Here we go. Another calendar page is about to flip and the year is about to change.
Tomorrow is December 31 and then the next day becomes January 1.
Is it any different, going from December 31 to January 1, than going from any other day to the next? Excluding the obvious, superficial things: fireworks here, lots of parties, some people drinknig to excess, does it make any difference that midnight turns into a New Year?
I think it does.
I’ve previously made an argument for New Year’s resolutions. I understand they make for good jokes and cynical memes. I also think it’s a lot easier to joke and be cynical than it is to change.
But let’s say you don’t care for New Year’s resolutions. That’s fine. Change doesn’t have to come through resolutions (and, statistcally speaking, rarely does).
Change happens a day at a time and an hour at a time, a minute at a time and a choice at a time.
Change happens when you believe you can be different.
Change happens when you can’t live with being the same anymore.
Change happens when we hit the bottom. The real bottom.
Change happens when it finally hurts enough that we have to change.
Change happens when you can look down the road, see the consequences coming, and decide you will do anything, whatever it takes, to avoid that.
Change happens when you ask God to do whatever it takes to change you. That’s a scary prayer.
But realistically, the calendar will flip and most things won’t change.
Change doesn’t happen when it hurts so we figure out how to numb the pain.
Change doesn’t happen when we rationalize how other people are the same or worse.
Change doesn’t happen when we keep investing time and energy and emotion and spirit into coping with–or covering up–the symptoms.
Change doesn’t happen when we come up with a spiritual justification for how we’re damaging ourselves.
Change doesn’t happen when we keep lying to ourselves.
Change doesn’t happen when we avoid anyone who would tell us the truth and stick with those who will speak more comforting, enabling words.
Change doesn’t happen when we make certain things in our lives off-limits to God. We probably don’t say it that way, we just don’t let those things come up.
Borrowing this off of Twitter, of all places:
I think all Christians grow most in their faith when they recognize the ways in which Jesus doesn’t look or sound anything like them.*
As I talk about change here, I’m assuming that we know how we need to change, or at least where we need to start. I like this quote because it is the opposite of the culture and politics wars I’ve been reading (and occasionally fighting). Most of those go: “You’re bad and God thinks your bad because you do this but God says or thinks this.” Implied here is “…just like I do.” You’ll rarely see this argument formed, “God thinks you need to change because you think or do this…just like I do…and I also need to change.”
The calendar is about to flip or maybe just flipped.
Do you want to change?
That thing you’ve been allowing and ignoring and explaining away.
What difference does one day make?
One day you make the real decision. One day you stick with that decision. One day you get yourself back up when you fall down and, rather than deciding it’s hopeless or pointless because you’ve already screwed up (the devil’s favorite lie, in my opinion), you take the progress you’ve made and build on that. You keep going.
I’m really thinking broadly, from better eating and exercise to taking real time to pray to recovering from alcoholism or pornography addiction.
In whatever way, you need to make the change, because no one else is changing you. God will work in you and answer your prayers, but waiting for someone else to change you is another form of denial. And, of course, I’m preaching to myself here as much as to anyone else.
I’m going to end on an uplifting heavy note, if you can believe that.
I have people in my life who give me partial credit for helping them still to be alive now. Some of them read this blog. I love you very much. I’m inexpressibly glad you’re still here.
The difference a day makes is that you chose to live for another day. And then another. And that made all the difference.
This is always the answer: One day makes all the difference.