January is fast approaching, and you know what that means – time to dust off the old resolution list or make a new one.
But before you groan and complain like I used to and roll your eyes as if to say “Oh, brother, here we go again,” I want you to rethink your life for just a moment.
If you are like me, you get sick of hearing the same goals repeated year after year, whether that’s your list, that same list from a family member, or the media’s irritating list of must-dos. It starts to resemble that movie Groundhog Day – you wake up each year to the same annoying drone. It goes something like this: lose weight, eat better, spend more time with the family, balance the checkbook, and the like.
I am squirming in my seat already, expecting the same results of working really hard in the beginning only to plummet before the middle of the year. I absolutely used to chafe at the thought of having to have even just one goal in mind for the upcoming year. I dreaded the idea, feeling like failure was imminent. So I wouldn’t plan on principle.
But that’s before I got the point. Making a resolution is not about failing. It’s about resetting your compass. It’s about recognizing a direction and proceeding forth on that path, believing that God has great things in store. It’s about the other side of discipline – seeing the rewarding things that we can accomplish through Christ when we partner in this life journey with Him. That gets me jazzed!
See, before it was all about self effort. And, ultimately, we just can’t accomplish a lot when it’s all up to us. It’s toil, toil, toil. Who needs it? But if we make God the head of that equation, we can do all things!
Instead of penning those same tiresome ideas, why not spend a day or two – even a month – and consecrate that time to hearing from the Lord? What is on God’s heart for you to do this coming year? You might be surprised and excited to discover what God has in store when you sit before His feet and beseech Him. And don’t be afraid to be specific, either. It helps you get from that big, pie-in-the-sky goal to the daily working it out process.
And another thing: Don’t get too stressed out about this process. God might not present that full checklist for you beginning January 1. I can pretty much say with much assurance that He won’t because He wants you to trust Him daily for that plan. Don’t force the issue if you aren’t getting clear direction. Simply jot down those ideas that come to mind, those things that are tugging at your heart.
What I have done the last couple of years is pray near the end of the year for guidance and direction for future plans. Then I write my desires, dreams, and goals in my prayer journal. I take one page and make a list, in no specific order. Then I pray over that. I return to it at several points during the year and add to or change that list. It’s not a one time deal for me.
I begin to make plans based on those items that keep coming to mind. As an opportunity presents itself that is related to a goal, I consider that prayerfully. If it is according to God’s will as mapped out in the Bible and I sense His peace, then I will go ahead, always being aware that God might want to do things differently or wait until another time.
It’s amazing when I have looked back over even just the past couple of years and reread my lists just how much of those items I have accomplished through God’s grace and how even some of those goals were more prophetic in nature than I realized. It’s a testimony of God being at work within me through the Holy Spirit.
So, don’t be afraid to put ink to paper as you seek God’s face. His blessings are in store!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“Write down the revelation and make it plain …” (Habakkuk 2:2).