How many New Year’s resolutions have you made and failed to keep? For me, let’s see … this is 2020 and I was born in … okay, too many to count. In fact, I can only think of one New Year’s resolution that I ever made and kept.
It was a pretty good one, though.
At the end of a difficult year of health in 2017, I made a radical resolution for 2018 and posted it here on my blog:
“I resolve, God willing, to write a book by March 1 and to put it into the hands of an editor before my birthday (which is in April.) I make this pledge loud and clear, witnessed by the world (which is you, my dear reader) so that the world (you) will hold me to it.”
I have resolved to write a book many times before and have failed. This time was different. By the grace of God and with the help of you, my faithful readers, this one resolution became a reality! The name of the published reality is
It’s Good to Be Here: A Disabled Woman’s Reflections on God in the Flesh and the Sacred Wonder of Being Human
Okay, the timeline that I originally proposed was not kept, but the book happened. (Perhaps in God’s time.) Not only was the book written, rewritten, edited, and then professionally edited by Michelle Buckman, freelance editor extraordinaire, by the summer of 2018, but it was then published by Sophia Institute Press in December of 2019. The time from the formal declaration of resolution to my own book being available for preorder was one year and ten months, which was longer than I planned, longer than I wanted. There were rejections, revisions, frustrations, and many doubts along the way, times when I thought the book would never be finished or never be good enough. But I have come through all of the worries, misgivings, and hard work to become a published author.
Woo hoo!!!!!!! Thanks be to God.
And you can do it too. I’m not talking specifically about book writing, because that might not be your calling. I mean that you can accomplish what you resolve to accomplish if what you are seeking fulfills the vocation to which you are called. (By the way, vocations do not include looking good in a pair of jeans. 🙂 )
Perhaps, you want to be a better husband or wife — more patient and forgiving, generous and caring. If you are a married person, then this is your calling and, with God’s help, you will grow in loving fidelity. It won’t be easy. You’re going to screw up and make a lot of mistakes. You’re going to fall many times. But, truly committed and resolved, trusting in the grace of God to help you, you will rise up and continue striving to be the best spouse that you can be.
Perhaps, you want to be more charitable — more aware of the needs of those around you, more willing and eager to help in whatever way you can, and more patiently merciful with those who irritate you. If you are a human being, then this is your calling and, with God’s help, you will grow in love. It won’t be easy. You’re going to screw up and make a lot of mistakes. You’re going to fall many times. But, truly committed and resolved, trusting in the grace of God to help you, you will rise up and continue striving to be the best human that you can be.
No matter what your resolution is, first remember this: you can’t do it. Yup, that’s right. You can’t change the world and you can’t change yourself. But God can. Through you. There is nothing without God and you are nothing without God. Be brave enough to understand that you are a beggar, wholly dependent upon the power of God in your life. Like a humble beggar, do not turn in upon yourself but open up your little begging bowl and reach it out with faith — open your heart to divine love and trustingly reach out to receive God’s merciful wisdom and strength.
I did not dream big when I started writing my book, I did not seek to write without limits. Rather, I recognized my limitations, accepted my littleness, and sought to be a student as I wrote the book, not a teacher. The writing of the book, I prayed, would first and foremost be God’s way of showing me what I needed to know. In order to be fulfilled in our lives, we each need an open, loving, and intimate relationship with our Creator. How can we be the best that we can be if we don’t know who we are? We are images of God. So, before we resolve to do anything, let us seek God.
Seeking Divine Will
Know, love, and serve Him who created you, who came in the flesh to share your humanity, and who gives to you His own spirit within you. First, foremost, and always, strive to live in loving union with God. Seek first the kingdom of God and His ways, and all of the rest will be added. (See Matthew 6:33)
“All the of rest” doesn’t mean wealth and prestige — at least, not in the material sense. If you truly resolve to live as the child of God that you are, and if you commit yourself to striving through doubts and demons to live out your resolution, then you will know the riches of holy love and divine mercy, and you will have blessed recognition among the saints and angels of God. This is what Christ promises each and every one of us who strives to follow Him.
How’s that for a pep talk? I need a pep talk, so that’s why I’m sharing this with you — because God first shared it with me. No, He didn’t write the message on a big sign for me or even whisper it in my ear. God works in mysterious ways and those ways are usually still and silent, the truth that comes through the Holy Spirit’s prompting to be little and love divinely, like Christ.
May your New Year’s resolution be one of true fulfillment, of real love.
(And may God continue to encourage and teach me as I strive to promote the message of It’s Good to Be Here.)
© 2020 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.