Looking to make changes in your life? Winter can be a great time for getting started. We’re about a month into our New Year’s resolutions ‚Äì and, if we haven’t quite gotten around to those goals, Ash Wednesday is coming up Feb. 26 and a fresh effort could become a part of our Lenten sacrifice.
By now I’ve lived through quite a few New Years and Lents. As the years have passed, my resolutions and commitments have largely morphed from dieting, watching less television, etc., to more spiritual initiatives — increased prayer time, being nicer to people.
It would be interesting to view a list of all those objectives from years past, just to gauge if any substantial progress was made. Were my efforts only temporary, or did they become a permanent part of me? Am I a better person now because of the changes I sought to enact? Is the world around me better?
There’s no easily measurable way to answer those questions. But even when I struggle to attain the ideals I’ve set ‚Äì which is often — hopefully my imperfections don’t change the fact that I want to improve and please God in the process.
Maybe that’s the key. If I were to ever deem that my sacrifices weren’t worth the effort, then it would be easy to just give up and live life any way I please. Yet as tempting as that may seem, experience has taught me that taking such a path doesn’t produce fulfillment — and it certainly doesn’t bring me closer to God.
Because I do feel a closeness, I sense God’s encouragement when I fall short and his pleasure when I succeed. That constant support helps keep me striving toward self-improvement at New Year’s and Lent — and hopefully the rest of the year, too.
Latona is a staff writer for the Catholic Courier.