According to recent statistics about 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. Many of those same people rarely keep those resolutions longer than a few weeks. I stopped making resolutions many years ago because like most people, my resolutions barely lasted through the first month. Most of my resolutions year after year had to do with weight loss (big surprise there).
The thing with resolutions is that if you fail to meet them at the end of the year – you tend to feel like a bit of a failure. Since I’m not at my perfect weight and haven’t been for several years, I’ve found myself feeling like a big fat failure at year’s end as a result of all those unsuccessful resolutions.
I discovered however, that if I don’t at least set some sort of goals for the year – I end up feeling like a failure just the same.
It doesn’t take very long to realize that when we resolve to change something about ourselves, we’re usually trying to bring about that change within our own strength and therein lays the problem. Few of us possess the willpower, ability or wherewithal to change anything on our own. It’s that whole flesh versus the spirit dichotomy. We typically need outside help; and yes, while Weight Watchers® or Jenny Craig® can go a long way in helping us remove unwanted weight, when it comes to making lasting life-long lifestyle changes, what we really need is a Savior. REAL CHANGE needs the Lord Jesus Christ.
Last week on New Year’s Day I went for a long and grueling bicycle ride. I found myself pondering the upcoming year and what changes or goals I needed to adopt in 2014. Along a particularly desolate stretch of desert on the bike trail I took notice of all the wild and overgrown vegetation and trees. Even in the shrubs I managed to see little God clues pointing me towards this year’s goal.
Somehow I could hear God speaking to me that without goals in my life I could easily become like the wild overgrown trees. Oh, they may look like they’re sprouting and maturing, but there’s no order to their growth. Without proper pruning trees can start sprouting all kinds of little “sucker” shoots or branches, which may be cute in the early stages, but eventually those “suckers” deprive the tree trunk and roots of the nutrients needed to mature and flourish.
As I neared the end of my 25-mile ride I coasted down my neighborhood street and noticed the trees lining my street – with one startling difference. The trees on my street were well manicured and orderly; a result of regular pruning.
Even though the trees on my street are subjected to frequent trimming, the trees are fully mature and thriving. They still retain some of their wildness in the fact that the trunks and branches still grow in the direction that best suits them; however, the pruning maintains order and symmetry on the neighborhood street.
God has been telling me that in order for me to fully mature in my walk with Him, I need to prune some of the commitments and activities out of my life this year that are sucking the life and energy out of me. About six weeks ago I began to hear God speaking to me that what He requires of me is to trust Him more this year and seek Him for all my needs. Rather than fretting about my career or looking for a job or ministry to fill this longing in my heart He is saying – seek Me first and trust Me for your future.
Granted – it’s not exactly a miracle cure to find myself this year or a clear-cut resolution that will allow me to get out of debt or erase unwanted weight in 2014. I do believe though, that trusting God and seeking more of Him in my life is a goal that will leave me full and satisfied over the next year rather than causing me to feel like a failure yet again at year’s end. This year I resolve to be full … how about you?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
Happy New Year and as always … happy reading!