Oh Happy Day! My New Resolution for 2016 Has Arrived
New Year’s resolutions must be doable, memorable and satisfying. My last year’s resolution was witness, designed to encourage me to share my faith more openly instead of assuming my good deeds speak for themselves. It felt like a challenge all year instead of a natural sharing, although to be fair to me, (I like to be fair to me), I witnessed more last year. For example, one person asked to explain my resolution. That’s a start.
The last four years’ resolutions were shine, rejoice, smile and balance. They feel more uplifting, instead of a burden like witness felt. Having witness as a duty instead of a joy is a troubling fault line I should monitor. Maybe I need to repeat in the coming year until it’s joyful. Ugh.
My baseline for choosing a resolution is whether it fits by motto: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8). I blend that thought every night, when I fall asleep immediately, when I feel the need to rethink and ask for forgiveness from unsettling memories of unsatisfactory behavior during the day,, such as whether I’ve been curt, irritated, insensitive, indifferent, lazy and worse.
One nagging feeling is I’m having is resenting the activities I’m obligated to do out of duty, instead of relishing the choices I’ve volunteered to do out of joy. Expressing that in print helps me articulate what’s been troubling me about the 2015 resolution, I’ll turn that confession over to my spiritual leader through prayer and listen. In other words, I’m heading back to bed right now to get more sleep.
So what words jumped up to get my attention after my additional sleep? They include: inspire, aspire, act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic”, charge, march, embrace, laugh, serve.
To be honest, “Leader, lead thyself” were the first words I heard last night almost as soon as I turned the confession over to God.
So is it lead? No, because it could be pronounced as the deadening chemical element, lead. How about transform? Energize? Commit? Charge? Exude? Enjoy? Revel in? Delight in? Thrive? Blossom? Flourish? Prosper? Rise up? Onward? Twinkle?
At that point I began searching for lyrics to inspire me to embrace a resolution for my mood every morning. After searching lyrics popular hymns, children’s hymns and the like, three energized me as I read and sang the lyrics. Memorizing and singing verses could give me the feeling I want every day in every way: Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens, Oh Happy Day by Edwin Hawkins and When the Saints Go Marching In by Louis Armstrong.
The New Year’s resolution that kept running through my head as I sang and read the lyrics, was “rise up.”
That’s it. Out with witness and in with rise up. I look forward to the morning of New Year’s Day, regardless of what happens to my alma mater Michigan State against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s eve.