The practice of new year’s resolutions dates back over 3000 years to the Babylonians, and is still going strong today. When a new year rolls around, millions of people feel an obligation, if not pressure, from society to make a few resolutions, all the while knowing they will probably be unsuccessful in meeting them – again.
If it’s such a vicious cycle, why do we keep participating in this practice year after year? Why do we constantly make resolutions, only to fail the majority of the time? Why do we willingly set ourselves up for disappointment?
The truth is that making resolutions seems to bring hope and possibility for a change in certain areas of our lives that we feel is much needed and wanted. We feel a sense of empowerment about a fresh start and a new beginning. We feel confident in our ability so stand firm in our commitments, and we assure ourselves that our desires will help us persevere through the difficulties to strive to meet our goals ….. that is, until reality sinks in and meeting our goals gets harder and harder, until we reach the point where give up all together.
The definition of insanity is to continue doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results. If this is true, making resolutions every year could potentially make us all insane!
In today’s Proverbs 31 devotion, I invited readers to hop over to my blog to glean some ideas on starting this new year off on the right foot. But my intention is not to give a list of tips that you could most likely find anywhere on the internet, but to encourage you to make this the year that you break the insanity cycle, by focusing on making positive adjustments one little step at a time, rather than listing out life altering resolutions that may never be met.
The definition of resolution is: a solution, accommodation, or settling of a problem, controversy, etc.
The definition of adjustment is: harmony achieved by modification or change of a position
Hmmmm ….. would you rather start out the year thinking about all your problems, flaws and shortcomings and how you might be able to resolve them or improve, or thinking about meaningful things that could benefit from a little tweaking to bring more harmony and joy into your heart and life?
Adjustments and commitments, if given the right focus, can have huge impact on our spiritual and physical well-being all year long, and possibly for the rest of our lives. I love our 1 Timothy 4:8 reminds us what’s really important, by saying “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (NIV)
This verse is not saying we shouldn’t care about our physical state, because 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are God’s temples, and we should treat them accordingly. However, Timothy encourages us to find a balance between making physical goals which affect God’s temple, and spiritual goals which affect our heart for God. Simply put, we should care about our spiritual state above all else, and we should care more about the condition of our heart, than the condition of our thighs.
With this in mind, New Year’s “adjustments” can be determined by simply asking ourselves a few questions about areas of our life that may be in need of an adjustment, and then being honest enough to admit the true answers.
We can consider things such as our attitude, our faith walk, how we treat others, our willingness to forgive, how we handle conflict, and the setting of daily priorities. We can look at how much time we spend with God, and if it pales in comparison to how much time we spend watching television, scrolling through Facebook or hanging out on Pinterest. We can assess whether or not we typically seek God’s wisdom and direction about decisions in our life, or if we typically turn to other people or the internet for advice instead. We can ponder if we trust God when life gets tough, or if we automatically falsely assume that maybe He just doesn’t care about us anymore.
Personal goals are awesome – we all need them and they often drive us to strive for our dreams. But if we set spiritual goals too, our personal goals will eventually fall right in line with God’s will for our lives – and when we are His will, all things are possible.
When we make positive adjustments on the inside and seek God’s advice on new years goals and dreams, the adjustments we desire to see on the outside may become a reality as well.
Inward change always drives outward change, and only God holds the power to true and meaningful change in His holy hands.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (The Message)
So what “adjustments” might God be calling you to make in 2014?