The New Year’s resolution the Course asks us to make (January 10, 2011)

There is a brief but powerful discussion of the New Year in the final paragraphs of “The Power of Holiness” (T-16.II.7-9). I have written about it before (here and here), but recently I did a class on it and feel I have a better sense of the whole picture. I realize we are ten days into the New Year, but I hope this can still have some relevance for you.

We have been in a rut composed of a long stream of our own mistakes, which have predictably resulted in disaster—disaster that we have tried, without success, to solve ourselves. (To appreciate what follows, you might reflect for a moment on the forms of disaster you are find yourself wrestling with in your life.)

But something else has been going on: We have let in God’s Love, which has had a number of visible effects in our lives. It has worked miracles through us. It has taught us things that are the opposite of what we used to believe. It has solved problems for us when we have handed them over. And it has given us ideas (in the Course) that are “mighty forces,” and that have “already proved their power” to us. God has, in other words, sent us many witnesses of His Love, “witnesses that speak of it so clearly that only the blind and deaf could fail to see and hear them.” 

Yet that is exactly what we have been doing. Our faith in the disaster we have made hasn’t missed a beat, and has led us to be blind and deaf to those witnesses, to not face their implications, not notice what in fact they prove, and to let their gifts sit “idly by.” 

Those witnesses represent a whole new life that we could have, but we are keeping them at arm’s length. Somewhere inside we know better, we know we are huddling in our rut while refusing to answer God’s knock on the door. Yet we persist. That is how powerful our faith in disaster is. 

This is a perfect situation for a New Year’s resolution, for isn’t this what they are all about? There is some rut we are holding fast to, while putting off what we know is good for us. So we decide to make the New Year about finally doing what we know we should. The only difference in the situation the Course describes it is that it is far more momentous than exercising or losing weight. 

So this New Year is our chance to get out of our rut and begin again on a new track. This is our chance to have an “out-of-pattern time interval” (the early Course’s term for a holy instant), in which we step out our past pattern, enter a timeless moment, and have the future now extend from that moment, instead of from our past. 

This is our chance to really take stock of what we have seen and heard, and make the logical choice. So let’s do that. Let’s briefly think of one example for each of the following categories: 

  • Something that happened in your life that seemed like a witness that God is there and cares about you. 
  • A time when the holiness in you worked a miracle in the life of someone else, even if that miracle was simply lifting that person’s spirits. 
  • A case in which you have learned something totally opposite to what you believed before, proving that your Teacher must not be of you (example: that attack is weakness, not strength). 
  • The Holy Spirit solving a problem for you that you handed over to Him. 
  • An idea from the Course that has proved its power to you in your experience. 

Then realize that all of these are witnesses to God’s Love for you. They are like the angels that showed up at the first Christmas, singing their “good tidings of great joy.” They prove that God’s Love is real, that He actually, literally loves you

Realize, too, that if He really loves you, and He is all-powerful, then nothing contrary to His Love can have any power at all. And having no power, it can also have no reality. 

What this means is that in your life, the only thing that is real is God’s Love for you. The disaster you have made, therefore, cannot be real. As a result, your faith should naturally transfer from the second to the first. 

If you will, make a resolution now that expresses that. This, in fact, is exactly what Jesus asks you to do: “Today, let us resolve together to accept the joyful tidings that disaster is not real and that reality is not disaster” (emphasis from original dictation). One way to do that is to repeat the following words with conviction: 

Jesus, I resolve to accept, with you, the joyful tidings that the disaster I made is not real and that, instead, the only thing truly real in my life is God’s Love for me. Starting now, I choose to live my life out of this acceptance. This is my New Year’s resolution.

Spend a moment feeling the peace entailed in this resolution. Feel the relief of the old being behind you and the thrill of a new future lying ahead. 

Finally, think about the means you will use to make good on this resolution. For Helen and Bill, this meant certain specific things, such as: “This is the year for the application of the ideas that have been given you.” So what does it mean for you? How will you live your life based on this new view of what is truly real in it?

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