Eating an Elephant

The New Year is upon us, and it seems everyone is talking about their resolutions. Some are bound and determined to make this their year, while others have come to realize that past resolutions have rarely made much of a difference and have given up altogether.

I saw a report the other day that said that people only follow through on 8% of their resolutions. That’s not very encouraging, and you’d think we would learn to not get in over our head with our commitments. But there’s something about a fresh start, when we turn the page on our calendars, that gives us a sense of a “do-over”– and this time we want to get it right. Still, unrealistic resolutions are not the answer; they often lead us down the same disappointing path as the year before.
If that sounds familiar, you might want to consider this option that I came across last week, which is almost guaranteed to succeed. If your resolutions usually come up empty, you might want to try a few of these:
~Gain weight. At least 30 pounds.
~Stop exercising. Waste of time.
~Read less. Makes you think.
~Watch more TV. I’ve been missing some good stuff.
~Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.
~Spend more time at work, surfing the Internet.
~Get further in debt.
~Spend less time with my family.
~Focus on the faults of others.
~Wait for opportunity to knock.
~Get in a whole NEW rut!
There is, of course, another solution. Most importantly, we can focus less on what we’re resolved to do for a whole year, and more on the individual choices we make on individual days that accumulate and make up a year. It’s the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Of course, I’ve never met anyone who ate an elephant, but I do know many people who have successfully navigated this path ahead of me. And many of them have provided great examples of what it looks like to live by Biblical priorities and convictions, with discipline, making daily decisions that form together to make godly character. And sprinkled throughout their lives are the regularly “do-overs” afforded by God’s grace, that are “new every morning,” not just at the beginning of the calendar year.
So, take heart, those whose resolutions fall among the 92% that won’t make it till February. You can start over again tomorrow–and the next day, and the next–and allow God to daily shape you into who He has called you to be, for His honor, one bite at a time.
I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us in 2014, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
–Pastor Ken