Well, I’m still figuring out how to do a blog. I’ve logged countless hours writing a post that is turning into more of a research paper (I have been in school almost non-stop for the past 36 years, so I’ve got some issues. My parents were big into Montessori so I started preschool when I was two and then was kind of on the Tommy-Boy plan for college, SO…that might be part of the problem here). I don’t quite get the short, sweet, and unedited vibe of the blog.
Let’s call that my growing edge. For now, I’m going to table the post I was working on and just say this (note that it is short, I wrote it FAST, and it is definitely unedited:
Today is a day popular for “resolutions.” I have bought into the New Year’s Resolution craze for most of my life. There something forceful about saying “I am going to do this specific thing”—lose 20 pounds, write a book, make chore charts for my kids and enforce them, write in my journal every day. I think most of us have rejected that approach by this point, or at least we pretend that we have. So, I usually resolve do the more obscure in order to hide my severe resolutions…my “firm decision to do or not do something” according to good old Websters: “be more creative” (we really mean paint the painting or write the book), “get more healthy” (it is STILL about those damn 20 pounds”, or “be more intentional in my parenting” (chore chart, anyone?)
Like most words, we’ve lost where the word “resolution” came from. While there are a few common modern uses of the word in various disciplines, the root is from the Latin resolvere, which means “to loosen, release.”
What if, instead of putting our energies into firming our grip on everything to be what everyone wanted us to be: better, thinner, smarter, more of this, less of this…and instead, we loosened our grip? What if we were in the business of loosening and releasing this year?
While Jesus came for many reasons, of which I am not prepared to go into with my last-minute post, and which I could not even pretend to know all of, there is a favorite passage of mine where he tried to explain what he was all about to the people in his hometown—people who probably should have known, but who simply couldn’t see him for who he was. He even tries to show them in a familiar text from the prophet Isaiah that he is indeed the fulfillment of the one who has the Spirit upon him and has been anointed to “bring good news to the poor,” “to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,” and “to let the oppressed go free.” Jesus in the business of loosening and releasing. (Check out Luke 4—and the rest of the Bible as well)
What might this look like for you this year??? Who is imprisoned and oppressed in your life? In our world? I’m well aware that it might be you. Actually, I’m pretty sure that, if you are anything like me, it IS you. This is a both/and situation. Our ability to release and loosen others is directly related to grace that we have been given to be loosed and released…in other words, the grace that we have been given to be LOVED. When there have been times that I’ve not been involved actively pursuing issues of justice in our world, where I’ve been blind to the needs of my fellow brothers and sisters, it is usually because there is some “thing” in my life that has my heart and in that is holding captive ALL of my other senses–things that hold my thoughts, that impact what I see when I look in the mirror, things that impact how I hear the voices of my friends, family, colleagues, the stranger, or even the articles that I read.
I’ve spent so many seasons of my life thinking, “this is the year when I am going to FINALLY get it together.” And y’all, my fists are CLENCHED when I start thinking like that. It is all about forming myself into an image that “looks good”—in person and on paper and in this particular culture and yet has very little to do with being transformed by the Spirit into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.
This year, I want to continue to loosen my grip on myself and with my free hands, to help release the grip that people have on themselves, on others, on ideologies and images, on perfect calves and golden ones. What about you?
Here’s to 2017, friends—with this new world we are living in there is unfortunately not a shortage of people who are prisoners to a way of thinking, feeling, believing and behaving that is intent on keeping other people imprisoned. There is work to be done in our lives and on behalf of this planet on which we reside. Many blessings to all of you as you seek to live this out!