Happy New Year my new friends!
Do you make resolutions when the New Year is upon you? I usually take time to think back on the year to see all the good God has done. I have had years where it was hard to see the good, but if you look hard enough it’s there. Even if the good is simply saying, “I’m still breathing”.
I think about ways I want to grow and change. I dream about things we could do as a family or something I’d like to experience myself that I haven’t yet. I use to be all about change or improvement during January. However, February would find me a little busy and back to the “normal” everyday busyness that choked out any ambition for real change. I hate to admit it, but by March I usually didn’t think much about my New Years resolution for the remaining of the year. I was sucked back into routines and by December I sometimes found myself a year older and with little change from the previous year.
About ten years ago I stopped New Years Resolutions. Now, I’m not saying that reviewing your past and making some goals for the future is pointless or wrong when the New Year comes around. For some of you this system of New Years Resolutions really works.
As a Christian (bear with me if you are not), I found that if I am really pursuing a relationship with God in my everyday life then I am more likely to grow by default. What I mean is that when you love God and pursue Him daily everything else seems to ‘want to’ change: The way I handle myself in public and interact with people, the way I talk to my husband and children. The way I handle money. The way I avoid watching certain movies or looking at certain websites. Even the way I choose food. You’ll note I said “want to” change because I’m human and I don’t always do what I want to do or what I need to do. The changes happen slowly sometimes, but I am aware ALL year long that I love God and want to be more like Him.
These aren’t changes or resolutions based on rules and fear. No one changes long-term for that. These are done out of love. Love for God. Love for my family and friends. Love for people. What’s really cool is when you can look back and see how following Jesus brought you to a totally different place in your life than you ever thought. Maybe it’s a job, relocation, or volunteer opportunity that you never expected. Or maybe it’s freedom from fear, anxiety, financial strain, marital issues, or family strife that you never thought you’d be rid of. These are things that would have never been on a New Years resolution; things I may have missed out on if I was too focused on a set of my own goals. I guess what it comes down to for me is asking God, not only in the New Year, but all year long, to help me live each day for Him and to open my eyes to ways I can better love and serve; no matter where I live, work, and play.
Disclaimer: Following God does not mean I get to experience amazing, life changing things every year. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being consistant; showing up. There have also been years that I felt like I back-tracked. Years I thought I would never get my life together. This was while I was a Christian; attending church every week and serving in children’s ministry. I use to think that being a Christian meant I should have things figured out, know what to say or do in certain circumstances, always be pleasant and help others, and always have peace. People…life can be hard. God knew this. We don’t become Christians to “figure it out” and live a life apart from pain. God wants us to have peace, but it comes when we surrender everything and trust Him no matter what. God’s love is not about being perfect. It’s about loving us where we are at and helping us to grow to be more like Him as we get to know Him over time. I pray that you find the only One who brings long-term peace. The One who loves you more than anything or anyone. Your creator, father, and friend: The Lord Jesus.