There’s a lot being said about now about New Year’s resolutions and if/how we should make them. I do think it is good to periodically evaluate your life and see where you need to grow and change, and this takes humility. You have to be honest and willing to admit where you have failed or where you are weak. But we also need to realize that it’s not always enough to just “resolve”. There needs to be true commitment and a plan towards the changes you want to make. And let us echo the words of Elisabeth Elliot below and seek to make our growth into the likeness of Christ our primary goal!
But as we make resolutions or set goals the first step towards change must be prayer. We cannot change apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, at least it won’t be real, long-lasting change. I’ve been thinking and praying over the last week about areas in my life where the Lord is showing me that I need to grow and change and came up with the following four. I have committed to daily praying specifically about each of these and evaluating my progress. To my close friends, as you are able please do pray for me and assuming you are able to offer constructive criticism (see my posts on that maybe if you're not sure!) then you have my permission to ask me about these areas and how I am doing… as Christians we are part of a body for a reason; we need each other.
So, four areas where I need to and want to grow and change this year:
I want to be more focused on the Lord and on the present in my thought life.
I put this one first, because the truth is if you want to change in ANY area, the first thing that needs to change is your thought patterns. But thinking patterns are hard to change and there are limits to practical steps you can take towards change. But I am seeking to try to be more aware of my thinking patterns and be more spiritual minded and focused on the present (as opposed to thinking about things that aren’t relevant or helpful or are distracting or where I’m over-thinking the future that I have no control over). Prayer is going to be crucial here, and I will be seeking to have more of an attitude of prayer.
I want to quit eating sugar and “extra” sides or snacks.
Oh boy. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to do this and failed or not lasted very long. Quite honestly, I am not strong enough which shows me even more that I need to press towards growth and change in this area. On the other hand, there have been times where I have been successful so I know that it IS possible – especially since I have the Holy Spirit and a new nature within me that enables me to resist temptation! But this is a difficult area for me because I have SUCH a sweet tooth and it’s hard for me to resist things that I like. It can be small like a piece of bread with dinner or snacking on nuts when I’m not hungry. Or it can be bigger like wanting some ice cream or chocolate. Also, how often do we eat just to be social when we really don’t need to and it’s not really helpful to our bodies?
So… (here it goes, Lord help me!) I will be seeking to not eat sugar and avoid unnecessary snacks and “sides”. But to be realistic sugar is in almost everything so it’s acceptable to have things like salad dressing or if it’s in something that I can’t really help.
I want to become more grace-filled in my speech.
To put it negatively, I want to be less negative and critical in my speech (and my thoughts too). Most people that know me probably would say that I don’t have a problem with this at all, but still the Lord has convicted me about this. I do find myself being critical of others and I desire to grow in graciousness and love towards others.
I want to spend less time with social media/entertainment.
It can be super easy to take a break from school work and “just check Facebook” or watch a movie. This easily becomes a bad habit and a big time waster. To put this positively, I want to pray more and read more. This is also a matter of self-control and saying no to something I want to do at a given moment. This will be a difficult one as well, but it’s an area I do want to work on.
Specific goals in this area are that I will seek to at most, watch 1 movie per week and that only on Friday/Saturday (although exceptions may be made if I’m with friends/family). In regards to limiting my time on Facebook, I’m still not sure how to best do this so that it will be most effective for me. I probably need to get a timer to keep track of my time. Also, I will seek to not be on at all in the morning hours.
I decided also to pick a verse for the year, Psalm 19:14: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD my strength and my Redeemer."
Thanks for reading my blog this year... I don't really know who all does, but I wish you all a very happy and blessed year ahead!