Statisticbrain.com has some fascinating statistics about New Year’s resolutions. In research studies conducted by the University of Scranton and by the Journal of Clinical Psychology this past December, only 8% of people achieved their resolution. 54% gave up hallway through the year. Those numbers don’t say much about the staunch determination of Pennsylvanians. The page has dozens of other numbers that makes the reader wonder, “why bother?” After all, the reader may very well join the ranks of the 92% of failures next year.
Yet the study also reported that people who did make formal resolutions were 10 times more likely to attain their goals of self-improvement than those who made no resolutions at all. That one shining fact is the answer to the “why bother” question. It is important to honestly examine one’s current state, and change if necessary. In church terms, we call that confession and repentance.
Open the bible to any of the minor prophets, or to the beginnings of any of the Gospels, wherein the message of John the Baptist is proclaimed. God wants us to honestly look at who we are, at what we are doing, thinking, feeling, and name it for what it is. When we go to Him and tell Him the truth of our situations – even if it means admitting we are in that 92% statistic – God clears the slate for us. (The end of each Gospel explains to what lengths God went to give us that forgiveness, that second chance.)
The next step is to resolve to go in a new direction. In church terms, repent. That clear slate allows us a chance for change that was not possible before. We are free to mend relationships, stop consuming too much food or substances, or find better ways to take care of our money, children, or selves.
And if we give up on that resolution after a while? God invites us to start the process again, and again, and again. After all, we are 10 times more likely to improve if we at least try! He wants the best for us. It is worth it.
Sometimes, we need reasons to stop and look at what we are doing, such as New Year’s Day, or Lent, or Advent, or perhaps a job loss, or life change. In the Music Ministry at Sharon Church, we stop to examine our direction every season. We look at what worked in the past: we run with the hits, and remedy the misses. All with a great deal of prayer. It is what keeps the ministry from growing stale. It keeps it a vital part of Worship.
This winter, the congregation will hear a mix of familiar and new. We will honor the Sharon music traditions of the last 200 years, as well as lead the Congregation into the next 200 years. All with a great deal of prayer! Won’t you consider being a part of this ministry, and become part of tomorrow’s traditions?
Mark and Treva