Now that January is over and resolutions are in full swing, I thought I would share my new perspectives on resolutions, what they used to mean to me and how changing my approach has restored my mindset about them.
I love the prospect of a New Year. Just the word “new” lends itself to something unique and unseen, a fresh start of something old, or an unexpected or striking quality that is generally pleasing. Thinking ahead in those terms is what inspires me to put my best foot forward into the upcoming year. In the past, resolutions looked more like broken promises so I began to avoid making them. Setting goals, long and short term, is what I find to be more effective because it allows me to reflect on where I fell short and build a plan to succeed from there. But even with those practices I was still lacking what was needed to consistently bring my best year after year. Having goals that allow me to keep growing in all areas instead of setting rigid ones that might never be met are better for me. But how do I get there? Declaring that I will go to the gym 5 days a week this year in an effort to stay in shape is unrealistic because I know I can’t control everyday situations and quite frankly, I don't want to workout everyday. So this year I decided to restore my resolutions and goals and render them to someone else. God.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Psalm 51:12 (NIV)
Wisdom in the Waiting
Resolutions require us to take action but what if the action is just a simple pause. Being a self- proclaimed impatient person, sometimes I act too quickly on things, causing me to repeatedly fail. Taking a step back to see what other people’s needs are first, is where I’ve found wisdom in the waiting. Pausing on a scheduled workout time to meet with a friend or relative who needs it, helps keep me other-centered instead of self-centered. Interrupting my chosen goals for others sometimes isn’t easy for me and most times isn’t an instinctual thing to do. However, what if I resolve to push pause on my goals and gain some patience and perspective on God’s goals for me in the new year? Pausing allows me to see better, listen better and speak better. If I cling to those goals for the new year I will always have success. And even if I stumble, His grace will carry me to the next opportunity for a victory.
If my actions reflect His heart, it will allow other’s to draw closer to Him this year through me, not because of me. Reminding myself that I’m still a student of His perfect teachings, makes more sense for me to follow His lead and goals for my future, instead of my own.
A Pleasing Pause
Being seen but not always heard can be a challenge for me. It’s not because I think I have something better to say but rather sometimes as conversations forge on, I tend to get so engrossed in what’s being said that the words I wanted to say in that moment escape me, and so to avoid that, I am prone to interject, even if it is not required or requested. What I’ve come to realize is that maybe there is a reason that God wants my words to escape me at times! Maybe that’s His way of helping me pause and just take on a role as a listener instead of an advisor. Sometimes I’m not always quick to pick up on God’s subtle ways to keep me quiet and humble, that’s why a pleasing pause can be necessary.
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11 (NIV)
Taking Note instead of Action
When I am just observing, it allows people to share things that God wants me to see and hear. Just when I begin to think I am being there for someone else, I realize God placed me here for a reason. Most times to learn; Compassion. Understanding. Love. Making an effort to pause and take note, rather than action, is what allows my attention to be captured and gives me the opportunity to seek the value in what is being done or said. Being mindful of God’s presence in my own goals helps me define what next steps are needed to take place so I can achieve them. Reacting without His guidance is risky and most times doesn’t produce the same favorable results for me. Too many times I've left a situation regretting my actions. Kicking off the new year with with an awareness for others will lead me on His path where I hope to flourish in my own growth and grace.
What if 2019 resulted in a year where people saw me differently? Not on the outside, but the inside. What if my God-driven goals showcased a change in me that was unrecognizable last year? Not only to me, but others as well. I’m always drawn to people who champion qualities that I struggle with:
Patience. Mercy. Humility.
Normally, those people are deeply rooted in the Word of God. They reveal a sense of peace that is contagious to be around, and exude grace in all things. They showcase His words in an unspoken manner like a beautiful emblem. It is that person that I strive to be. That goal that I want to meet. It may take years or decades to accomplish, but for me, it’s a resolution worth pursuing, this year and every year.
“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)
If you are also looking to restore your resolutions for the new year, consider pausing and praying for God’s guidance. It is in the stillness that we find clarity and hear His voice over our own. His counsel will provide the foundation and reveal His priorities for us in the upcoming year.