9 Jan 2017
I love new starts. 2016 was a tough year for me, so getting a whole new number on the end of the date feels like a fresh beginning, a clean white page to start writing on. But what should my position be on New Year’s resolutions? As a Christian? As a task-orientated achiever? As a tired, working Mum who’s not my ideal healthy weight? It’s so easy to be black and white about goals in January, that smudge in February, turn murky grey in March, and then fade away completely long before winter kicks in.
Yet we serve a God who is big on fresh starts and second chances. God in his great wisdom designed the seasons of our world with immeasurable opportunities to restart. We wake up each morning to a brand-new day with the chance to do life differently than we did it the day before. But we don’t even have to wait for a new day to do a restart. God can redeem our days, our hours, and even our minutes! Many years ago, I was challenged by a Christian speaker that there is no such thing as a bad day. Of course bad things happen, sometimes to us, and sometimes because of us, but bad things never need to define our day. There is nothing that can happen in our day that’s beyond God’s capacity for redemption. The minute we decide that we are having a bad day, we are allowing the devil to rob us of the hope and expectation of what God can yet do with our day.
My own life story is one of rescue from a path towards self-destruction. I had a heart and soul makeover that trumps anything you’ll see on reality TV. That was 25 years ago, and what God did in my life back then was bought for me at great cost. The precious blood of Jesus. That fresh start that was for life, and nothing and no-one can take that away from me.
So I say, let’s do it! Let’s make some great New Year’s Resolutions. Sure, we may not perfectly keep them, but you know what? Even if we drop the ball for a day, a week or a month, we can pick that ball up again. Not through striving, which either brings pride in achievement or condemnation in failure. We take on new goals asking God for His strength, help and direction. And when we fail, we talk to God honestly, we ask for forgiveness, and then we restart. Just because we falter, does not mean we can’t finish.
I am taking on three Resolutions for 2017.
- Giving God Credit. I am determining to acknowledge God’s actions in my everyday life, in my everyday conversations. It might be as simple as “wow, look what God just did with the sky!”
- Investing Encouragement. I would like to walk away from my interactions with others having deposited some encouragement. In 2017 I want to add words into my conversations and invest in people’s lives.
- Partnering with a Missionary. I am going to seek to build a prayer partnership with a missionary of my gender, so that I can communicate and pray for her regularly in a more personal way.
What about you? What can you resolve to do in 2017 that will honour God, be a blessing to others, and move you forward in being a disciple of Christ? Think about it. Pray about it. Write your resolutions down. Pin them up somewhere where you’ll see them every day. Then all you have to do is start.