My resolutions rise and fall on my resolve.
It’s easy for me to get excited about a good idea. I can start initiatives, hobbies, and new ventures with the best of them. But my enthusiasm can only carry me so far. You can read a plethera of articles explaining both the science and speculation of why our resolutions crash and burn but today my blue collar logic says it has everything to do with support or the lack thereof.
I’m talking abut two types of support in particular:
– We don’t have a stragey to support our desire to change.
– We don’t have a person or a people that supports us emotionally.
These are synergistic. Both are equally important and yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is something Weight Watchers, CrossFit, and AA understands. There is structure and community. There is a plan to follow and a people to journey with. Multiple levels of change happen.
But in the church, the place were we should experience a divinely inspired plan and the deepest of community, there often isn’t. That isn’t a slam on the church, only what I’ve come to observe after 50+ years of experience with it. Whether it’s because we’re unknown in our congregation, we’re afraid of being judged or rejected, or there isn’t a climate of openness, we shrink back from the risk of being authentic. And thus starts the cycle of, “I really mean it this time. I’ll try harder. I’ll do better.” You know where that leads because the truth still is: My enthusiasm can only carry me so far.
Without the structural support of a plan and the emotional support of fellow participants we will not reach the place we dream of.
“But my people live hundreds of miles apart.”
I hear you. Relationships are difficult in our mobile society. My children and I live in three different parts of the country in different time zones and have extremely different schedules. I get that you may be physically far away from the handful of people you love and trust.
The good news is that the technology of our day is miraculous and can be harnessed for a greater purpose than posting pictures of what we had for dinner. So I invite you to consider how to go beyond enthusiasm and trying harder. Let the possibilities stew, simmer, marinate, or insert your other favorite cooking metaphor.