I usually don’t make new year’s resolutions. And it certainly is not because I don’t need to change things about myself! 🙂 It’s notoriously difficult to make these resolutions stick, and January doesn’t tend to be my most chipper time of year. After Christmas is over, I feel a little let down, and it’s hard to crack the whip on myself in this tender state. So I show myself some mercy, and I work toward making changes over time.
I think it’s really important to prioritize when it comes to making any resolutions, on Jan. 1 or at any date of the year. You can’t do it all, so put what you really want to change first on the list. Changing habits is hard work. Even small changes can affect your whole schedule, and you have to give yourself some leeway in other areas to make way for something new.
My priorities for this year are to read my Bible faithfully and regularly, to trust God more, and to resume regular exercise!!
Reading the Bible on a regular basis is not a given when you are a Christian. There is always something else to be done, other tasks to perform, or just a need to relax and do nothing for a while. It can be difficult to stay faithful to reading the Bible, because it requires time and attention. A lot of people use their smart phones to download the Bible, so they can read it any time they have a moment. You can also buy the Bible on CDs that you can listen while you drive. I don’t have either of these, so I do it the old-fashioned way. And I can tell you that when I do make the time to read the Bible, I am strengthened and helped.
We get to know God by reading the Bible. Even if we are reading something we don’t understand, the Holy Spirit is building us up and giving us wisdom. You may not be able to feel this happening, but it is. Don’t give up on reading the Bible because you don’t understand everything you read. Persist!! You don’t have to understand it all, you just have to let God do His work in you and be willing to hear from Him. Carve out time to read your Bible and you will see the changes over time. You will be less anxious about things you can’t control. You will see God in other people and in your circumstances. You will start to let your guard down, and the Holy Spirit will teach you how to trust God more.
Trusting God means that you believe He loves you and that you can rely on Him at all times. It can be hard to relax and not try to do everything yourself. But God wants you to fall backwards into His arms without looking to make sure He’s there. 🙂
When I make God a priority, there is a better rhythm to my life. I feel more at ease and less afraid of the future. I hear God’s voice much more clearly, and He gives me His confidence to get through the days. Don’t deprive yourself of the nourishment that comes from reading the Bible!
Talk to God (pray) about everything that concerns you. Don’t leave Him out of anything. He already knows about all of it, so there is no need for embarassment or hesitation. Do you need God’s help for an addiction? It’s no secret to God, and He wants to help you with it. Do you need God’s help to cope with emotions you can’t control? Fire away! Do you need God’s help to improve your marriage? Ask Him! He has seen it all and heard it all. You don’t have to pretend with God. You don’t have to project an image. God is happy to hear from the “real” you, and He will accept and love you no matter what your struggles are!
Exercise always seems to make everyone’s short list of goals. I (mostly) exercised regularly in 2012, and I was surprised to find that it DID make me feel better emotionally, and it DID help with energy. The many benefits of exercise are always touted, but it is difficult to start exercising. I think that it’s among the toughest changes to get started with, but you will gain momentum by pushing through with the help of God. Pray about it. Ask God for motivation. Ask Him for energy. Trust Him to help you make important changes that you haven’t been able to do on your own. Let Him help you every day, don’t try to go it alone, and remember that you are valuable to God just as you are today. You are a work in progress. And if you don’t keep your new year’s resolutions, you are in good company. 🙂