Resolutions: A New Beginning or 1280×800

Posted: 01/01/2011 in Musings, Running the Race, Sleep

Last night I had delightfully strange dreams.  Induced by a rousing game of “In a Pickle” last night, or at least that is my theory, my brain seemed to relish in the wonderful world of puns as I slept.

“Like the pharmacist who proclaimed ‘we dispense with accuracy,’ the pun embraces many contradictions. Sometimes a display of humor, folly or even truth, the pun can catch us out or make us laugh, and it always forces us to recognize the richness of our language” *(Redfern, Puns)

The sharpest of these mental excursions into the ambiguity of language was someone asking me about my resolutions for the New Year, to which my adept subconscious replied, “I’m trying to decide between 800×600 and 1280×800.” I don’t really know why those were my options, but it was what my brain had in mind when the concept of the New Year’s resolution was presented.

Well this morning, while I was eating my breakfast, I realized that while I slept my silly affection for the wordplay had struck upon something. The majority of the time I draft a “New Year’s Resolution” it is out of focus, it lacks clarity and vision. The joy of making this yearly declaration of the hope we have for the next year is a testament to what we hope we might see, but I realized, over a toasted English Muffin and blackberry jam, that I rarely train my perspective to see what this aspiration would take to achieve.

The one thing that I have found success in over the past year has been training for a marathon, and surprisingly it wasn’t even on my list of 2010-to-dos.

The strength of this current success has entirely been due to the resolution I have on this goal. This might not make sense…

res·o·lu·tion [rez-uh-loo-shuhn]

  1. A resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
  2. The fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image, as on a video display terminal.

It is because of the “fineness of detail” that I have had in regard to this goal that has allowed me to achieve it. My goal of running a <4:00:00 marathon on January 16th, 2011 in Phoenix is not just a hope, but it is a clear image that I am headed toward, an image in focus, in clarity… defined so fully as one might call it a vision.

“Nobody had a more single-minded vision for his life than Paul did. He could say it in many different ways. He could say: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). One thing mattered: “I will not waste my life! I will finish my course and finish it well. I will display the Gospel of the grace of God in all I do. I will run my race to the end.” (Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life 48)

As I look to this next year I certainly have a vision and a plan for a number of races.  If you are interested, I am running a 5k (Race for the Cure) in April and a 10k (Cinco de Mayo) in May and I would love to pass along a training schedule and a plan if you need more direction and focus.

Of all of these, the one race that I yearn for greater resolution, truer clarity and vision is in my desire for my life count for something great and awesome. A vision that my life would have eternal significance.. I would love to encourage you in this pursuit as well.

As my last point in this matter, I think, apart from the sweet encouragement of the Holy Spirit which I resolutely blame for last night’s dream, that this perspective of resolutions might stem from an amazing exercise that Johnathan Edwards embraced through his life. An exercise of making, and… wait for it… keeping resolutions (Edward’s Resolutions).  These are so steeped in vision and direction, furthermore there are so many which challenge and embolden me as I think about scope of my life:

Resolution 5: Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

Resolution 6: Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

Resolution 7: Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

Resolution 25: Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

Resolution 56: Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

Of all of these, I love the following two the most:

Resolution 3: Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

Preamble: BEING SENSIBLE THAT I AM UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING WITHOUT GOD’ S HELP, I DO HUMBLY ENTREAT HIM BY HIS GRACE TO ENABLE ME TO KEEP THESE RESOLUTIONS, SO FAR AS THEY ARE AGREEABLE TO HIS WILL, FOR CHRIST’ S SAKE.

Resolution. Is it merely a nebulous hope that you pin on a calendar at the outset of January? Or is a resolution an increased clarity of the vision that we have for our lives? Lives run with clarity and focus. Lives lived with the scope of being used mightily by God, entirely equipped and enabled by the power of God.

As for me, I sit here firmly resolving it to be the latter.

“Now like Groucho Marx I put down my bulky valise: I rest my case” *(Redfern, Puns)

*   Yes, I do, indeed, have an academic book on puns; it is the novel work of a one Walter Redfern… and yes, a 300 page book on puns is a great read. Unfortunately these quotes from this text were from a journal I was writing in as I read it, and I am not sure the page citations.

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Comments
  1. Kate says:

    I think this is the best post you’ve ever done. I thoroughly approve (especially of owning a book of puns).

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