OK, if not for myself, how about for God?

That’s the question I’m asked each year. It’s a good question It’s comforting to know a loving Father has a way of checking in. You see, I passed on the New Year’s resolution because I never could get my act together. It is hard to change. It’s hard to adopt new and better habits. The problem with the New Year’s resolution is that it has a set beginning. But there’s no end in sight except when you fail. Fail and fail again was my motto every year. Forever is a long time.

New Year’s day comes and goes and there I sit, stuck in my old ways, in search of a more reasonable approach. I ponder how I will tackle the things that need fixing in my life. Every corner I turn, there it is staring me in the face. In some ways, for me, denial is powerful. In an effort to convince myself that the problem really doesn’t exist, I’d strive to make things better. There would be numerous failed efforts – but at the very least, I was trying. That is, until I found good reason to simply give up and ask myself: Who are you really fooling?

Somewhere along the way, honesty resonated as a great attribute. And with that came my true confession. It’s good to admit your shortcomings. And while you’re at it, tell everyone. That way, expectations in that area would be lowered of you.

Justification of a shortcoming came next. Was the world judging me differently from God? How will my shortcomings play out in the future? And who do they really concern? On the grand scale, I had to wonder, just how short was I coming up? I concluded that it all depends on who is measuring success and to what end it serves.

There was a time in my career when I bought in big to the dress for success. I made sure that my black leather briefcase matched my black leather coat. When I showed up for my meetings, the papers were all in nice, neat piles, organized and well presented. My makeup was right, I wore the right colors and my clothes were neatly pressed. I appeared to have my act together. Some even commented that I was so organized. Boy, have I got them fooled, I thought.

What went on behind the scenes was a different story. Truth is, I’m naturally an unorganized mess. And these days, there’s no fooling anyone. I tell people, if you want it on a certain day, call me, because chances are good, I’ll forget. Who knows where that appointment book is, anyway? Reaching me by cell phone is hit or miss: Where is it? Is it charged? Do I really know how to retrieve voice mail? When the mail takes over the kitchen peninsula, a laundry basket serves as the catch-all fix for a quick cleanup. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind – until I must rummage through for that important piece of mail that I’m missing. Then there’s the daily challenge to find a pair socks; mine, someone else’s, I don’t care, as long as they match.

Keep this up, and no doubt, I’m a prime target for those professional organizers, the Blackberry salesman and perhaps one of those closet or office organizing systems. By worldly measures, surely this would put me back on track, and solve all my problems. At the very least, surely, I’ll appear organized.

Perhaps there’s another solution. The less you have, the easier it is to manage. Maybe it’s time for some spring cleaning. The season of Lent may be the way to get the job done. Unlike the New Year’s resolution, the 40 days of Lent has a beginning and an end. Better yet, it puts me in touch with the biggest expert of all: God. A season of prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving may be the answer, and Lord knows I need all the help I can get. Clean out the house and donate to the poor. Cleanliness is Godliness – if not for me, I’ll do it for God.

Can I do this in 40 days? God only knows. I hear he’s patient, and I’m sure he isn’t finished with me yet. Time will tell.


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