— by Petrea Huynh, MA, IMF Registered Intern #90087
Supervised by Donald W. Welch, Ph. D, LMFT, Lic. #MFC 50129
My personal new years resolution is: "I will focus on my positive attributes, allowing them to grow. And I will be open and honest about my faults without granting them focus." Then later I came upon the bible passage: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 ESV)
There is grace and strength in weakness. Rather than shunning ourselves for our character defects and personal shortcomings, we might find our most profound experience of Grace when we allow ourselves access and self-knowledge to our own greatest struggles. God dwells there. This topic of the importance of self-knowledge in our spiritual journey was marinating in my mind when a close friend came to me, frustrated by the realization that she had made a similar new years resolution year after year, without achieving lasting victory over her perceived shortcoming. After dialoguing with her and praying on the importance of personal growth and the importance of fortitude (strength and conviction to change and to grow even in the face of perceived failure) I became very much convinced that it might often be necessary for us humans to have the same resolution year after year. We must admit what is hurting, what is dysfunctional, what is broken or damaging to others within ourselves and in our lives before we might hope to make real progress in changing ourselves. And such self-awareness (and cognitive growth), and subsequent tangible change might just take more than one year. The point of new years resolutions as a human being invested in spiritual growth is that we allow God in. And this is perhaps one of our most important tasks as human beings.