A different new year
We're officially three weeks into January and what seemed like such a fresh, crisp start to the year now feels like mishmash of long, monotonous days. I'm losing motivation and excitement. Ontario's in lockdown mode again and we're experiencing some really cold days (even for Canada!). The pandemic is really weighing on me now, differently than it did in the past.
I think this year is the fastest I've lost my New Years resolve. My whole life, I've loved New Years because it makes me feel clean. I love listing out resolutions, goals, habits, intentions - whatever you want to call it! - and feeling like I can. The past is behind me, and there's a new me waiting for me out there... am I right!? But this year - only three weeks into 2022 - I feel like I've lost the will to do anything good and productive. I don't feel depressed or in despair... I just feel muddy.
As a Christian, we're called to run a race, to work diligently, and to have an aim. I believe God wants us to set goals and to have ambitions (think about all the Proverbs talking about the sluggard or the fool!). And yet, there's such a clear distinction between godly ambition and selfish ambition. At the core of the gospel is an understanding that we cannot save ourselves. So how do I make godly resolutions?
What does the Bible say?
I did some reading and turns out 2 Thessalonians 1:11 has a lot to say about New Years Resolutions. Read with me:
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
Paul wrote this to the church Thessalonica, praying that God would be the one to make them worthy of His calling. That God would be the one to fulfill every resolve for good.
This shifts our perspective, doesn't it? It means that ultimately, God will be the one to fulfill our resolves and turn them into works of faith. It's by His power, not ours. And by trusting in God's power and partnership, He will be glorified. This year, rather than relying on my accountability groups or habit trackers, I want to pray and walk with God through my resolutions. We can trust in His power while also working hard towards our goals.
This 2 Thessalonians verse also shows us that God wants to make us worthy of His calling. In Ephesians 4, Paul urges us to "live lives worthy of the calling you have received." And so our resolutions as Christians need to be in line with this calling. He wants to sanctify us. I reconsidered my resolutions and searched my heart for why I was setting these goals. Yes, I want to eat less meat. Yes, I want to design more greeting cards. These are fine goals, but I think it was important for me to remember the bigger picture of why I was committing to these and how I could glorify God through it. (And remember - God cares about your health, the planet, your work, your relationships, your dreams. He cares.)
This year, I want to actively commit my resolutions to God. I want to trust that He will turn my resolves to works of faith. And my hope is that this feeling of "newness" won't be limited to just Januarys. God's mercies are new every morning, and He already knows my shortcomings. I want to stop thinking my resolutions are "all or nothing" and start being open-handed with them. And if God convicts me to set a new resolve in August, so be it! Our lives are a series of fresh slates in Christ, so we can be open to hear and change at any time of the year. He's transforming us from one degree of glory to another.
This was a bit of a ramble but like the title suggests, these are just some of my thoughts on making New Year's resolutions. I know others who set "intentions" or a word for the year. Whatever works for you! I personally love setting actionable and measurable goals (lol remember when I was in consulting?!) - it's just how I'm wired. I hope this is encouraging to you as you grow big goals and dreams!