it takes more than a resolution, it takes a tenacious faith

There is nothing wrong with bringing resolution and courage to the new year,
but life is precarious. And dealing with the death of friends,
tragedy striking unexpectedly and bits of one’s body giving up,
needs more than just well-gritted teeth.

Gavin Ashenden


(a Norwegian wolverine demonstrates tenacity, grit and a fearsomeness)

Life is indeed precarious.
None of us know where it will take us next.
I dare say we all have some sort of notion of where we’d like to go,
even as to how we’d like to get there…but again, there are no guarantees.

Bishop Ashenden, in his wanderings and wonderings over the notion about new years
and their resolutions, has a bit of a lesson for each of us.

Now first we must note that we are a number liking people—-
just consider the fact that we are all about stats and numbers,
especially if we are wanting to justify or clearly define that with is unjust or undefinable.

Statistics show that they, being stats, are stacked against resolutions.
This we know.
Numbers don’t lie right?

Just yesterday I read some headline stating that by February, 80% of every New Year’s
resolution, is simply scattered by the wayside…
discarded and forgotten.

I don’t even bother.
I learned years ago that resolutions are simply short lived—
somewhat feeble attempts of being a better/ healthier person.
It takes more than just a resolution for those two things to take hold.
And when push comes to shove—the resolutions get shoved.
And it is that very reason, the good bishop notes,
a resolution will simply die…
Because Life simply has a different plan.

Life will put up a brick wall and all resolutions not to mention stamina, mindset
and determination quickly head out the back door.

Yet for many of us, a new year becomes some sort of giant reset button.
A time to review, remove, rewrite, renew….
And that certainly has its merit….
that is, up to a point.

Yet what the good Bishop is reminding us of is that as life has a way of
steamrolling over our best of intentions and plans, so much so that when that happens
as it eventually will, it’s going to take a lot more from within to survive
the steamrolling…
much more than a resolution or even gritted teeth that are grinning and bearing
can endure.

Life is hard.

It is not fair nor is it often kind…

And yet….we always seem to think that with some sort of twisted finagling,
we can beat it and actually win.
And we might actually do so but only for a while…for eventually,
Life in the end will have its way and that is when we in turn call it calamity,
sickness and even death.

And so the good Bishop looks to one who has gone on long before us but yet lives
on in her writings….
St Julian of Norwich (1373).

Julian had a tenacious belief in God.
She was what was known as an Anchoress….or one who literally attached
or anchored themselves to a church.

She was literally sealed up into a cell attached to the church of St Julian’s
there in Norwich, hence her name—as we really don’t know her actual name.
(here’s a bit of history lesson concerning this dear woman:
http://www.britainexpress.com/counties/norfolk/norwich/st-julian.htm)

Julian spent a lifetime devoted to God and ministering to those who would come
to the window of her cell seeking solace, prayer or wisdom.

Julian experienced visions and wrote these visions down—
as the writings eventually became a book, Revelations of Divine Love.

Tenacious and unrelenting—the only way Julian would extol that one should or could
best live…and that was to be anchored to the Divinity of the Creator and to the Love
He offered as in the tangible being of His Son…..

Bishop Ashenden notes that “it’s this belief in God that offers the kind of
affirmation for us that equips us best to deal with uncertainty,
and even tragedy, as we face the future remembering the disturbing
uncertainty of the past.”

The good Bishop relays a story of one of the many visions that Julian
was so famous for having–visions of God as Divine Creator.

Delusions of a mad or even physically ill woman some would claim….
but a gift of visions is what the faithful know….

So when Julian witnessed God taking the planet Earth and holding it in
His hand she responds by asking Him about its now seemingly smallness…..

‘It is all that is made.’ (God replied) I marvelled how it might last,
for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness.
And I was answered in my understanding: “It lasts and ever shall,
for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.”
Julian of Norwich

Throughout her visions she was taught that God could and would bring good out
of evil and because of that there was no need for anxiety.
Her motto and mantra became,

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

and perhaps Julian gives us the best of resolutions…to know that all shall indeed be
well when we rest in the Divine Love of God which is found incarnate in Christ, Jesus.

Belief in Christ brings the affirmation needed to strengthen our resolution.

16 comments on “it takes more than a resolution, it takes a tenacious faith

  1. Citizen Tom says:

    What a picture! One of the nastiest beasts there is.

    It is beast far more fierce than that that New Year’s resolutions must overcome. Yet as you say, we can put ourselves safely in our Lord’s Hands.

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    I’m with you on resolutions. I gave up making them years ago. The only one that works is to trust in the Lord and lean not on my own understanding. That one will get me through the new year without fear.

  3. Salvageable says:

    I don’t know when new year’s resolutions became common. I find it interesting, though, that the season of Lent begins right about the time that new year’s resolutions drop off the charts. (This year the first day of Lent is February 14, St. Valentine’s Day.) Time for a new start in fasting, self-denial, and general refocusing of attention on the help we need from God to escape our sins and become the people he always intended us to be. J.

  4. Lynda says:

    I also gave up on New Year’s Resolutions many years ago. It’s probably a cop-out for my lack of stick-to-it-iveness but I just trust in the Lord. I will admit that I need to do a little work along with the trust. I use that quote of Julian of Norwich frequently. There is great truth in it.

  5. Well one thing’s for sure! You are still cranking out stellar posts in the New Year. Like Lynda I don’t do new year’s resolutions, never have foe some reason. Hope we both have a splendid one and you an ever so much better one! 🙂 ❤

  6. oneta hayes says:

    I believe I do more evaluation of my aims, goals, and decide what to prioritize and what to let drop. I guess that can be called a sort of resolution time. For instance yesterday morning I started reading a different study Bible. The reading plan started at Matthew 1, so I did too. I do know, however, that I will not stay with it unless the cataract surgery coming up helps me with that small font. Too laborious. I made a decision about whether to go back to January 1 in a devotion book or buy a new one. I decided to do last year over in that journal. I really like looking at notes I made a year ago. Some a nice nuggets for some blogs along the way. It was a convenient time to write myself reminder notes on the calendar when I discarded 2017 and took up the 2018. I also decided to drop what I have been studying and teaching from Minor Prophets to go to Col. 3 for two weeks, to “suggest” it is a nice time to review what we should Keep and Kick in this coming year. So I guess it is an important time for me. ********** One of those notes I wrote for myself was to go to bed earlier. I don’t deserve any stars for success on that! 😀

  7. Oh, this is so beautiful, Julie! I have a friend who has been battling cancer 7-8 years now… and she has posted “All shall be well” on her blog. I now know where that phrase originated. Thank you! And so true… In God’s hands we rest, and for those who love and follow Him, all will eventually be well. Amen! Thank you for this comforting and encouraging post.

    By the way, I don’t make resolutions per se, either. But I do have three pages of goals for the next year or so… one for art, one for writing and one for helping my family. I pray over those lists every day and allow the lists (with specific objectives 😉 ) to direct my workdays. I dunno if that counts as “resolution” but it sure helps me stay on track 🙂 Love you much! ❤

    • Julian of Norwich is pretty amazing—the fact that we don’t much about her, her name, her time up to becoming an anchoress….
      I usually have to pull myself back to remembering her mantra—and if you ask me, you sound a heck of a lot more organized than I am 🙂

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