New Year’s Day is a perfectly fine and logical occasion for taking a self-inventory and setting some goals—if you have time between shopping the sales.
But it’s easy to exaggerate the importance of January 1 as The time to make a fresh start. For me, setting New Year’s resolutions led to thinking of the whole year as one single unit of time. When I relapsed on a habit in February or got hopelessly behind in my reading during April, I’d tell myself, “I blew it!”—and give up for the rest of the year.
“There’s always next January,” I’d say.
I thought about this the last week of December, during my Bible reading. I was working through the first half of the Gospel of Luke, and felt a little twinge of regret. Too bad I won’t wrap up Luke on December 31.
Then I listened to myself.
Really? Am I gonna get sidetracked trying to sync my Scripture reading with particular dates on the calendar?
Did anyone who’s actually in the Bible ever limit themselves to specific times for taking important actions?
Mondays may be my usual “laundry day,” but let’s say it’s Thursday and the dog barfs on my favorite jeans. You can bet I’ll have those babies in the washing machine before you can say “Tide with Febreze.”
As near as I can figure, a “Once-yearly Fresh Start” mindset puts too much pressure on us. The fact is, people need fresh starts all the time. So why wait? The time to make a change is whenever you need one.
Did you hurt someone? Apologize now.
Do you need to spend more time working or studying? Set up a schedule now.
Has it come to your attention that you eat too much deep-fried stuff? Break out the grill now.
And if you mess up?
Admit it and start over. Don’t wait for next year, or next month, or National Salad Day. Start over now.
If you follow Jesus, remember He wants our faithfulness. Not just on the Sabbath or on New Year’s Day. If He tells you to do something, do it now.
After all, that’s how He worked. He fed the five thousand families out on the mountainside at dinnertime. He taught when it was time to teach, healed whenever sick people came for healing… and sacrificed Himself on the cross when it was time to buy our forgiveness once and for all.
That sacrifice made the priceless gift of God’s grace available to all who believe in Him.
All I have to do is admit I’ve messed up, and He extends a fresh start every time.
That’s what fixes broken resolutions: Grace.
What about you? Do once-a-year resolutions energize you, discourage you, or something in between? I’d love to hear your thoughts. There’s room for you in the “Leave a Reply” box below.
Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading,
Oh Jan, you can always make me laugh. I loved the ‘dog barfing on the jeans’ thing. ha! Resolutions are just so hard when things come our way that we just didn’t expect.
But one thing, I was always looking on my phone or computer at bible gateway for ‘the message’ translation along with my regular actual bible. I decided to GET OFF of the techie stuff for that and I got me an actual bible to touch and feel. I say this to say, I’m sure He has been full of grace when going to my techie stuff and in the middle popping over the email or whatever but now it’s just me and Him, I’m sure He is thinking ‘about time’.
Happy New Year!
Marlece, you’re so right about the distraction of techie stuff. Unexpected challenges make resolutions hard enough, without getting in your own way! I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
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