New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year, Day 2!  I spent a good part of yesterday reading other people’s ideas of what NY resolutions should look like, as well as pondering some of my own.  Yes I am a big “resolution” fan…someone now dead and gone once said seeing transformation in your life involves resolving to make the changes necessary for the transformation to occur, and I believe that. A good friend and mentor once told me anything worth doing is worth doing poorly, meaning any benefit is better than no benefit.  A wise if not unusual observation.

But a lot of what I read started to sound pretty repetitive…resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, have more fun, take more vacations, go back to school, change a work situation or a job entirely if it doesn’t meet your needs, to name a few I read more than once.  While I can relate to some of these resolutions, they missed the mark for me (even the weight loss and exercise ones…more on that in a minute).

As a Christian my supreme personal goal should be Christ-likeness, and so it behooves me to think along this vein when considering NY resolutions.  Although this is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit, there is a lot I can do to “open the sails” to the Spirit’s movement in my life.  It is my firm belief that if I shift my “resolutions” focus heavenward, many earthly concerns and circumstances will change accordingly.  So here is my list of “12 Resolutions for 2012” (in no particular order):

1. Keep my love for God fresh.  The singular passage I remember most vividly from the book of Revelation (2:4) is Jesus’s disappointment in the church in Ephesus for their lackluster love for God.  “You have forgotten your first love,” Jesus told them.  I will look for ways to keep my love for God vibrant and full of wonder.

2. Remember the past so that my heart might be renewed for the present and the future.  Deliberately remembering what God has done in the past strengthens my ability to keep trust in His ability to handle my present and future.  I will stop along life’s path this year to plant markers (literal or symbolic) that I can revisit from time to time.

3. Because I desperately need the Holy Spirit’s renewal, I will practice spiritual disciplines that will help to keep me spiritually sensitive to God’s working in my life.

4. Remind myself that contrary to popular culture, life is not about “doing it my way” or “seizing control of my own fate”—life is about relinquishing control and allowing Christ to reign within me, so that I live life on His terms instead of mine.

5. Seek out and destroy excesses in my life.  The prophet Daniel is my model here (read Daniel 1).  This includes both things I already have and things I have the chance to acquire.  It also means, for me, things I put into my mouth.  Yes, here’s the weight loss resolution, but the focus for me (after years of deliberation about this subject) is not so much the ideal of weighing less but making sure no idol (including my stomach) replaces God on the throne of my life.  I fully believe this is where my focus should be…yet in so doing I hope to benefit from a healthier lifestyle, including the shedding of a few pounds.

6. Take care of my body, God’s temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20), by keeping it as healthy and strong as possible.  While resolution #5 has to do with eating, this one has to do with changing my growing sendintary habits.  I recently read one source that quoted CNN as stating “young, religiously active people are 40 percent more likely than their non-religious counterparts to become obese in middle age.”  Ouch, I’m right there, and I don’t believe my physical status pleases God in the least.  I need to find balance between my sedintary habits of prayer and Bible meditation and increased physical activity.

7. Learn to be a better God-listener.  The best way to learn to pray is to pray…the best way to listen to God is to practice listening in prayer.

8. Keep making adjustments in my business goals so that, hopefully, I keep up with the shifting fulcrum of where God’s will and purposes for my life and my desires, time and energies meet.

9. While social justice is not the focal point of my life of faith or my work, I will memorize, meditate on and apply the words of Micah 6:8 daily: He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

10. Focus daily my primary fulfillment of God’s purposes in my life—my responsibilities to my husband and to my children.  God will make time for anything else that is important to Him.

11. Think on the fact that God’s will always starts with where I am right now, today, and that His will leaves a lot of room for my creative and prayerful efforts.

12. Remember that my best act of worship is obedience to God, not how well I perform any given job, ministry or task.

2 comments on “New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Great counsel. The difficulty for me personally is knowing when to be still and wait for the Lord to direct my path versus just doing something I think would be good. In other words, how can we be certain that we are doing God’s will and not just vainly fulfilling our own will? How can we confidently discern the difference?

    • Hi Nancy,
      I think people sweat this a lot more than they need to. I follow the “God can’t direct a parked car” model over the “Don’t move until you have specific direction” model. By that I mean prayerfully carry on with your activities and be open to God revealing His will by the doors that open and close. I think this is very biblical – with some exceptions, like the prophets in the OT, most people in the Bible haven’t received specific instructions from God before they act. My own experience confirms this…God doesn’t lay out His plans ahead of time. so when you think you sense God prompting, act on it, and then prayerfully watch for God’s response through events and any further promptings you sense.

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