Let’s talk about all those repeating New Year’s resolutions. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Every year I get to the New Year, excited to make a new start and then look at the list from last year and just sigh. So many of the things I put on my list remain undone.
It’s really important to take an honest look at this whole New Year’s resolution thing. For some of us it’s exciting and we’re just thrilled and motivated to have a new blank sheet of paper or a new blank calendar so we can try again with a clean slate. But some of us lean into discouragement, and we’re like “Ugh, I don’t want to do that again, I failed, I failed, I failed, I failed, I failed.”
Before we go any further, I just want to affirm one thing: all of us are failures.
All of us have put things on our New Year’s resolutions that we haven’t gotten done. Anyone who tells you that they got all of it done exactly how they wanted is really not being honest. I have never known anyone who got done everything they wanted to do.
So I think we need to give each other a really big hug and embrace the fact that we’re all not getting it all done.
That’s not the point
Writing all. the. things. on a New Year’s resolution list just to go and do them all is REALLY not the point. Instead I want to suggest to you, and I really want to encourage you today that the point, of doing the New Year’s resolutions is to set a focus so that we can aim at something.
I happen to travel a fair amount, God offers me different opportunities to speak across the country or around the world and I have children and extended family that are pretty scattered across the country so I get to go visit. When I get on an airplane, I know that pilot has a a flight plan. I know he is going to follow that plan to deliver me from point A to point B. You can rest assured that I would not get on a plane with a pilot that’s just going to go for a fly that day and was hoping that I would come along for the ride… No. I wouldn’t do that, I want to get on a plane with a pilot that not only knows where he’s going, but has a plan to arrive there.
Like a pilot, I realize that in life it’s important to have that plan, and to be headed in a direction.
The primary direction that we should be headed in is to honor God in all that we say and do.
We need to make sure that we’re focusing on Him. And it would behoove us to plan a few steps along the way that will help us achieve this.
I want you to realize that I’m not coming at this as someone who does it perfectly AT ALL. I’m not coming at this as someone who accomplishes it all, in fact some years are much better than others. Some years, I can look at my list and think “Wow, I’ve really gotten a lot done” and other years I look at the list and go “I didn’t do any of that” and the reasons I don’t get them done are the same reasons you don’t get them done.
Sometimes life interrupts the best laid plans, or we get distracted and allow other things to come in and shift our focus. But in either instance I want to encourage you to not take those momentary failures as an excuse not to sit and make your list of New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I want you to take a fresh approach.
This year, prayerfully seek God as you lay out what you will focus on.
I thought this list from Neilson was interesting and I want to share it because I think you’ll probably relate to these top ten resolutions for New Year’s.
- Stay fit and be healthy
Most everyone wants to put something like this on their New Year’s resolutions. We want to do better than last year. I find it funny that we write New Year’s resolutions right after the holidays and get tempted by all of those sweets that are still hanging around the house. Of course I’m going to put eat healthy on the top of my list! For the last month I have not been doing that. So that’s at the top of 30% of people’s New Year’s resolutions lists.
- Lose weight
Of course we want to look better and stay fit and trim. But I would suggest that it’s not always the physical weight we need to lose, but the stuff of life, I think we all have those responsibilities that we’ve taken on that God would not ordain but we went ahead of him and took it on anyway. Or maybe it’s the stuff that clutters our minds and our houses that’s the weight that we need to lose this year. Take an honest look at your own life, is there something you need to shed?
- Enjoy life to the fullest
This one really resonated with me even though I had already written my New Year’s resolutions for this year. Because so many of us, myself included, get caught up in the doing, that we miss simply being and enjoying those moments that God puts out in front of us every day.
- Spend less, save more
I would have added at the side of this one to Give more. Not just financially, but give more of ourselves to the people around us and not give as much to the computer or our digital lives.
