If you’re anything like me, you may have spent these last days of 2017 thinking over the past year: what went right, what could have gone better, and how you hope to spend the gift of another year here on earth. I absolutely love New Years because it feels so fresh and full of possibility – a new start.
If you’re REALLY like me, maybe you find yourself making the same resolutions over and over every year. You might be disappointed in yourself because you find you make the same mistakes, push the same goals aside, and continue to trust in yourself to make these changes rather than our God, who is the only one who can bring true change to our longing hearts.
I am a completely different person than I was five years ago. In all reality, I’m a different person than I was a year and two years ago. The beautiful thing is that what changed me is Jesus – He has never stopped perusing or chasing me, even when I turn my back to Him time and time again. The changes in my heart, attitude, and beliefs didn’t come from me, and they certainly didn’t come from a New Year’s Resolution.
2nd Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
How sweet it is that we have a savior who molds and changes us and makes us new. He takes our sinful hearts and turns them into something beautiful – a heart that is more like Jesus.
No matter how many times I tell myself these truths, I still catch myself falling into a trap of perusing perfection apart from the Lord. I tell myself I’m not good enough, that I have to change certain things about myself in order to become better, and all that does is lead to shame and discontentment. I find myself thinking about the same resolutions every year – and so many of them don’t point to Jesus and what His plan is for my life. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having goals of getting into shape or keeping your house spick and span, but if you are perusing these things apart from the Lord, they will always disappoint.
What if we changed the way we looked at these resolutions? What if instead of earthly goals, we focused on the eternal impact they have?
Most importantly, what if we spent time in prayer, focusing on what the Lord has planned for our life and what He wants to do to make changes in us to better serve the Kingdom? When you begin to look for the Lord’s will in every situation, things change. He will never put us to shame if we trust in Him and seek His guidance in everything.
Maybe you’ll find that your resolutions are the same, but when they become kingdom focused instead of me focused they look so different, and the Lord gives you strength to make real change in you throughout the year. If my goal is to keep my house clean to impress others, I’m going to fall on my face so quickly and never feel good enough. If my goal is to keep my house clean so that it will be a warm space for fellowship, a space ready for a pop in from a friend who is going through a hard time or needs an impromptu celebration of something the Lord had done in their life, I want my home to be a space for that. I want Jesus to be the center of my home, my heart, and my resolutions.
My prayer for you is that you’ll spend 2018 seeking the Lord in all things, trusting in His wisdom to change and guide you, and seeking His will instead of seeking perfection through your own works. Happy New Year!