By Joy Wong
Ever since I was a little girl, I loved making New Year’s resolutions. I loved the idea of taking the time to reflect on who I was and how I could be better, and then creating to-do items in the hopes of forming good habits to better myself. Self-improvement was an important value of mine, and the tradition of making resolutions on New Year’s Day gave me the opportunity to do just that.
However, I began to realize that self-improvement had become a kind of addiction. The resolutions themselves seemed harmless — resolutions to be better organized, to be kinder to others, to exercise more; some resolutions aimed to better my spiritual life — to read the Bible and pray more regularly, to memorize Scripture, etc. But I realized that they came out of a mindset that made no room for self-acceptance. In regards to myself, the glass was always half-empty, instead of half-full. I could always be better, regardless of how I had already improved.
In more recent years, recognizing my need for self-acceptance, I’ve resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions. I’m happy to say that I’ve become better at accepting myself as I am, instead of trying to improve all the time. However, I have found that my “half-empty” lens affects the way I see not only myself, but also my life circumstances. I think a lot about what I have not yet attained or achieved, and worry that I will never reach my goals. It seems that I live my life in pursuit of what is just out of reach.
My prayer is that God will help me to wear a “half-full” lens not only in regards to myself, but also in regards to my life. I want to recognize and be grateful for what has been given to me, rather than be worried and anxious about what I do not already have. And in the spirit of seeing “half-full”, I am grateful that God has shown me that I need to change my lens, and I carry high hopes that God can and will do this change in me in this new year and throughout the years to come!
Joy Wong completed a Masters of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary. She and her husband currently attend New City Church of Los Angeles. To contact Joy, please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.