- Spend more time with family and friends
Oh how I would encourage you to do this. This is actually one of the things that I want to do more. This year I have resolved to spend more actual face time with my people. I really hope that in this new year that you and I will take time to be with real people in real time including our husband, children, and friends.
- Get organized
Well my good friend Kristi Clover can help you with this one because this is not my forte. I really do strive to be more organized and file more, my file pile is about 3 inches tall and I’m hoping to get it down to nothing. We can do this!
- Learn something new or have a new hobby
This year I have resolved that I want to become more in touch with my artistic side. I have a son that’s in art school and I just love what he is able to create and I have another one who’s an artist and my daughters write beautifully and I just really want to take time to slow down to take some time to step away from the computer screen and be a little more artistic this year.
- Travel more
I just want to enjoy staying and being around town here in Charlotte. I travel a lot to the airport and I love to be home but we’re actually going to be doing some fun things in our area this year and I’m really looking forward to that.
- Read more
If you’ve been around here for a while you know I am passionate about reading. I recently read some statistics on the amount of people that read and I was actually really disappointed that so very few people actually read after they graduate high school and even less after they graduate from college. That’s so sad to me to know that so few of us are growing our minds by reading. I’m working on a post to share soon that’s my reading list for this year and I really want to encourage you to be growing your mind through reading. One of the books on my list is Love God with All Your Mind by J.P Morlin. He advocates the importance of Christians to be reading across the disciplines to become better people and better advocates for the faith.
There’s more to it
That was a great look at the popular resolutions, and there are really are some important things on that list. But I want to challenge you to take it a little further. I have another list for you.
I want to encourage you to dare to dream.
Sometimes resolutions feel like just a dream that we dare to put on a list. But really, that’s exactly what a resolution is.
What could we dare to dream what we could accomplish by the end of this year with the strength of God.
“The world is yet to see what God can do with a man or a woman fully consecrated to him.” – D.L. Moody
That takes dreaming, friends! What has the Lord put on your mind this year? To change, or to be, or to start. Spend some time listening for a word or two from Him in this area of resolutions.
I also want you to dare to attempt.
It’s really easy for us to want our kids to do great things for God. But mom, what about you? What amazing things are you going to attempt?
For my fiftieth birthday this last October I actually went and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. And while that’s not for everybody, one of the reasons that I did it is that I want to do hard and daring things so that I can continue to inspire and motivate my children to do hard and challenging things.
We need to attempt because it’s in the attempting and in the dreaming is where we find that we’re daring to fail.
There’s a really great movie called “Meet the Robinsons”, it’s a very unique view on how a family deals with failure. Believe it or not, in this movie the family actually celebrated failure. If we’re going to dare to dream this year and if we’re going to risk and attempt we’re probably going to fail, and how we model failure to our children is going to be really important.
I think often we start cutting back on the things that we want to risk, but I really believe that we have an amazing opportunity to continue to risk, to attempt, to dream, and yes fail. And in all of that, we have the blessed opportunity to navigate failure in a beautiful, God honoring way.
I want to dare you to grow.
Grow in the spiritual roots that are laid out Galatians five. Dare to grow in the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Look at that list! Where are your strengths where are your weaknesses? Would you dare with me this year to grow your weaknesses and your strengths?
I know all this talk of lists and change and growing and daring can be overwhelming. But trust me friends, it’s not meant to be.
Scripture is heavily laden with pointing us to living intentionally.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who believe in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
If you are feeling down and discouraged and even under condemnation from the enemy because of your past failures, scripture clearly says that is not of God. Rather, His grace is sufficient in our weakness. You are free.
It’s hard for me, a recovering perfectionist, to admit that I didn’t get it all done last year. But by the strength of God alone I can face 2017 and write some of the same things I wrote last year and go forward with the strength that comes from God alone. that is what he calls us to.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, do not be dismayed” Joshua 1:4
Go forward in God’s strength and look forward to what He’s going to do through you as you submit to Him and live intentionally.
Write it down one more time, and let’s trust Him to work through the list this year.