By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
You know, stuff like resolving to be a better person, changing jobs, quitting smoking, eating less and exercising more, or some other personal goal that we hope to achieve in the upcoming year. While we all know that usually these well-intentioned resolutions don’t last past the first few days of January, we keep on making them all the same.
It’s no secret that intending to eat less and exercise more are probably two of the most popular resolutions. Sometimes the resolve to exercise more is motivated by a well-meaning relative or friend giving a gym membership, or perhaps a gift of a half-dozen lessons with a trainer.
I was talking some time ago with people at the gym about how the first two or three weeks of January are always bustling with new members, and then as the month wears on the number of newbies plummets. And as that resolution to exercise more falls by the wayside, many times so do those lessons with the trainer. The new year quickly turns into just another year, with all those good intentions put off till next year.
With resolutions generally being such a dismal failure, I was wondering how (and why) we came up with the concept. With that in mind, I did a little on- line research about new year’s resolutions and found that the tradition dates back over four thousand years to the time of the early Babylonians.
Apparently the most popular resolution back then for the Babylonians was to return borrowed farm equipment. To correspond with the spring planting of their crops, the Babylonians celebrated in March rather than in January.
I also checked out a U.S. government site, which listed a number of popular resolutions and corresponding links to help in their fulfillment. Although in no apparent order, last on the list was to volunteer to help others and top of the list was to drink less alcohol.
I wondered how new year’s resolutions from our guests staying at Joy Junction stacked up with the typical resolutions which we all make and break. They were all simple but poignant.
One individual said she hopes God will keep her strong and sober in the upcoming year.
She continued, “I have gotten a renewed positive attitude this week, and I pray that in the new year God helps me keep it. My goals … are to stay sober and work my (recovery) program the way I need to.”
She said that she wants to stay focused on her recovery “to become the strong, independent woman and mother God intended me to be.”
She touchingly concluded, “I also want to be able to get my life in order, so I may get my children back and make a Christian life for myself and my children. I want to be patient and to be able to let God work in my life so I can be the person He wants me to be.”
Another guest said she wants to finish the Joy Junction life recovery program, “because I’ve never finished anything all the way in my life.”
She added, “I think this program (will) really help me. I’m going to try my hardest to go to all my classes and any other things I may have to, to complete this program. And hopefully when I’m done I can get my kids and my life back together, but this time even better than before. This time I will have God on my side.”
Another person said his new year’s resolution is to become closer to God. He added, “I feel there will be more technology, (more) homelessness and less (money available). I want to be in an electronics field where job resources are plentiful. I would also love to see less homeless people and children and less school violence. Also, I want to be in a world where we don’t have so much fear. That’s my resolution.”
Another guest resolved to “do all my chores, and to keep my room clean. Also I want to go to class on time and to listen while I’m there.”
This guest wants to get her son back. She said, “I am going to do this by looking for a job, by staying clean and getting my own place. My thoughts on this are that it is not going to be easy, but in doing it I will prove to myself that I can complete something in life.”
Rather than resolutions, another guest had great expectations. He said, “My time here at Joy Junction has truly helped me to revive my faith and hope in our heavenly Father’s promise to lead me out of my dark past of addiction and self destructive ways of living.”
He continued, “I tell you the truth when I say ‘Thank God’ for Joy Junction. Though it may not be a perfect place, yet through staff and donors, the people who commit to the Christ in Power program will become better people. So as I face the New Year, I do so as a better person, for I have Jesus and I thank Joy Junction for reuniting us.”
To that I say a hearty “Amen.” Whatever the rest of your resolutions are, may I ask you to make a special one? It’s to pray for our city’s homeless and all of us at Joy Junction, as we work daily to bring the love of Jesus Christ and the message of recovery to all of those who enter our doors.