It’s fair to say that if there was one blanket statement that covered all your resolutions it would be, “I hope this is a good year?” Who wouldn’t want a ‘good’ year, especially if you’re comparing it to a ‘bad’ year.
The top five area’s of our life that get addressed (or should get addressed) are our Health, Finances, Relationships, Spirituality/Faith, Impact. We might say things like: I want to eat less, I want to spend less, I want to solve more relational conflicts, I want to grow spiritually, and I want to make a greater impact in the world. Why are these ones the biggies? Because they really do effect who we are and who we are becoming.
You’ll notice pretty soon into each new year that people give up on their resolutions fairly quickly: the Gym sees you less, the diet isn’t as strict, the budget isn’t clean, the bible gets dusty, and it’s only January 9th. Maybe it’s because we don’t start with December in mind. I mean, if we started our planning thinking about how we want to feel or look in December, or how much money we want saved, or what kind of Jesus follower we want to be, we might make more wise decisions. Saying that, the best way to get to where we’re going is to start in the right spot, get on the right train, pick the proper route.
This is why days like January 1st, September 1st and Birthdays can be so key. They give us a chance to reprioritize, reorganize, create new and healthier habits, declutter, etc.
Paul’s words from Philippians 3 are very helpful here. Paul is writing to friends, encouraging them, challenging them, and teaching them how to better followers of Jesus. It’s interesting that the words he uses are clever, wise, strategic and very thoughtful, especially when it comes to helping us figure out what direction our lives can and should be headed. As you read it, notice the words that pop up…
For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us…But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.
Paul is clear and intentional. He chooses who we wants to know (Christ), and what knowing him will lead to (resurrection). He is focused, determined, pressing towards a goal. He knows how to balance letting go and holding on in a way that helps him move forward and become who God is calling him to be. Then he invites his friends to follow a pattern, his pattern, knowing that if they do, they to will experience something similar, Jesus and his resurrection life.
May we be people who move from intentions to plans to patterns. May we make thoughtful and strategic choices today, knowing they will lead us to where we want to be tomorrow (where God wants us to be). May we take advantage of certain seasons throughout the year (New Years, September, Birthdays, Lent, Advent, Spring, etc.) to take stock of where we’re at and if there’s any realignment necessary to get to where we’re headed. May we never think that we can do it alone, but with God and in community. And finally, may God’s spirit in us, the spirit of Jesus, effect the way we view and handle our health, our finances, our relationships, and of course our faith, so that we can be people who impact the world around us in meaningful and restorative ways.
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We shared two other things on Sunday that we hope were helpful. One was a video (at the top of the talk) and the other were 5 reasons our resolutions often fail (at the end of the talk). The video can be found HERE. The 5 reason are below & in full HERE. (borrowed from Carey Nieuwhof)
- Your Resolutions Are Essentially Intentions
– strategy is key / make a plan
- Your Priorities Keep Being Hijacked
– only you can control this
- You Added, But Never Subtracted
– if everything is important, nothing is important
- You Didn’t Address Your Patterns
– patterns can help or hurt us, choose wisely
- You Left Your Calendar Out Of The Equation
– what fills up the squares on your calendar?