the traditional way to greet the New Year. The only time I have kept
any resolutions is when I resolved not to make any more fool
resolutions. In our family, welcoming the New Year and bringing us luck
involves eating black-eyed peas and sauerkraut. Well, actually the
sauerkraut came from my wife’s side of the family.
Actually we do these things not
because we think they will bring us luck but out of tradition. I don’t
believe in luck; I believe in being in God’s favor. Trusting in luck
leaves God out of the equation.
All right, if I don’t believe in
luck and don’t make resolutions, then starting a New Year is no big
deal, right? I wouldn’t say that. Putting the old year behind us and
facing the new one with hope and anticipation is a good thing. To me
the mechanism for looking forward is not making a resolution, but
updating my to-do list.
This is nothing new; there is
always a to-do list. Life is good when we are making progress working
down the items on our lists. Stress comes when the list starts mounting
and we don’t seem to be making progress. When that happens, it is often
because the things on the list are too big and overwhelming. Such
things need to be broken down into smaller tasks that are achievable.
For example, the goal of writing
a book is too big. It needs to be broken into a time period in which we
write a couple thousand words. Loosing weight is too big; it needs to
be losing a couple of pounds in a certain time. Those chores around the
house need to be achievable, or broken down.
some things don’t even belong on the list. I smile a lot when I look at
some of the manuscripts I receive. The plot develops until the
protagonist is forced to his knees, forced to admit that he simply
cannot resolve the problem facing him. It is written in such as way as
if the author has just figured that out for the first time. Some things
we will not make headway on until we admit they are beyond us and we
can only turn them over to God.
lists themselves are
immortal. We can never work them off. Just when we think we have
completed our to-do lists, we only have to look around and find items
we simply haven’t placed on the list yet but are awaiting our
attention. A list is never gone until we die, and even then, someone
else has to take what is left on our lists and add it to theirs.
As we face a New Year, I hope
you have the right things on your list, meaningful and achievable
things, and I hope you make wonderful progress in getting them done.
That’s what makes a good year.