Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? What were they?
Get out of debt?
Moving ahead on a life-time goal or a plan?
If you are anything like 80% of all Americans – you have already broken one of more of your first of the year resolutions. Sad, isn’t it?
I wonder why that is.
Is it because we no longer have the emotional and mental stamina to stay the course? Is it because we make lofty and unattainable goals? Is it because we just don’t care enough?
I actually have some friends who no longer believe in making New Year’s resolutions because they know that as soon as they make them … they will break them. Sad, isn’t it?
Why wouldn’t a person at least want to make an attempt to change a bad habit? Why wouldn’t someone at least want to move in a healthy direction physically, emotionally or spiritually?
Even though I have not followed through on probably the majority of New Year’s resolutions that I have made over the years – I still believe in making them.
I still believe in the power of change and in the power of prayer.
I still believe that I can develop self control and discipline in my life even though at times in might be difficult.
I still believe that I am not perfect and that the first of the New Year is the ideal time to make some much needed and highly challenging changes in my life.
If you never set a goal to change – you will never change.
If you never identify a weakness in your life – it will never become a strength.
If you never verbalize a dream – it will never become a reality.
If you never pray a prayer – you will never experience a breakthrough.
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:13-14
So … over the years … this is where I have landed with New Year’s resolutions.
First of all, I make 2 or 3 easy resolutions that I know are attainable with just a small amount of change and just a tad of old-fashioned will-power.
Things like … don’t eat sugar during the month of January. (My younger self would say that I could never have one bite of sugar the entire year … that didn’t work.)
Or … do one kind deed for someone in the neighborhood once a month. (My more assertive yet less experienced self would have said to do something kind for a neighbor every single day for 365 days straight … I quickly grew discouraged.)
Or … memorize one Scripture verse every month. (My more determined yet less-disciplined self would have said memorize a verse every week … but by February I was generally already behind by 3-4 verses.)
The second thing that I do is to remind myself what the word “resolve” actually means.
Resolve: to come to a definite or earnest decision about; to determine to do something.
If I want to accomplish something this year, I must make a definite or earnest decision.
I must resolve that nothing will move me from my intended course.
I must count the cost before I make the decision.
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24
And then, I pray. I ask the Lord to show me what changes He would have me make in the coming year.
You see – what I have learned about self is that my best and most valiant ideas are only birthed in human desire.
I want what He wants … even if it is hard.
And then, after I have prayed, I sit still and listen with my journal open and a pen in hand.
And as I worship Him in those quiet moments, He always speaks to me. I inevitably feel the gentle nudging of the sweet Holy Spirit.
I wait until He speaks to me.
I have heard His voice for 2019 and I know that He will give me the strength to accomplish these goals because they were His ideas – not mine.
My first challenging resolution is this:
I have resolved to worship my way through heartbreak.
I have resolved that even when my world is imploding I will sing from the deepest part of me.
I have determined that nothing and that no person will take the song from my heart.
In the past – I have worshipped when life was hard but I have also whined, panicked and cried.
This year, in 2019, I will worship even when the tears are running down my cheeks.
I will. I have resolved.
My second challenging resolution this year is this:
I will choose to trust His goodness and His promises when I am in the wilderness of life.
I have always trusted Him … but I have also worried, complained and exploded with emotion.
This year, in 2019, I will trust Him completely in the wilderness.
I will declare His goodness over my desert-like conditions.
I will remind myself of His promises when the enemy is taunting me with lies.
I will. I have resolved.
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!