endings for beginnings – thoughts for another new year

29 12 2012

I’ve never found new year’s resolutions particularly helpful, and this is the time of year that many people are thinking through what resolutions they want to make for 2013, another new year that is only days away. This is not to say that I do not set goals…my life revolves around goals and lists of things to do 🙂 What I find challenging, and think most of us do not do well, is to intentionally think through things that we need to END, in conjunction with things that we want to BEGIN.


One reason I think people struggle with new year’s resolutions is that they are often additions to an already full life. (I am not saying this is true of every resolution, but quite a few!) So after a few weeks, or maybe even months, the new goal is squeezed out by the patterns & behaviors that are already entrenched in our lives. The last one in…the first one out! It seems that in order to have new goals (or resolutions), we need to intentionally end some old goals, patterns, or behaviors. In the language of a horticulturist:

Pruning is a process of proactive endings…
1. Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones,
2. Sick branches that are not going to get well, and
3. Dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive.

(Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud, pg 15)

This has been a challenging thought bouncing around my mind lately. See, there are probably many good things that are part of my life, but if they are not the best things, then they are draining time and energy and resources. Wow! I hadn’t really thought about this with such intentionality before! Here is a little more food for thought:

When we fail to end things well, we are destined to repeat the mistakes that keep us from moving on. We choose the same kind of dysfunctional person or demoralizing job again. Not learning our lessons and proactively dealing with them, we make the same business or personal mistakes over and over.

(Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud, pg 12)

A challenging thought for me as I stare down the few remaining days of 2012!

So what do you need to prune for 2013…a necessary ending for a new beginning?


2010 resolution (or whatever)

27 01 2010

Lose weight…get out of debt…more time with family…quit smoking…get organized…the annual resolution list that surfaces each January. I’ve never been much into making new year’s resolutions, or goals, or whatever you want to call them. I’m not particularly against the idea, just never participated much. And yet this year I’m moved to challenge myself and others to, in the least, make one resolution: Get in a fight!

Fight?? Yes, fight!

Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 3

Resolve to fight for the faith in 2010! The Christian faith is not the “natural” way of life. Thinking Christianly is not the first thoughts that flood our mind. Acting Christianly is not our first impulse, nor is it modeled often for us to observe. We must contend for the faith, lest it become but a faint whisper that is drowned out by all that surrounds us.

Jude is not alone in his appeal to the early church. The Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast to the faith that has been passed on to him (1 Timothy 6:12). To the church at Ephesus, Paul instructs them to put on the armour of God (Ephesians 6)…who puts on armour unless he is going to battle? May we remind ourselves, constantly, that we cannot afford even a moment of passivity in our faith!

Oh that this year I would heed the exhortation to contend for the faith!