Would it surprise you if I told you that 92 percent of people don’t actually keep their New Year’s resolutions? (according to research done by University of Scranton). In fact, by the second week of February, 80 percent of New Year’s goals fail, according to U.S. News article “Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail.” But it doesn’t have to be this way; I’d like to believe we set goals because we want to keep them, not because it’s the “thing to do” every new year.
Have you ever heard of the term “blind faith?”
During my university years, I participated in many conversations, a lot of them with people who believe Christianity is nothing but blind faith. Although I disagree, I do understand their reasoning: many “Christians” do often follow what they call their faith, blindly. Meaning, their faith is based on their upbringing, their church, or their pastor as opposed to a faith based on a scriptural foundation.
Over the last few years I’ve seen a handful of friends walk away from the church, and I don’t mean walking away from the church only, but walking away from God and renouncing their faith. Mind you, most of them were zealous and committed believers, people I admired and people who helped me grow in my own faith, but something happened along the way and they are no longer around.
When I was younger, I remember viewing the bible as prehistoric book, written for ancient people and maybe for my grandparents.
It seemed too holy for me.
The gold-trimmed pages and the black leather cover didn’t attract me, not one bit. I avoided any contact with the bible altogether, but not for long.
When I heard the movie The Shack was coming out in theatres I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I read the book, and I loved it, but how would they fit the complexity of the book in a two-hour movie? First, there is Mackenzie’s (main character) rocky relationship with God. Second, there is the murder of his little daughter followed by his grief and his distance from God and his family. Third, there is Mackenzie’s encounter with God the father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And lastly, there is everything else he learns from each person of the trinity. It doesn’t get anymore complex than that!
People pleasing is one of those things I’ve struggled with for most of my life, but recently I’ve been more aware of its effects. I’m also learning that this tendency could have developed from past experiences in my life.
For example, I never felt good enough for my dad. He is gifted at math and physics while I am not, which made me feel like I couldn’t live up to his expectations for me, especially when it came to academics. I felt criticized. And even when I did something well, I didn’t receive that masculine, fatherly affirmation that I desperately needed as an infant and as an adolescent. However, I don’t want to place all the blame on my father for my people pleasing tendencies. I must also take ownership of my own actions and behaviours even if my upbringing did play a part in this struggle.
One of the most insightful scriptures I’ve ever read is Jeremiah 17:9. It speaks so much truth into what human nature is like. Here is what it says:
“The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?”
Above All Things
Above all things and beyond cure! I don’t know about you, but that really pops out to me. I mean, your heart, the very centre of your being, your emotions, your will is deceitful above anything else. The truth is, our motivations change like the hands on a clock. At any given point, I could have the purest motivation in my endeavours, however, in an instance, that could change.
5 years ago today, I made the best decision I’ve ever made: the decision to follow Jesus. I lived my whole life searching for meaning, acceptance, purpose, truth, and love. And I found all of these things in my relationship with God. Not only that, but I’m also a part of his kingdom, where I’ve received love, support, encouragement, and acceptance.