Oops! Blew our cover. We do smile sometimes. Note the careful placement of festive holiday scarf to make me look and feel thinner.
I thought I was going to get to an epic and wonderful tweet yesterday, in the midst of going on and on about how a Christian is supposed to think about sanctification, but I forgot. Here’s the tweet:
quote this tweet with your top 3 personal accomplishments of 2021 ✨
— Adam J. Kurtz (@adamjk) December 22, 2021
If you click on it, you can see thousands of responses falling into roughly two categories. The first is best summed up by Drew:
So hard to narrow down but I guess I’d say …
1. Started (and completed) my PhD
2. Translated the Bible into Maltese and Basque.
3. Discipled 507 people to full sanctification. https://t.co/NA077KMM2Z
— Drew (@drewdyck) December 28, 2021
The second kind is more along the lines of, “I managed not to die or kill myself.” One person, I trust humorously, listed the three amazing personal accomplishments of getting three vaccinations. Oh, and a fair number of people admitted to having started podcasts in 2021. I bet there are now as many podcasts as there are people with omicron (look how good at the maths I am).
So anyway, I think it is a basic human truth that there isn’t any point in doing something hard or clever if you’re not going to be able to tell other people about it. Why make resolutions to do things, or try at all, if you can’t have all your good works seen before other men, or people or whatever. That is literally the point of social media.
But I am a big believer in demotivation. So, in the spirit of realism, here are the three things I tried and failed to do in 2021, and will probably try to do and also fail to do in 2022:
- Lose my covid weight from 2020.
- Write the book I was going to write in 2020.
- Really totally declutter my house so that it doesn’t feel like a furniture store/junk shop.
Somewhere along in the last two years whenever I was having to read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, (she also started a podcast in the era of covid), I managed to get her catchphrase, “we can do hard things,” stuck in my head. I thought it was a pretty ironic slogan and would say it and laugh to myself as I drove to the store in my comfortable car to buy a lot of food delivered to me from the four corners of the earth for almost no money. I would mutter it as I sat at my kitchen counter eating tubs of hummus and those little squares of knock-off Aldi Vache Qui Rit. I would sing-song it silently to myself as I ran around the church making last-minute photocopies for my Sunday School babes so that they wouldn’t be forced to draw their own pictures but could just color in those invented by other people. We can do hard things, I would think, but why would we?
I mean, of course, it is possible for human beings to do hard things. It happens all the time. I, for example, gave birth to a lot of children which was hard. And they all still live in my house, which is also hard. Getting out of bed is hard. Coping with a geriatric and incontinent cat is hard. Living through the last two years has been hard. And yet here we all are. Saying “we can do hard things” is–well, it’s not a very amazing idea to stake your life on.
And that is because of the grave trouble that “we”–as in, humanity corporately and individually–can’t do the very hardest thing, which is to love and obey God. And that is the great irony of Glennon Doyle adopting the phrase. She can’t and won’t do the very hard thing of accepting God on his own terms in the scriptures, but has purposely rejected all that for the very easy and comfortable gospel of self-actualization. The hardest thing in life is to say no to oneself and say yes to God and other people, a thing so hard that she, and all the culture with her, has recast love itself to be something it’s not in order to avoid having to do the very very hard and impossible thing of repenting and believing the actual gospel.
But even if one has found the mountain of one’s heart cast down into the sea by God, and therefore crouches in the pew bowed under the conviction of sin and other unpleasant sensations, still, one then also discovers that the further hard thing required is to do good and obedient works that glorify your Father in heaven without broadcasting them to the wide world. So I probably did some good things in 2021 but I’m not going to tell you because it doesn’t matter and you’ll be bored and I’ll be bored. Failure is funnier and more inspiring. Let my life serve as a warning to others.
And now, I’m going to go buy food for this poor ancient cat. It’s the circle of life, or death or whatever. Have a nice day!