We are about to exit 2012 and enter 2013. I am sure I am not alone in making a mental checklist of all the goals and resolutions I want to make for this coming year. I have huge plans for myself, and this year I am going to be successful in the pursuit and attainment of these goals. Yeah right!
When I think about these goals and resolutions I realize that really what I am doing is fantasizing about my life. I am not setting realistic goals. Instead, I am playing the age old game of "If only."
The "if only" game works like this: I exclaim that if only I had or did x then everything would be perfect. If only I lost fifteen (twenty) pounds, then everything would work out for me. If only I won the lottery, then my life would be awesome. If only... well, you get the point.
The "if only" game is fun, up to a point. Often you play the game because you are avoiding what is actually going on, your present life situation. You might be avoiding thinking about where you presently are because your present is miserable and awful. Or you might be avoiding thinking about where you are because it might not be exactly where you want to be and you know that hard work will be involved in getting to that place. So, we play the "if only" game knowing full and well that we have no intention of changing or no idea how we could change anything about our situation.
The impulse is to avoid where we are, but the only way we will change or transform is to truly acknowledge where we actually are, who we actually are, right now. In that honesty, we are open to the work of the Holy Spirit.
We have to ask ourselves: What is our present situation? How did I get here? What did I do that contributed to my current situation? What circumstances contributed to my current situation? Might there have been a reason I needed to be here? How do I feel about myself, my situation, and my life? Where do I need God to change my life?
Sometimes we cannot change elements of our situation. We cannot opt out of an illness. We cannot immediately lose twenty pounds. We cannot avoid feeling hurt from a loss. We can, however, look for the support that is available to us in our given situation. Maybe in those small pieces of support and help, we can reframe how we respond to our current situation. Maybe we can even move, slowly toward change in ourselves.
Where are we right now? How do we feel about our current situation? What is available to us? How might God move in my life? Maybe I will use these questions to make my resolutions. Happy New Year!