ORLANDO (Christian Examiner) -- New Year: New You. And all that jazz.
I'm not one for listing New Year's Resolutions. Partly because I fail. Every time. And who likes to set themselves up for failure? And failing is exhausting.
Instead, for the last several years, I've prayed for an ideal. An idea. A word. A phrase. A single focus for my year(s) that may last as long as my Jesus wills it.
Last year the word was selfless. It still leaves me raw around the edges as I face the choices I continue to make tinged with my own selfish desires. Because it's so dang hard to give up yourself. Yet? It's harder still to sink deep into the mire of self-absorption.
Selfless was and is no easy journey. I will never arrive at my destination, but joy meets me along the way. And I'm ever seeking the joy. Always the joy.
Our Christmas vacation has come to an end. I sigh driving (okay, riding while Prince Charming drives) down from the mountaintops, from the places my fingertips seemed to touch God's face in the clouds.
I'm faced with my descent back into reality. Back to the day in and day out toil of life. Dragging my feet. Pulling my will up from the mud. My heart cries Sweet Jesus, help me face the mundane.
Truth? He's the reason I can face the routine. He's the One who makes the ordinary beautiful—water into wine, a simple basket of fish and bread for a multitude, mud and spit into healing sight.
And it's in this moment I realize I have only one resolve. One ideal that will change me—from the inside out. Maybe it's a bit cliché. You may say trite. Others may roll their eyes...there she goes. Bringing Jesus into everything.
But He is everything.
So this year? My ideal?
Two words. Words I want to seep into the dark shadows of my soul, bringing light to the cracked and parched places.
I want to Know Jesus more. Because if I know Him better. If I dig in deep to who He is. If I sink into His embrace. If He is more real to me every day.
If these things, then others will follow.
Because I want to love people, all people, the way my Jesus loves the souls of humanity. Because my heart is ripped by the way humanity shreds itself into tatters with hate.
If I Know Jesus, I will love like Jesus. The more I love Him, the more I love like Him.
Genuine. Real. Authentic. This is the way I want to invest in the world. This is the way I want to love the Savior who was torn by nails and lashes for me.
It's hard—this call to love humanity. And really? What does it look like? How is this unabashed love for people lived out?
I'm not sure, but I know easy isn't part of the view. I don't believe I want easy. What I have to know, what I must remind myself—just because I want to Know Jesus more, doesn't mean life will become smooth.
It may just get more difficult.
But this is the journey. This is the resolution. It's personal. It's deep. The easiest hardest goal I can have. I'll fail continuously. Yet, if I Know my Jesus more, my soul will know more of His grace.
It's a bit scary this resolve. Because crazy love can ask you to do crazy things.
Yet it's there—this outlandish desire to know deep the Savior I've called my own for as long as I can remember.
There is no resolution I'd rather strive toward. And failure? It's not an option.
-- Heather B. Iseminger, a high school English teacher and blogger at PetalsofJoy.org, lives with her husband of 16 years and two children in Central Florida, where they actively attend First Baptist Church in Eustis, Florida.