It’s the time of year when we start hearing all about new year’s resolutions. The seemingly endless messages seem to be something like, “new year; new you.” We might even join in, vowing to make changes to our diet, exercise habits or lifestyle.
New year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily bad. The beginning of the year does offer a chance to reset and set new goals. But statistics suggest that 80% of resolutions will fail by February.
I’m guessing, at one time or another, we’ve all experienced it, whether tied to a new year’s resolution or not, we decide to make a change only to fall back into our old habits a few days, weeks, or months later.
Sometimes, no matter what we vow to change, no matter what resolution we might make, or what goal we might set, things simply stay the same.
And then, we come to the end of the year, or any other evaluation period, and are disappointed to realize how short we fell. Maybe we even feel like a failure.
But there is something that doesn’t change. Something that should root our entire identity and purpose.
And that is that we are called “Beloved.”
In the story of Jesus’ baptism, the heavens part open and God says to Jesus, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well-pleased.”
As we hear those words spoken to Jesus at his baptism, we are meant to internalize them as if they are spoken to us. They are the words that should root our entire identity.
We are the Beloved.
But author Henri Nouwen wisely writes: “It certainly is not easy to hear that voice in a world filled with voices that shout: ‘You are no good, you are ugly; you are worthless; you are despicable, you are nobody—unless you can demonstrate the opposite.’ These negative voices are so loud and so persistent that it is easy to believe them. That’s the great trap. It is the trap of self-rejection.”
But viewing ourselves as the Beloved is perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the world.
Nouwen goes on, “When our deepest truth is that we are the Beloved and when our greatest joy and peace come from fully claiming that truth, it follows that this has to become visible and tangible in the ways we eat and drink, talk and love, play and work.”
And so, maybe, viewing ourselves as beloved is actually the bravest thing we can.
Grace and peace,