As 2018 began, I resolved, yet again, to essentially reach perfection in all aspects of life by year’s end. And I had an inkling that my willpower could take me there this year -- unless I really get tired or very hungry or super frustrated. Because let’s face it, willpower does have its limits.
My suspicions about the shortcomings of willpower were confirmed New Year’s Day when I read an article in the New York Times by David DeSteno. He wrote, “Pursuit of our goals in bracing, self-flagellating terms: I will do better, I will muscle through, I will wake up earlier. As we try to make ourselves study, work, exercise or save money, the mental effort to keep focused and motivated increases until it seems too difficult to bear.” He followed up on that thought by stating that study after study has found that a commitment to improving is most likely to be long-term if it springs from "'gratitude and compassion.' When you are experiencing these emotions, self-control is a lesser battle, for they work not by squashing our desires for pleasure in the moment but by increasing how much we value the future.”
So as we enter 2018, my resolutions are out the window. Instead, I am asking God for a grateful and compassionate spirit that will result in blessing every single one of the relationships He has given me. Perfection of heart can be ours because of His resolve.
“Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.” - Hebrews 10:11-13 (The Message)