I’ve never been very good at making resolutions or setting goals, of any sort, really. I mean, I’ve made fitness goals in the short-term, followed training plans, and managed to keep up with diet goals for a few weeks at a time. As a student, I set goals for grades per semester and usually managed to achieve them. But as far as general life goals, New Year’s Resolutions, or the like, I don’t even bother to set them. It’s scary to me, to put a date on the calendar and pretend to think I’ll have somehow changed for the better by then, of only my own accord. So typically on this day every year, I’ve done nothing in the way of thinking “How am I going to better myself this year?”
However, yesterday morning at church, my pastor and his wife had had a word about “resolutions” and planning out the year. They talked of striving, working towards something on your own, and creating realistic OR unrealistic goals for yourself, to simply do my your own power. (They had me right there with them – why would I do that?! Hence my lack of goals.) Then, they asked for a shift in perspective. What if we, people used to striving and doing things on our own, working our way up from the bottom and pulling ourselves through trials by our own meager strength, were to ask God a simple question: God, how do you want to use me in 2018?
Boom. Mic drop. Brain explosion.
Instead of vaguely saying, “I’m gonna lose weight this year!” or “I want a new job this year!” or “I’m gonna find my future spouse this year!” we sought out the Lord’s will for us? Jeremiah 29:11 is a well-known verse, but let’s revisit it: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (ESV) What if, for 2018, we allow the Lord to reveal those plans for welfare one step at a time? What if, for the next 365 days, we allow Jesus for be our hope for the future?
You see, we can lean on the promises of God to fulfill us in this new year. He promises He will fight for us (Exodus 14:14). He give strength and power to the weak and weary (Isaiah 40:29). He promises that rivers won’t sweep us away, and fires won’t set us ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2) He empowers us to be strong and courageous, for He is with us anywhere we go. (Joshua 1:9) These are the promises of a loving and mighty God, who wishes to use us as His conduits in a hurting and broken world.
So perhaps this year is the year that instead of making resolutions to force ourselves to be more like we think we should be, we look to God to help us become more of who He created us to be, indeed, more of who we already are:
God, take up deeper residence in my heart in 2018.
God, help me to rely on you more in 2018.
God, help me to seek your will in 2018.
God, help me to follow your lead in 2018.
God, let me be an example to lead other people to you in 2018.
God, be my security, my hope, and my passion in 2018.
God, I give YOU all the glory in 2018!