why I can't exercise (too cold, too hot, too wet, too sick), reasons why I have to eat sweets (someone else made them and I'd hurt their feelings if I didn't), and reasons why I can't get my work done (I have to play with my dogs, they're lonely).
And so I always panic at this time of year when I start hearing other people's sense of resolve. It makes me feel like a loser to hear that others have such noble desires for their new years and I actually assume they will follow through. Perhaps that should be my New Year's resolution: not to compare myself to others and not to give others so much credit for being perfect while banging myself on the head for being a loser!
Instead I'm going with an inspiring idea I just read on a fellow blogger's post. I don't know this woman personally so I'm not prone to think she's perfect yet; I just know her idea resonated with me and sounded doable at the same time. I like doable. And I like her resolution.
I'm simply going to go the extra mile this year.
I like this resolution because it was recommended by Jesus Himself in Matthew 5:41:
And whoever shall force you to go one mile,
go with him two.
Jesus is talking about going beyond what the Law says you have to do and doing at least a little bit more. He's talking about holding yourself to a different standard, a standard of godliness, of holiness. And He's talking about doing more than just enough to get by.
And in many ways that is what I've been doing. Enough to get by.
When I'm out hiking with either my husband or my friend Kim, I'm usually the one who says something like, "Maybe we should go head and start back pretty soon" if we're on an in and out trail. They are always the ones who say something like, "Let's go one more mile and see where that takes us. Then we'll start back."
Inevitably I'm glad we did the extra mile. That's usually when we see the babbling brook, the beautiful summit, the cave, the bathtub in the middle of the forest, or the bear. This year I'm going to be the one who says to myself, "Let's go one more mile" and then I'm going to do it.
And that doesn't just mean I'll hike a little further.
My hope is that it will mean I'll get a few more queries written, I'll actually cook dinner more often, I'll visit the widows I keep saying I'm going to go see, my quiet time with the Lord will go beyond a single cup of coffee, I'll call my parents more often, I'll take my husband lunch occasionally, I'll put the clothes away instead of letting them mound up folded on the futon, and I'll really get to know some of my MOPs moms.
Just a little bit more. That's often all that's needed. And yet I so often stop at just enough.
Imagine what can happen if I go just one more mile. I don't fancy seeing any bears necessarily, but I'd love to see dinner on the table more often. I'd love to see me get to know my neighbors. I'd like to have a cleaner house and a bigger income (You have to understand here that I'm a freelance writer and speaker. My income is completely commiserate to how much effort I put out. I'm not talking about becoming a workaholic. I'm just talking about buckling down and doing my work!).And I'd love to see someone come to know Jesus because I went the extra mile to tell them about Him.
And so, as we approach 2010 it is with great hesitancy that I even post this resolution of sorts. I've confessed my tendency to make excuses, um I mean reasons, for not following through. But the truth is I'll know if I'm stopping a mile short every time. You may not. I've become a master at appearing that I'm giving my all. But I'll know.
So I'm truly resolving to go the extra mile. In fact, you won't want to go hiking with me. I'll be the one saying, "Come on! One more mile! We can do it." Of course I also may be the one giving you a dozen reasons why we can't: it's getting late, my toes are hurting, the sun is starting to set behind the mountains, I think it looks like rain, I think there may be hunters over there,.....
To which you should just say to me. "Kay, you promised...one more mile."
Labels: change, Christian walk, hiking, Perspective