New Year’s resolutions, Mother's Advice, God
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For me, making New Year’s resolutions is an exercise in futility. At each year’s end, I forget the mistakes made over the last twelve months and give myself a “tabula rasa” — a clean slate — on which I jot down resolutions for the coming twelve months. On average, they are abandoned by the end of January.
I lack self-discipline. So, in an imagined conversation, I turned to the one person I could always count on for sound advice: my mother.
“Mama, how can I overcome my lack of self-discipline?”
“Son, all things, whatsoever you ask in prayer, believe, and you shall receive.”
“Mama, more of my prayers go unanswered than answered. For instance, I’ve asked the Lord to lessen what I consider to be too great a burden of suffering. He always says, ‘No.’”
“Son, tribulation strengthens you. In His infinite wisdom, God knows that pain and suffering lift His children above mundane matters and draw them closer to Him.”
“Mama, that is a hard piece of advice to swallow, but I’ll try. Answer me this: As you know, I’m the most impatient of all your kids. Many times, I’ve asked God to develop in me the virtue of patience. He always says, ‘No.’”
“Son, patience has its roots in and develops from worldly cares. It is not an automatically granted virtue — it must be learned, which it could not be if your life were nothing but happiness.”
“Mama, speaking of happiness … I always ask the Heavenly Father to give me an abundance of it. He always says, ‘No.’”
“Son, the Lord gives you an abundance of blessings; be thankful for them, and the happiness He has planned for you will follow.”
“Mama, I make little money and don’t own much. I often ask God to give me things so that I might get more enjoyment out of life. He always says, ‘No.’”
“Son, lust for ‘things’ is a primary cause of misery. God is really saying, ‘I gave you the precious gift of life so that you could enjoy all things.’”
“Mama, I often ask the Lord to help me overcome my vices. He always says, ‘No.’”
“Son, you must realize that God wants you to build your spiritual strength continually, and one of the best ways to do that is to — on your own — defeat your vices. Day by day, put on the whole armor of God, which will include a self-discipline so strong that it is impervious to worldly temptations.”
“Mama, this conversation has provided me very little comfort.”
“Listen to me, boy! What you want, you must earn. You must be grateful that God blessed you with the ability to earn what you want. Thank Him by doing so with a positive, optimistic attitude. Remember what the Bible teaches in the book of Colossians: Whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
“Son, follow my advice and God’s answers will no longer be in the negative. He will say, ‘Yes!’”