Monday, December 24, 2007

Thoughts from seat 11C

My flight touched down in Philadelphia at "approximately 6:26" on Friday morning. I put the time in quotation marks because the stewardess actually said those words ("...where the local time is approximately 6:26"). This baited the wrath of The Guy Across the Aisle, who was incredulous of her phrasing.

How can it be approximately 6:26? You can say approximately 6:25 or approximately 6:30. 6:26 is not approximate.

Soon thereafter, I heard him talking about the holiday season and inevitably New Years. "Resolutions don't work," he said, "My New Year's resolution is to not make any more resolutions."


Look, I know the guy was just trying to be funny (hunch: saying "see you next year" to people on December 31st is also in his joke portfolio), but it always distresses me when people say things like this. Why? Because it communicates a certain cynicism, a bored acceptance with life. Resolutions don't work. I'm XX years old and I'm not changing.

Here's the deal, folks: resolutions don't work because people don't put effort into them. By the time you've past adolescence, you have to actively work at changing things about yourself. It's the same basic thing with being a Christian: if you half-heartedly ask God to make you more patient (or whatever), it doesn't work unless you put effort into it as well. Doing that is essentially the same thing as resolving to lose 15 pounds in 2008, then continuing with the same eating/exercise habits.

I wholeheartedly believe that God wants to grant our prayers...but He also doesn't want to be treated like a genie. That's essentially what you're doing when you pray for something, then put no follow-up effort into it. So when you're praying for something (or making resolutions) actively commit to following up. God will provide you the strength to change, but only if you hold up your end of the bargain.

(Not that we can ever truly hold up our end of the bargain. But you know what I mean)

1 comment:

The Word Chef said...

Hear, hear! (or is it "here, here" ?) This is so true. Thank you for exposing the truth for what it is. My favorite line: "By the time you've past adolescence, you have to actively work at changing things about yourself." It's true.

Maybe I should be a youth leader -- youth are just so much easier to change than adults. Not that I'm trying to change people. But I do want GOD to change them THROUGH me. But it seems youth do that so much more readily than those who are 21+.