A Different Approach to Resolutions

We’re a week into the new year, and I’m finding myself challenged by my new year’s resolutions.  That’s pretty typical for me.  I start out all gung-ho, with a list of resolutions I am sure I can do, and a week in, my dedication starts to falter.

But, this year is different, in one key way: how I decided what changes I want to make.  Usually, I consult the scale (ugh!), or my favorite pair of jeans, and resolve to lose (the same) twenty pounds, to exercise more faithfully, and to eat more healthy foods.

And while those are all good goals (losing weight, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods), and I’m doing what I can to incorporate them into my life, I chose not to raise these goals to “resolution-level” this year.  Because, for the first time, I didn’t choose my New Year’s Resolutions; God did.  This year, I prayed for guidance about the changes I needed to make.  I prayed to know His will, not my own.

The answer was surprising to me.  Instead of focusing on my body and health, I learned that God wanted me to focus on these goals instead:

1)  Keep work in its place; and

2)  Stop taking myself so seriously.

The more I prayed about this message, the more clear the answer was.  These are the areas in my life needing the most attention from me.  These are the things that lead me away from God and into sin over and over again.  Does God care about my physical health?  Absolutely.  But, He cares so much more about my spiritual health.  And that is why He chose these two areas as my areas of focus this year.

In my typical type-A style, I embraced these resolutions and made a plan to keep work in its place.  I set up some triggers to remind myself to relax and not take everything (especially me) so seriously.

It all worked swimmingly for a few days.  And then, today hit.  I had a meeting which used up half the hours I’d allotted for work.  The remaining work could not be completed in the time allotted.  As I drove to pick up my kids from their morning activities, I planned how best to get the rest of the work done.  I can just cram it in here… or there… or tonight.

And then I remembered.  Keep work in its place.  The work didn’t get done this morning.  I will never get all of it done.  It’s a job with no actual completion.  But, if I cram it in here and there, I am not keeping it in its place, but letting it take over again.

So, I struggled with my serious personality, with my internal perfectionistic pull to complete the incomplete work.  And, I asked God for help.  After all, these are His resolutions for me.

In the end, I played Slap Jack and War with my seven year old, and looked at some American Girl magazine projects with my eight year old until it was time to go pick up my ten year old.

My job didn’t get done, but my vocation did.

Maybe that is the point of God’s resolutions.

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