Jamie Jenkins: I Am a Work in Progress

If you don't read the comics, you are missing something good. I have always enjoyed comic strips. I still read them in the daily newspaper and check some of my other favorites online. Wisdom and good counsel often comes along with the humor.

One of the most widely read comic strips was created by Jim Davis in 1978. It is about Garfield, a lazy and fat cat. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as the most widely syndicated comic strip in 2002. Common themes in the strip include Garfield's laziness, obsessive eating, and hatred of Mondays and diets.

In last Wednesday's strip Garfield was asked if he made any New Year's resolutions. He replied, "To stop eating food and start exercising daily ... and to curb my incessant lying."


Garfield's response summarizes my attitude about New Year's resolutions. They are too often broken before the calendar has barely been turned. While the start of a new year is a good time to consider things that you need to change in your life, New Year's resolutions just don't work for me.


However, I have considered a few aspects of life that I want to improve upon.

I want to work at being fairer with people and less judgmental.


Division and strife is often caused by pettiness. So much time and energy can be spent on things that don't really matter. I am trying to discipline myself to prevent being caught up in pettiness.


Patience is a virtue and I realize it is not one of my strongest traits. I need to be more patient but I am hesitant to ask God to help me in this area "because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us" (Romans 5:3, The Message). Nevertheless this is one place where I am intentionally trying to improve.


I am a skeptic and always have plenty of questions. My tendency is to see the downside of new and different ideas. I want "proof" something is going to work before I try it. That's my nature, but I seek to be open to new opportunities and possibilities. Maybe that is something that will get better during the coming year. I am going to work at it.


In The Muppet Movie (that tells you something about my level of sophistication, doesn't it), Kermit the Frog is told that he can give the world the 3rd best gift, after children and ice cream, laughter. That ranking is certainly open for discussion, but laughter is a great gift. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that "a cheerful heart is a good medicine." I cannot imagine having a cheerful heart without laughter. I intend to laugh more.


The areas of my life that need attention make a long list. It would be good if I would pray more, complain less, be more loving, less critical, and I certainly should be more health conscious.


You probably get the idea by now. There are just so many places in my life where I could benefit from change. It can become overwhelming, so why burden myself with New Year's resolutions that I probably won't or can't keep.


I don't intend to suggest resignation to my imperfect state. I recognize that I am a work in progress. I trust that God will guide me and empower me during the coming year to make some of the needed changes so the light and love of Christ can be seen more clearly through me. In the meantime, I know that God will love me and accept me just as I am and I hope you will too.

Jamie Jenkins

[Taken with permission from "Monday Morning in North Georgia," Jan. 2, 2012. North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.]