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Resolved is a curious word, etymologically related to solvent, and, of course, solution, as in resolution. The original meaning had to do with loosening, and that meaning is still easy to see in solvent.  

Over the years, resolute has come to mean something much more fixed than loose, yet one way to think about resolving to do something means that you are also resolving not to do something. There is a yin and yang to it, and as I’ve thought about 2019, I think it’s going to be a yin-yang sort of year. Certainly my list of resolutions for 2019 is a yin-yang sort of list, with many gains being accompanied by a corresponding loss.

Take my first resolution. I want to sleep more when I’m supposed to sleep, which (I hope) will mean sleeping less when I do not intend to fall asleep. Why I lie awake in bed and yet fall asleep during lectures or sermons or when reading or when sitting at my desk is not only a yin-yang mystery, it’s also one of a long list of odd gifts my body has given me as I have moved into my seventh decade (this is what happens when you turn 60) on this planet.

But enough of that. Here are my resolutions for 2019. Anything on here you identify with?

  • Sleep at night and not during the day
  • Pay closer attention to the ordinary, looking for the Extraordinary
  • Have more conversations with people under the age of 10
  • Have more conversations with people over the age of 90
  • Be still more (and stay awake, see first resolution)
  • Spend more time outside
  • Choose human interaction over screens
  • On a related note, watch less television, especially talking head shows, especially talking heads that are debating but actually not really debating, just contradicting and getting louder and louder, and why is that even on TV? Go outside instead
  • Read more, skim less
  • More cowbell
  • I was going to say something here about improving my prayer, but really I’ve already covered that under the first resolution
  • Think more about joy and grace and less about failure and shame
  • Keep reminding myself that no one, including me, requested their foibles
  • Tell the people I love that I love them
  • Ask more questions
  • Cry more
  • Say the prayer of confession with sincerity
  • Believe the words of assurance
  • While awake, stop mentally rewriting the sermons I hear and simply accept them for the gifts they are
  • Recognize anger is an ally, telling me something is wrong. Figure out what’s wrong instead of just being angry
  • Be irenic more than ironic
  • Use the word irenic more
  • Actually read some of the books that I keep on my shelves so I appear smart. I’m looking at you, Dostoevsky

    Fyodor Dostoevsky 1821-1881

  • Don’t fall asleep reading Dostoevsky (see first resolution)

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is the Executive Vice President of Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.

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