New Year Friends

Are you making any New Year’s resolutions? An article in USA Today, click here, gives tips for successful resolution making and goal setting.  It states that due to our fear and perhaps previous lack of success, it might seem that New Year’s resolutions are irrelevant and useless.  Is there any reason to consider change?  Aren’t I just fine the way I am?  Sure…but we who have just celebrated Christmas know that God has been--is--and will be, up to new things.  Big things.  Amazing things.  Showing up to ordinary people, to people on the outskirts like shepherds and to people from far away like the wise men.  Christmas and the New Year remind us that God’s tent is pitched nearby and we can reach for the stars, surrounded by others.

There is a piece of advice in the article that is right on target with what God dreams for us on our journey into the new year.  Successful resolutions include others: supporters and encouragers.  Going it alone doesn’t cut it.  Our culture honors rugged individualism.  But that’s not how we were created.  Leonard Sweet writes in the book, 11: Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without, “You aren’t strongest alone; you’re strongest together.”  And, it’s not just one other person we need.  We need a whole group: a support system of different people.  People who aren’t just like us.  People who can give us unbiased opinions, bring different skill sets and love us into being better than we can ever be on our own.  In fact, Sweet includes this quote as the foundation for his work:

“It is a lie that any one person can be everything to another. Even in the blessed Trinity, the Father needs both Son and holy Spirit, the Holy spirit both Son and Father, the Son both Father and Holy Spirit—even each Divine person needs at least two others to be fully itself.” – Marilyn McCord Adams

Who do you need to be the best you, you can be?  You need a truth-teller, an editor, a trusted advisor who doesn’t just tell what you are doing wrong, but helps you discover it for yourself.  You need someone who isn’t just a critic but an editor who brings out your best. Someone who is willing to get in your face and make you listen even if it’s a bit uncomfortable.  Why, you need a Nathan!  The name Nathan means ‘gift.’  It’s a gift when someone helps you realize for yourself where you’ve messed up.  Read about what Nathan did for King David in 2 Samuel 12:1-25.  If Nathan hadn’t helped David see what he had done, David might not have confessed and repented. If David didn’t turn it around, God’s plans for Jesus coming from the house of David might have had to be changed.  God put Nathan in David’s life for a reason and David was open to and recognized the need for such a relationship.

We need people to be with us. As the new year dawns with the opportunity to make changes in our lives, we certainly need all the people God wants to put in our lives.  Alongside your New Year’s resolution list, make a New Year’s withness list…who you will be on the lookout for to help you keep those resolutions.  Not a list of names, but a list of who you might need: a truth leader; a true friend; an encourager; a back-coverer; someone who say what’s hard to say; someone to make you laugh; a listener; a prayer warrior…whoever you need to be with you on the journey of 2011.  And, maybe a list of who you will be in the withness role for.

Each Sunday’s sermon in the month of January will focus on these friends, these “withnesses” that God surrounds us with so that we never have to go it alone.

Blessings for your New Year celebrations!


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