We've all heard Einstein's definition of insanity, "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Sure, we've chuckled but have we really taken stock of how well we've proven ourselves insane based on this definition? When it comes to New Year's Resolutions, how many more years in a row will it take to demonstrate our weakness and inability to truly change ourselves in God-honoring ways that last?
It's not that NYR's themselves are bad. It's the background and purposes we have for them that determine their value. How many times will we repeat mantras like these to ourselves:
"I want to be a better me." (Isn't that really a "different" you? Who will you be other than you?)
"This year, I'm taking myself more seriously." (Umm... do you know what you sound like right now?)
"New Year, New Me!" (You start getting old tomorrow...that phrase has BEEN old...)
"This is MY year!" (You and 7,000,000,000 other human beings just as selfish as you... good luck.)
The problem isn't so much the desire for change. The issue is the source we often look to and depend on as we search for that change. Think about it: if we recognize ourselves as flawed enough to need change... why do we assume ourselves adequate for the power and direction needed for that change? Wouldn't that just lead us to the same issues next year? And then more NYR's in 2014? Kinda like 2011? And 2010?
Here's a possible solution: Holy Ambitions. I've written somewhere else on this blog about that topic so if you're wondering how the idea of "holiness" jives with "ambition", check here. But for those of you already in the know, here's the basic breakdown on the difference between NYR's and Holy Ambitions: NYR's generally focus on self-advancement and self-improvement by the power of, well, self. We've already seen the futility of that.
A Holy Ambition is the abandonment of self for something greater for love of Someone Greater. Holy Ambition means that I stop chasing things that I think are important so that I chase after God Himself. Specifically, it means being zealous for the same things that God is excited about: the revelation of Himself, His glory, the promotion of the Kingdom of His Son, the propagation of His written word, obedience motivated by love for Him and stimulated by sincere trust in Him and His ways. Once I chase after Him and His purposes, He gives me p-l-e-n-t-y to do while He assumes the real work: changing and conforming me to the image of His Son.
So this year, if you really want to try something different, try this: stop chasing your own tail. Stop making so much of yourself and thinking that someone other than the One Who made you can re-make you. Instead, why not stop running from the Lord, return in repentance, and humbly accept the gospel message that can save you. Not only will you have life-enriching goals to achieve, but you will know the power of God's Spirit to produce the change that you know you need but can't make on your own.
Anything else would be insane.