Happy New Year everyone!
I wish for you what I pray for myself.
May God grow your faith in ways that allow Him to display Himself through you more than He ever has before.
(Really, I pray that for everyone who reads this blog post.)
Thoughts on Resolutions
When I first began playing around with doing a blog post about New Year’s resolutions, my initial ideas fell flat. You see, I know people who turned the calendar to 2015 amidst difficulties. One friend is caring for her sweet mother-in-law who may be meeting the Lord soon. Another friend is participating in her mother’s funeral even as I type these words. Others had thin checkbooks at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s eve and no money was magically deposited at the stroke of midnight when the skies exploded in celebratory fireworks. One of the most heart-wrenching current stories I have seen on Twitter is about this awe-inspiring, God-glorifying woman and her family. Sometimes our circumstances don’t line up with the holidays. Our turning of the page turns into nothing more than “more of the same.” Personally, I have had some terrible New Year’s eves when I was in the middle of difficulties that weren’t going anywhere any time soon.
Nothing dire is going on in my life right now, but 2014 hasn’t been my favorite year. It’s been like a long, low hill in a marathon (Though I have only run a 10K, I can imagine.). The stress in my life is low, but chronic. It’s looooooooooooooooong. And this year as I turn the calendar, I know things will continue on from 2014 and some sad things are coming in 2015. For example, when I took my little twelve-year-old dog to receive his annual booster shots, the vet listened to his heart and said, “We won’t be vaccinating him today.”
“Is that because he won’t live another year?” I asked.
She nodded. I cried.
No hospice care, diagnosis of cancer, foreclosure, divorce…but low stress and long hills in nearly every area of my life.
Which one are you? Dire circumstances or long, long hill?
A Resolution We Can Keep
As I thought about resolutions, I came up with one that no one can take away from me (or you)—I will respond well to my circumstances, and when I don’t, I will ask forgiveness quickly and sincerely. Sound impossible? Nope, it’s not. Let me introduce you to my two favorite verses to hang my hat on in this regard.
Verse 1: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27)
Whatever happens. Hmmm. No loopholes in that verse, and God would not have commanded this if we could not do it. Of course we can’t respond well, but the Holy Spirit residing inside of us can! He is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). All the tools we need to respond well are in Him alone.
The other verse I LOVE does not have loopholes either.
(Drum roll please.)
Verse 2: “And God is able to make ALL grace abound to you, so that in ALL things and at ALL times, having ALL that you need, you will abound in EVERY good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8, emphasis mine).
Look at that verse! She is a beauty. One of my favorites. There isn’t a loophole in sight.
Things I Hope For
Do I have other things I am hoping for in 2015? Yes, but I am calling them wishes, not resolutions. Besides more quality time with God desired by every Christian (Wish #1) and improved diet and exercise desired by nearly every woman (Wish #2)…
Wish #3: I am participating in Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015. Beth Moore’s on-line community of siestas (our pet name) will memorize 24 verses. I hope to do much more memory work, but this will be the minimum.
Wish #4: I hope to create a supplementary Bible Study materials to my book this year.
Wish #5: I want to change my clothing style. Many of my clothes are currently out of style and also don’t reflect my personality any longer. I am hoping to pull off a change in style within my budget and without worrying one minute about appearance in the meantime (Matthew 6:25-27).
My Two Words for 2015
As I cleaned up Christmas decorations this year I considered what word I am adopting for 2015 to help me stay focused. I selected two, EMBRACE and SIMPLIFY.
EMBRACE came to mind because I am struggling with accepting my job. I happen to love my job, but it doesn’t fit in well with my personal life and is under-valued by society. I am going to EMBRACE it this year and spend more time thanking God for it than talking to Him about my job concerns. As for SIMPLIFY, I have had to shop less this year than ever before, decorate less and cook more simply because of my circumstances…but I like it. Less of other stuff has made room for things like this stuff— my blog, my book, thinking, and conversations with my family members. I am going for more improvement on this track.
The Lord does not promise us tomorrow (Matthew 6:34), so my wish list remains just that, a wish list. God can make them come true or not. What I can control is my response to my circumstances in the power of the Holy Spirit, and by His grace I can walk closely with Him through whatever happens in hopes that all who know me can see Jesus in a way that is attractive and enticing. (Lord, please. This is the desire of my heart.)
A prayer for all of us…
Lord, do your thing. Show Yourself strong. Less of us, more of You. Have fun bringing glory to Your name through every person who relies on You to conduct him or herself in a manner worthy of the gospel, and who wishes to abound in every good work.
Now, no matter what, 2015 can look good!
© 2015 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved
Laurie, I wish you a wonderfully blessed (and quite belated) happy New Year! We celebrated our final Christmas today and I feel as though tomorrow will AT LAST be the beginning of a new year for our family. I love the one resolution and verses you shared. My one word is simplify, so I’m delighted to share in this desire with you and look forward to seeing how each of your words and wishes will come to life in 2015! Much love to you, Tarissa
Oh, it’s great to hear from you. I have missed you out there in cyber-land! It appears you had a much more lengthy Christmas celebration than I did. Wow. I meet my spring 2015 students today. The year is in full swing. Let’s simplify together. Much love right back at you. Laurie
My prayer and desire for this year is for a Steadfast Heart. A heart that will be secure and focused – not easily swayed, discouraged, or deterred. A heart without fear that can “Embrace” whatever the Lord brings my way this year. Thank you for the word “Embrace,” Laurie. It is just the word I needed to finish my resolution! Much love to you, my Friend! Tish