Happy New Year.
It’s that time of year again, when people sit and think about different resolutions that they want to set for the year. There are those who want to work on their health, others who want to work on being a better friend, a better parent, getting out of debt, getting a job, getting a different job, growing closer to God. (ALL GREAT THINGS). I use to be one of those people. I would set two or three resolutions, but usually by February I had forgotten what they were and stopped pursuing whatever resolution I had set. This is the time of year that the gyms become overwhelmingly crowded, shopping carts are filled with more fruits than cookies, and people appear to be extremely focused on what they want the new year to hold for them. I use to think I had to set some kind of resolution for myself, but this year I decided not to. This year instead of setting “resolutions” I have decided to just set goals for myself. Things that I want to focus on and work on in 2017.
A resolution according to Google is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”.
A goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”.
For me, I want 2017 to be me aiming for a result or desired result, not necessary a list of things to do and not to do. (I don’t like those kinds of lists). Now don’t get wrong, I do have goals that I would like to work towards this year. My prayer is definitely to grow closer to my Maker and learn as much as possible about who He is. I have goals to lose weight and be more healthy, as well as be more intentional in my relationships with others. My goals are things that throughout the year I want to work towards. You may be asking what’s the difference between a resolution and a goal. To me, I feel like when I would set a resolution it would leave me no room to make a mistake, so if I ate THAT candy bar than my resolution is as good as gone. Goals are things that I want to strive for on a daily basis, but I allow myself grace when I make a mistake.
Goals help me to stay focused and give me healthy boundaries to stay within. For example: if my goal is to grow closer to God throughout 2017- then instead of indulging on Netflix for hours, I make sure to spend time in the Word. If my goal is to be healthier- then my boundary would be to eat more fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. Boundaries and goals are two very important things to focus on when entering into this new year.
If you are one of those people who NEEDS to set resolutions for yourself, then by all means, set away! Just remember to give yourself grace if you slip up. Let me think of an example…..okay: lets say that your resolution is not to eat fast food ALL year, but you end up going with your kids to McDonalds and you splurge and eat a french fry. (it’s not the end of the world). Don’t just throw your resolution away. Don’t go into some outrageous pity party. Don’t start eating fast food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner just because you indulged once. Show yourself grace.
God gives us boundaries throughout Scripture. He allows us to make our own choices, but He also gives us boundaries to stay within for our own well being. I understand not everyone sees it that way (some see it as God restricting us). However, just try to go along with me for a minute. Our God is extremely gracious when it comes to His children. He wants to protect us, provide for us, discipline us when we break His law, and set boundaries for our protection. We are so undeserving of his love and grace, but He provides it.
If you make a mistake, if you slip and fall, my advice to you today is to forgive yourself and keep moving forward towards your goals (and/or resolutions). Ephesians 4:7 “but to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift“.
God’s perfection makes up for all of our failures. Psalms 139:1-2 “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off“. So comforting, right? (I think so) It reminds us that God knows our hearts. That He knows we are going to make mistakes, that we are going to sin against Him, that we are going to make fleshy decisions. But Him knowing that does not change His love for us. Ask for forgiveness, pick yourself up, and keep moving forward to your Heavenly Father. Being forgiven means getting your life back. It means getting your joy back.
God cares about you, so make sure that you are caring about yourself in 2017. So if you want to go along side me- set some goals and strive DAILY to meet them. Work towards being more like Christ, to living a life of abundance. And if you fall down, don’t stay there, pick yourself up and keep going forward.