Last night I went out for pizza with an awesome friend, Kate. We shared our plans and resolutions for 2011, both of us wanting to take advantage of the optimism, hope and energy that come inherently with the New Year. We dared to dream for the upcoming year and made some bold resolutions in relation to improving our characters, interior-selves and the quality of our lives.
As I was walking home that night, although energized with optimism, the reality of what it was going to take to actually fulfil my resolutions hit me. The reality that I would have to change some deep-rooted aspects of my character and mindset in order to achieve my plans and hopes for this year began to dawn on me.
I remembered a Bible passage. Not everyone who reads this will share my spiritual conviction but the lesson of this scripture is a good one and is applicable across the board. Allow me to share Mark 2:22 which says: “…no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” The idea behind this is that new wine expands when it is placed in a wineskin, therefore it needs a new wineskin which will be able to expand with it. An old wineskin has already stretched to its limit (like used shoes) and if new wine is added to it, it won’t be able to expand but will burst, ruining both the skin and the wine.
Put plainly, we can’t continue in the same ways and expect different results. This applies to many situations: If we want to become healthy, we need to change our diet and exercise lifestyles if we want different answers we’ve got to ask different questions, if we want better returns we’ve got to make smarter investments and if we want to follow Christ we need to accept and obey his teachings and thereby change our thoughts and behaviour.
I don’t know if I’ll be successful in all my endeavours and resolutions this year. I don’t know if I have what it take on my own to reach there. I know that I don’t have the new skin, i.e. a changed mindset and character fortitude, needed to reach where I want to get to. But my only certainty lies in the hope and strength that comes with each ambition for elevation, in the fact that I can join forces with the creator to follow my path of fulfilment.
As we live out our dreams in this New Year, we need to remember that we have access to unlimited strength which is not our own.