Christmas has come and gone. The celebrations would have somewhat settled down. While some of us may still be soaking in the wonders of the season (or what's left of it), others like me have pulled out our faithful little notebooks (and gadgets!) to start penning down resolutions. I don't think I would call myself a full on New Year's resolution kind of person, but I sure like to see a checklist or have some ideas of what I would like accomplished in the next year.
A one day resolution
Like everyone else, usually by the end of January, I would be rushing through the days and may not even remember what all my well intentioned resolutions were. Instead of it being a one day resolution or a month resolution, I have decided to call mine the “All Year Resolutions”. It is okay to show grace to yourself when you reach June 2020, and have only ticked one thing of your checklist. It is never too late or too early to jump back on the wagon.
It's so easy to write down personal goals. I want to lose weight. I want to write a book. I want to travel the world. But I wonder if we ever thought about our spiritual resolutions as we approach each new year.
I saw an image on Pinterest a few years ago with a caption that really challenged me: "A brand New Year! 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes. How will you use them to serve the Lord?" It made me rethink priorities and focus on what is eternal. Goals are great and there's nothing wrong with living our best life here on earth. However, only resolutions with eternity in mind withstand the test of time and ultimately death.
1 Corinthians chapter 9, verses 24-27 says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
Why and how we run a race is as important as reaching for the goal. Daniel Wallen, in his article, "Top 10 Reasons Why New Year's Resolutions Fail", mentioned that one of the reasons for failure is treating resolutions as a sprint rather than a marathon.
We always hear about dreaming BIG. There's something exciting about having a huge goal and hitting it. Realistically though, the chances of reaching that big goal as the busyness of the year creep in is really small. Not impossible for the strong willed, but if you're anything like me and already have about 287364 things on your plate, dreaming small might be the answer.
Spiritual resolutions does not have to be lofty or fancy. Let this verse be an encouragement for you: "And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.” (Matthew chapter 10, verse 42) Isn't it wonderful that our good Lord sees even the smallest act of kindness and love as a service unto Him?
Your small resolutions are as important as the big resolutions. Set aside 5 minutes a day to pray for someone in your life, commit to sending an encouraging message to someone every week, or make a meal once a month for a family in need are little things you can do. Don't be discouraged and think you have to be leading a ministry or preaching at least one sermon from a pulpit by the end of next year. Again, nothing wrong with that if God has placed that in your heart, and pushing you in those directions.
Just remember - we live for the applause of only One.
Happy New Year and have a fun time writing your “All Year Resolutions”!