As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of the next, I’ve been pondering over what my new year’s resolution will be. And like the rest of the world, I’ve pictured myself with iron sharp abs, a perfectly organized home, a refrigerator stocked with only the healthiest foods, and a prayer life without any missed appointments.
Oh, the pressure!
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to start the new year off with strong goals and big dreams. I mean, how else would we get through the year! So, if you have a new year’s resolution that you’re happy with, keep it.
But I think there is something to be said about the fact that most people fall off their new year’s goals only a few weeks into the year.
We already have so many pressures weighing on us daily. Why add more?
I crave simplicity. I crave less pressure, less stress, and more joy. And you know what else I crave for in 2020? Fewer things to distract me from God.
I believe that God wants us to better ourselves. Of course, I believe that. We should always strive to be better human beings, more Christ-like.
But I think we add pressure to our lives that’s unneeded. Think about how lousy you feel when you give up on your new year’s resolution just a few weeks in. It doesn’t build confidence. Every failed goal digs us deeper into this pit of the “I can’t do this” mentality. Or “I’m not good enough”.
And if you think about it, this is the perfect opportunity for the enemy to get into your head and start telling you lies about who you are and what you’re capable of achieving.
But the Bible tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13). But how do we even start to achieve “all things” with so much weighing on us daily?
By putting God first, that’s how.
I love starting each year off with a clean slate. I get carried away writing out lists of things I want to accomplish by the end of the year. But by the end of that year, I’ve barely scratched the surface of that list.
I think setting goals, and especially achieving them, builds character.
But we must build reasonable, attainable goals. Goals that challenge us, but that we can realistically see ourselves achieving.
Otherwise, we’re setting ourselves up for failure, which is exactly what Satan wants.
And that is not a good place to be in when the enemy is already working so hard to make us fail.
This upcoming year, I do have some goals in various areas of my life. We are always going to have “resolutions”, and it won’t always be at the start of a new year.
However, the Bible says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mathew 6:33, NIV).
In other words, if you put God first, everything else will fall in place. God will help you reach your dreams. God wants to be in our corner. He wants to see us happy and doing great things.
And putting Him above all else is the first step.
So, I challenge all of us for this upcoming year of 2020, to get intentional about God. Don’t just say you’ll get closer to God this year. I’m sure you say that every year. I know I do.
Instead, this year, get a concrete plan in place on how you will build that strong, rock-solid relationship with your heavenly Father.
Make God the ultimate New Year’s Resolution above all your other plans.
Big dreams need to be broken down into bite-sized goals, otherwise, they’re too overwhelming. Everything takes baby steps. And that includes getting closer to God.
No, a relationship with God cannot be reduced to a formula or a simple equation; pray X times a day and get X God points. That is so far from how it works.
Everyone’s “intentional” will look different.
But I’m guilty of spending hours planning out how I’m going to reach that fitness goal, or that health goal, or whatever the goal is. I put together lists and jot down all these ideas and things I’m going to buy to help me reach the goal.
Why not put that same energy into God!
This year let’s have a God resolution. Write down 1 very specific way you plan to invest time to build that relationship with God. Want to pray more? Great! When, where, how often? Plan to read the Bible more? Wonderful! When, where, how often?
Get specific. Keep it simple. Show God you’re serious.
And then remember that God meets us where we are. Every week won’t be perfect. But because of God’s grace, we can wake up and try again the next day.
What is my God resolution for 2020? To truly study the Bible to learn who God is by… following a weekly, in-depth Bible study schedule that I write out at the beginning of each week.
And that’s it. Simple.
Is this my only goal for the entire year? No.
Is this the only way I plan to get closer to God? No. I still plan to pray, and worship, and converse with Him throughout the day.
But, instead of overloading my brain with a list of 20 things to do, I’ve simplified it. Studying God’s word is something that is so important to me, and something that I’ve struggled to stay consistent at over the years.
It’s the area I’d like to invest the most time into, at least until it becomes habit. So, now that I’ve shared my 2020 New Year’s “God” Resolution, what’s yours? How do you plan to put God first in this new year?