I’m a dreamer. I love setting new goals and finding new ways to grow and improve. New Year’s resolutions have always been right up my alley. Finding ways to tighten up systems, become more efficient, have more time, become physically stronger, and begin to see transformation in my life makes me excited and I love striving for them.
But this year, God has given me something new to dwell in. It’s a new way to approach this new year. Sadly, something I hadn’t really given much thought to before, but knew it needed to be my goal for this year.
I took the last 2 weeks off of work, social media, and blogging to enjoy time with my family during the holidays. And it was so restful. My mind was able to unwind. My shoulders relaxed. I was able to think clearly. I began to revisit my goals from July and process how to tweak them for this next year.
You can click HERE to read all about how I set my goals and why I choose to set them in July rather than January.
As I was listening to everyone share about their resolutions and began thinking about mine, I started to see that so often it feels like we are never doing enough.
It feels as if we are on this treadmill, running and running and running, trying to achieve things that don’t matter in the long run. We always need to be stronger, smarter, cleaner, more efficient, happier, more social.
However, sometimes New Year’s resolutions begin to sound more like, “I don’t workout enough” or “I need to get together with girlfriends for coffee more often” or “I don’t (fill in the blank) enough.” It is hard to go through life, feeling like you are never doing enough. The pressure that comes from resolutions can sometimes be overwhelming and exhausting. Ultimately, leaving you to feel like a failure.
That’s not to say resolutions are bad and we shouldn’t goal set. Because hear me loud and clear, setting goals are one of my favorite things to do. But the problem is they are all inward focused. And there is nothing particularly wrong about that. But if we don’t have any outward focused resolutions, we are incomplete.
This year I felt God giving me a new, New Year’s resolution. A resolution that offered peace instead of perfection.
It was one of those couldn’t-take-notes-fast-enough moments. I didn’t want to forget a word God was speaking to me.
I was reading through Malachi in the Daily Audio Bible and God was upset with His people for not having respect for Him. They had lost the fear of God.
The example Malachi gave to show how they were being so disrespectful to God was that they were sacrificing blemished animals. And it is easy to brush over this part of scripture and not see how it applies to our life. Because well, we don’t sacrifice animals to God anymore. But God is saying ‘You are giving your leftovers to me. You are giving me what you don’t want anymore. You’re just going through the motions and its meaningless.’
It’s such a slap in the face to God when you realize everything we have is because of Him. He asks for our first. God ask for our best in every possible way. We shouldn’t be giving him our leftovers.
That’s when the Lord showed me Psalm 147:11:
“The Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love”
What if that was our New Year’s resolution? To delight the Lord.
What if instead of fearing anything this scary world throws our way; we began to fear the Lord again? What if we begin to sit in His goodness and realize how almighty, strong, powerful, and sovereign he is. What if instead of giving God our leftovers, we gave him our best. Brain Hardin said this as we were entering into the new year and I thought it was too important not to share:
“What if this year we resolved to become in the habit of first paying attention and giving God our best time, so that we could operate and look like Jesus did. We will fail. In our own strength we won’t even get through this first week. It is important that we are aware and humble ourselves before God as we move forward.
We need help from the Holy Spirit. Because here’s the thing, this world will do everything it can to demand every conscious moment. And the moment we start letting go of that nagging of the world, very, very quickly we start feeling like everything is going to pass us by.
And that feels like we’re going to miss out, and it feels like we’re going to become irrelevant, and it feels like it’s going to pass us by.
But God gently says ‘Finally. Finally, you got off that train. Finally, we can enjoy life together. All that other stuff was nothing but smoke in mirrors. That’s not life. That’s running all of your years on a treadmill, trying to achieve something that doesn’t really matter.’ What will matter is that God knew us and we knew him. And we want that deeply.”
Don’t trade your life in, chasing the wind, while missing an intimate and loving relationship with the Most High God.
Can you imagine the life that would come from living a year like this? What if your New Year’s resolution was to delight the Lord? What if every day, we give him our best time first?
What if every day we could spend just a few minutes with God in prayer, worship, learning about His Word?
I think we would be happily surprised with how at peace we would feel. We would begin to feel joy again. When we begin focusing on Jesus, the things of this world will grow dim and we can begin to experience life to the fullest.