A New Kind of New Year's Resolution

Meet Ali Lamb! Ali is a 22-year-old recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied Journalism and Spanish. She currently lives in Texas and is thoroughly enjoying ample amounts of Tex-Mex, breathtaking sunsets and Southern chivalry. Ali will begin law school in the fall. 


New Year’s resolutions have always held a strong appeal for me. Each year, they allow me to turn around, face my past 364 days and demand a rematch. A do-over. Double-or-nothing. A tabula rasa? I get giddy just thinking about it.

In past years, I’ve spent Jan. 1 at the gym. I’ve written an excruciatingly detailed first entry in a prayer journal. I’ve refrained from gossip. I’ve appreciated the heck out of my mother and left ten fingernails un-torn. By Jan. 2, however, my journal entry is a page shorter and so, too, is my thumbnail.

By Jan. 3, I’m using my 5-pound dumbbells as bookends.

In college, a few words from my good friend, Clive Staples Lewis, brought—as they often do—an epiphany that allowed me to view my failed resolutions with an alarming clarity.

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

After reading those words, I knew I was guilty of evaluating myself on a superficial spiritual level. I had invited God into my heart and then confiscated his sledgehammer. Too painful. Too much work. Here, try this inflatable mallet instead. Is it any wonder that my New Year’s resolutions had failed miserably every year?

I spent the next two years in demolition, tearing down the “decent little cottage” I had spent about a decade constructing. I discovered that the majority of my self-confidence was grounded in dating—down went that wall. Down, too, went my timetable and my demand for control. I allowed God to plow and thrash and empty me of every filler that had previously replaced Him, and found—amidst a pile of rubble—my new heart.

This heart is just as broken, just as sinful. It still lies. It fears. It envies, and it spites. The difference is that there is now room inside it for a massive God to battle daily. He is stronger than any weakness I have. In fact, He is made perfect in them. For this reason, I don’t have to wait for Jan. 1 anymore. Every morning—all 365 of them—I just have to wake up, hand Him a hammer and ask Him to come and begin again.