Don’t you just love the fresh opportunities of a new year? Me too! Often, the whole last week of December, I set up my new journal for the new year and anticipate the new adventures that I will have with God, my family, my friends, and my dreams.
I do understand that sometimes the sadness of one year can spill into the new year. My sister’s last Christmas with us was in December of 2001. It was early in February of 2002 that her spirit left her body to move to her heavenly home. Our January of that year was heavy and only founded upon surviving our sorrow and heaviness. But barring those difficult seasons in life, often the new year is simply a new chance to start fresh.
But what of New Year’s resolutions? Is there any merit in them? One article tackled this with a short pros and cons list. Pros: 1) Holidays foster the occasion for reflection. Often time spent with family helps us focus on new goals. 2) Some need the time to prepare to attain goals; like buying fresh food or starting an exercise routine. 3) “Deals” are often available at the beginning of a year to help with certain types of resolutions, like joining a weight-management program or buying a gym membership. Cons were offered as: 1) new year’s resolutions often foster procrastination. If something was a good idea, like eating healthier or spending more time with the kids, there is no benefit in putting this off till the second day of January. 2) There is a lot of pressure to create, share, and complete a list of resolutions. This may cause an undue (and often unrealistic) stress to compete with others and not just ourselves. Our motives should be simpler and more focused than that of a competition. 3) A resolution is not always the best motivation. Many stop after a few weeks because the pressure to jump on the band wagon was not based on solid convictions.
So maybe the word “resolution” is simply the wrong vocabulary word. Maybe, instead, I should ask God to do the work in me. He can move me to improve physically; assist in improving me mentally; teach me how to improve socially with family and friends; improve me spiritually through His Word; and improve the needed skills to reach my personal goals. I mean, who knows better how to transform and make things new than God Himself?! Almost His very last promise (after moving back to Planet Earth, wiping away all tears, and removing death, sorrow, and pain) is to make new. Revelation 21:5 says, “Behold (watch, pay attention), I will make all things new…”
He began making things new after the first move of mankind into the shadows back in the Garden. With His Son Jesus, He offered new life through Christ’s death and resurrection. He offers a new heart, and new Companion in the Holy Spirit, and a new future in heaven. God even gives me the opportunity for a new destiny and agenda. So how about it? Can you join me in merely giving God the chance to do the needed work in 2020? Giving Him permission to do what He’s been wanting to do all along? Sounds like not resolving to do my thing, but merely agreeing to get out of the way and to allow God to renew and refresh me, might be the best plan of action.