My New Year’s Resolution lasted exactly twelve hours and thirty-seven minutes. A new record. All because I didn’t bother asking for any help.
Doesn’t really matter what my resolution was. Nothing major or life-altering. I’ve learned my lesson in that regard. There is a rule for making resolutions, and that is to keep them small. Manageable. I’ve tried the big resolutions, the ones that promise to change you and change you well, but the result was always still the same. “Shoot for the moon,” the expression goes. Because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. While that aphorism is inspiring, it isn’t very realistic. Most times you’ll miss the moon and the stars and crash somewhere in the desert.
Trust me. I know.
Still, I like the thought of bettering oneself. Of fixing the broken things in us and changing our outlook or our place in life. And that’s what resolutions are for. It is, perhaps, the only time of the year some people take an honest look at themselves: what is wrong? What will make me a better person?
And this, the big one: what should I change?
My resolution involved change. A change of behavior and habit that, while harming no one but me and even then only slightly, proved too difficult for me to do. And that’s frustrating. If I can’t even change one small thing about me, what can I change?
In a word, nothing. Me, you, the nice folks down the road, we’re all the same. We’re fallen creatures in need of a great amount of help. And without that help, we can do nothing.
Six years ago found me at a crossroads in my life. I was sick, both within and without. Ready to find the nearest tall building so I could make a slow trip up and a fast trip down. The problem? Well, the problem was that I was thirty years old and still suffering from the same problem I was at sixteen. I was tired of ignoring it, and more tired of fighting it. Every year I would vow a change, and every day after would prove that change wouldn’t be coming.
Help finally came by the counselor at church, so sat me down on one snowy day in March and told me four things.
One was that God was the only one who could change me.
Two was that God would only change me if I asked Him.
Three was that I would only ask Him if I was truly ready to change.
And four was that I would only be truly ready when the pain of staying the same was greater than the pain of changing.
I’d waited my whole life to hear those words.
I think we all want to change something about us. But it’s hard, isn’t it? Hard because change hurts. It’s work. Tough, sweaty labor that leaves us weak and exhausted. It’s easy to give up. Easy to put things off until tomorrow or next week or next year. Because let’s face it, the pain of changing is often a lot worse than the pain of staying the same.
But we aren’t called to stay the same, are we?
We are called to become more. More than we know or dream. More than we can do on our own. So don’t be afraid to ask for a little help to change, whether that help comes from a friend, a counselor, or prayer. There isn’t anyone alive who doesn’t need an ear to whisper to, a shoulder to cry on, or a pair of arms to rest in. Everyone needs help from time to time. Even God needs two mountains to make a valley.