I resolve to _____________. You fill in the blank. Can’t decide? I’ll make it an easy multiple choice for you:
- Lose weight
- Start exercising at least 4 times a week
- Have a weekly date night with my spouse
- Start a weekly chore chart for my kids that we’ll stick to this time
- Organize the basement
- Cut down on social media
- Get my finances under control
- Volunteer/do charity work
- Finally learn how to adjust to a world with COVID
We all have so many ambitions, dreams and expectations for our lives and the lives of those we love. And, for some reason, we decide that if we just resolve on January 1st to make them happen, they will. That almost never happens, but there’s hope for you and the future that God has planned for you and for me.
TRADITIONS, setbacks & HOPE
Some say that the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to the ancient Babylonians 4,000 years ago. Some say they started during the reign of Julius Caesar, dictator of Rome from 49 BC to 44 BC. Others say modern New Year’s resolutions started in the early Christian church in an attempt to turn attention away from the raucous celebrations normally held to ring in the new year. Any way you slice it, we humans have been making resolutions for thousands of years. But why? Why would we make resolutions when we have thousands of years of data showing us that resolutions are a waste of time? I can sum that up in one word.
We so want to improve our lives and the lives of those around us that we’ll grab on to anything that can give us hope. A New Year’s resolution. A gym membership discount. Enrolling in an online financial management course. A subscription to a new weight loss fad.
I can’t tell you how much exercise and gym equipment I have in my basement collecting dust. At one point, I had a NordicTrack in my basement. I used it for a while. Then, just as you would expect, it turned into a drying rack for clothes fresh out of the washer. When I got divorced, I left it with my ex-husband because I couldn’t stand the continued daily reminder of my NordicTrack failure. So, I turned to kickboxing. I do truly love kickboxing—honestly, it’s so fun to kick things. I joined a gym and was working out with a friend. Then the gym closed, and the friend stopped. So, I stopped. Does any of this sound familiar?
So, I kept trying. The next gym, diet program, magical, guaranteed-to-work chore chart for my daughter. Why? Hope. Hope that I’ll get it right next time.
put your hope in Jesus
Make this year a great one, not simply by making resolutions, but by putting your hope in Jesus and taking steps to get in a relationship with Him. You can do that by joining a Bible Study Group, Life Group, or Social Group at Shepherd’s Gate where a loving community of adults will walk alongside you through life’s ups & downs. I have tribe of friends at Shepherd’s Gate that I know will be there for me anytime—to pray with me or simply meet up for a cup of coffee. My Life Group is like family. We laugh together, cry together, eat together, pray together. We do life together. When I need help, they are there before I even ask. They help me to remember to place my trust and hope in Christ. That’s where I’ve got something to hold on to. (Romans 15:13) God’s promises are true and trustworthy. If I know anything about Him, it’s that He’s faithful; never failing.
Do I get it right all the time? Absolutely not. I still try to resolve to do so many things on my own. But, when I step outside of myself and focus on Christ, I make progress. I’m not implying that a simple trust in God is going to change you overnight. I’m still overweight and out of shape and the chores are still not organized in my house. But I know that when I turn to Christ for strength and put my hope in Him, I will walk the extra block or two with my dog and pay attention to the food I put in my mouth and those little actions turn into much bigger ones. It may seem like baby steps but that beats New Year’s Resolutions every time.