By Ellen Andersen
So, how are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions now, one week into the year? If you are like many of us, frustration has set in. Several years ago, I read a devotion by Glynnis Whitwer that I believe goes perfectly with this time of year. I’ve adapted it for today’s post. See what you think.
Maybe you are already behind on your read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan. Are the numbers on the scale increasing, rather than decreasing? Did that goal to reduce television watching stop when your favorite show started again?
While we love to set goals, living them out is infinitely more challenging. That’s because every time we set a goal for ourselves, a more appealing alternative is presented. Just when you decide to diet, someone brings you a plate of brownies they “baked just for you.” As soon as you decide to get up early and pray, the cold weather makes it much more appealing to stay in bed. And that decision to stop gossiping gets challenged when some interesting news about your boss finds its way to your inbox.
Every good intention will be met with a challenge at some point. Without a plan, most of us will abandon those intentions, telling ourselves we knew we couldn’t _________ (fill in the blank) anyway.
This happens because we overlook the fact that every “yes” we say, requires a “no” to something else. Without that understanding, we operate outside of how life works, and underestimate the cost of achieving our goals.
Here’s an example of what I mean. When you say “yes” to reading your Bible every day, you have to say “no” to the morning news or your favorite novel. If you say “yes” to teaching a small group of women, you’ll need to say “no” to your favorite Tuesday night tv show, plus free time to prepare.
There will always be a sacrifice of something when we desire to move forward in an area of our lives. Goals are exciting. Possibility of change is alluring. Sacrifice is hard, but worth it in the big picture of our lives. In fact, it’s the road Jesus called His followers to walk daily.
The resolutions you set at the beginning of the year have great value if they help you grow into a more disciplined, mature follower of Christ. However, if you feel like you’ve reached a plateau, or hit a dead end, perhaps it’s time to evaluate if you’ve said enough “no’s.”
This year, let’s remove the “New Year’s” label, and reevaluate the goals we’ve set. Let’s recommit to them and consider what we’ll have to sacrifice to make them happen.
I particularly like Glynnis’ statement that “every ‘yes’ requires a ‘no’ [to something else]” I’d never thought about that before. So each New Year’s Resolution requires a sacrifice on our part.
I want to spend my time more intentionally this year. More specifically, I want to focus on preparing for Bible study, and reading. That means I’ll need to remember those things and focus on them when I have free time, instead of wasting it on mindless activities like computer games.
What are your goals for this year? What will you need to give up in order to achieve them? Let’s get the conversation going.