The Resolution to Release


Elisabeth Peace

On a hike in the mountains of Colorado, a girl finds herself in awe of the surroundings.

The passing of the year symbolically allows us to throw away the baggage it has brought and chase after a renewed hope for the year to come. Almost as if our issues are swiped clean when the clock moves from 11:59 to 12:00. Perhaps it all is wishful thinking, but any hope can be helpful in times like these. 

Many people engage in new years resolutions to kick off January right. Statistically, not many promises we make to ourselves last past mid month, yet we still run to create new plans to be better. It’s human nature to crave that improvement for ourselves. But can we achieve betterment solely on our willpower to do good? 

Monroe senior Jonathan Staton stated, “The term “self-improvement” doesn’t make much sense to me. If you are missing something or are flawed, how can you then improve upon that thing or those things in and of yourself? To improve oneself requires some transformation sparked by someone or something. A car can’t clean itself… an addict cannot break an addiction in and of themselves. There has to be some outside influence to bring about the change.” 

I went the majority of my life thinking all my issues could be mastered with just a bit more effort. Then effort turned into anxiety, and the anxiety fueled a joyless life where I became the product of my own self-destruction. I spent each and every moment relying on my ability to aim for perfection and acceptance. Quite honestly, it was exhausting due to the fact that I am a human who is prone to make mistakes and fall. 

I say this not to make you devoid of any goals or aspirations, but to offer a hope that I found along the way as I struggled with my own imperfections and humanity. Because don’t get me wrong, I still strongly believe we should be a people set on enhancing our world. It’s just that if you’re not careful, you could miss out on the present as you run narrowly towards your destination. 

One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, believed that one of life’s greatest aims was to know Christ. Not a white haired figure, towering down on us from “upstairs.” But God as the Bible reveals Him. The Creator of stars and of humanity, who somehow see’s us more valuable than any other piece of creation He formed. (Psalm 8:3-9)

In the book Mere Christianity, Lewis said, “The ter­ri­ble thing, the almost impos­si­ble thing, is to hand over your whole self — all your wish­es, and pre­cau­tions — to Christ. But it is far eas­i­er than what we are try­ing to do instead. For what we are try­ing to do is remain what we call ​“our­selves,” to keep per­son­al hap­pi­ness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ​“good.” We are all try­ing to let our mind and heart go their own way — cen­tered on mon­ey or plea­sure or ambi­tion — and hop­ing, in spite of this, to behave hon­est­ly and chaste­ly and humbly.” 

In my life, the greatest thing that drew me to God wasn’t even His grandeur or authority, but by simply reading the Bible for myself and realizing that all my pursuits to better myself never worked because God wasn’t in the picture. Without knowing my Creator, I didn’t understand myself truly. I would run and run on a tank filled with empty, fleeting praise and accomplishments from my life when really I just needed to hear the truth God spoke over me.

A popular theme in the Bible talks about how once you lose your life you will save it (Matthew 16:25). This helps us better understand Lewis’ quote above. ‘Losing your life’ refers to releasing your grip on how your finite mind believes life should go and allowing those definitions to be reshaped by a Creator who fully knows you. 

When we begin to see the world in His lens, we see that it’s ok to reach for help, it’s admirable to love and serve others, and perhaps our greatest fulfillment lies in submitting to a power beyond ourselves. For in Him we see and know light, and our shortcomings or failed plans are turned to praise when His light illuminates a new path.