Kicking New Year's Resolutions to the Curb

I'm not a New Year's resolution making person. Mostly because I'm a perfectionist and I know the realities of keeping New Year's resolutions, and perfectionists don't normally start something they know they will fail at. :) Sure, I'm working on that, and getting better at it by the day, but the stress of not "keeping my word" is just not worth it to me (or those around me for that matter)! I ran across a great article by Paul Tripp about "Trading One Dramatic Resolution for 10,000 Little Ones." I resonated so well with this article, as we have watched our little family transform in some great ways....sometimes those ways have come about in big, monumental steps, but more often than not, they came, and continue to come, in little steps of transformation. Sometimes, they are unseen by those outside Jon and me. Sometimes, they are seen and encouraged by those closest to us, and sometimes they are only seen by us individually having known where we were, and how far we've come. 
 But more often than not, change and transformation does not happen in big, huge, monumental resolutions and life changing, emotional, "ah-ha" moments. The launch of those little moments of true transformation sometimes happens in a monumental moment or incident, but the long-term change and work is almost always in small steps.

True transformation happens in the little moments every day, where God IS working, and working to continue his moment by moment transformation of us and our family. "Biblical Christianity- which has the gospel of Jesus Christ at its heart- simply doesn't rest its hope in big, dramatic moments of change" (Paul Tripp). We are ever thankful for the amazing Christians God has brought into our lives to walk beside us, and specifically for those who understand that very statement and stick beside us when life gets hard again, when more and bigger change is what our hearts desire and strive for, but the immediate results seem lacking. They are the ones who stay close in the raw, painful, messiness of God transforming His people. They are the ones who don't look at change only through a big, glorious, dramatic lens. They are the ones who say in the hard parts, "Keep moving. God is still here. God is still working." Sure, God can work in a big, all at once, dramatic change, but from what I can see of Biblical history, and God's people in general throughout time, that doesn't seem to be the way it normally works.
An incredibly helpful piece of advice from a fellow pastor and friend we have known for years was that "The majority of life is mundane and we learn to live in the mundane in a way that stays faithful to, and honors Jesus." Oh there is so much wisdom in that! You see, God works right smack in the middle of the mundane, and he re-creates and transforms us right smack in the middle of each of those 10,000 moments.
"The little moments of life are profoundly important precisely because they are the little moments that we live in and that form us. This is where I think "Big Drama Christianity" gets us into trouble. It can cause us to devalue the significance of the little moments of life and the "small-change" grace that meets us there. And because we devalue the little moments where we live, we don't tend to notice the sin that gets exposed there. We fail to seek the grace that is offered to us.
And what makes all of this possible? Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace. You see, Jesus is Immanuel, not just because he came to earth, but because he makes you the place where he dwells. This means he is present and active in all the mundane moments of your daily life.

And what is he doing? In these small moments, he is delivering every redemptive promise he has made to you. In these unremarkable moments, he is working to rescue you from you and transform you into his likeness. By sovereign grace, he places you in daily, little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom, and grace so that you will seek the help and hope that can only be found in him (Paul Tripp).
So amid the social media statuses and blogs about the best things accomplished in 2013, or the best accomplishments yet to come in 2014, I look back on 2013 and see that the biggest thing in my year, in our year, was understanding that "God works in us through a lifelong process of change- undoing us, and rebuilding us again, individually, as a couple, and as a family. In 2013, I've begun to view the necessary life changes as a day-by-day, step-by-step process of insight, confession, repentance and faith" (as Tripp described so eloquently).
So as we start 2014 today, I pray that God continues to give me, and us, the grace to remember these things, especially when our moments of failure seem devastating, discouraging, and anything but life changing. So as we wake up each day in 2014, doing the mundane, and also enjoying the bigger moments to come for us this year (like a new baby this spring), may we be committed to live in the small moments of our daily lives with open eyes, and a gracious, humble, and repentant heart.

(Side note: I just caught up on all my holiday blogs posts, posted along with this one. So scroll down for more!) 

1 comment:

Mandi said...

Yes. Exactly what I've been thinking and feeling but couldn't put into words. Where could I find that Tripp article? Thanks for sharing!