This year I resolve to….. (January 3, 2009)

Did you have a New Year’s resolution for this year?  If so, how’s it going?  If not, why don’t you like to make New Year’s resolutions?

On January 2nd, my son told me that his New Year’s resolution was to be nicer to the cat.  My immediate thought was that his resolution didn’t last very long.  In fact, according to a 2005 survey done by Welch Media, only 8% of Americans admit to keeping their resolutions1.  This is a very disheartening statistic that probably serves to discourage people from even setting goals for self-improvement.

It seems to me that a main reason people don’t keep their resolution is because of a lack of self-confidence during the tough times.  Let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to cut back on sugar, hoping to improve your health and lose weight.  You start the year completely motivated – everything is going great, until temptation arises – and temptation will arise!  Then, it’s a constant struggle to maintain your focus, and eventually you give in and eat that piece of chocolate cake.  You might give up on your resolution immediately, or it might take several mistakes.  But, in the end, the negativity becomes overwhelming, and you end up feeling worse than before you made the resolution.  Next year, you think, 2010 will be the year that I finally succeed.  But, 2010 isn’t for another 11 months!

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions only because they’re limited to January and on the surface, they lack fellowship with God.  But, the ideas of self-evaluation and self-improvement are vital to becoming a more mature Christian.  So, this year, I encourage you to consider a Christ-centered resolution!  In doing so, please consider the following thoughts regarding resolutions.

-Resolutions are not limited to January.  Whenever you are not pleased with any aspect of your life, resolve to improve it.  If you’re not sure of what your weak parts are, or if you’re like me – which area to tackle first, pray about it.  Ask God to show you where you should focus your attention to become more pleasing to Him.  Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

-Manage your expectations – this is the key for maintaining your self-confidence.  Smaller, short-term goals work much better and offer more flexibility than major goals that will take the entire year to accomplish.  Keep praying about your progress, no matter how things are going.  Give God the glory for your successes, and ask for His help when you are struggling.  A prayer journal is a great way to keep track of how God is working in your life.  Isaiah 25:1 “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”

-Don’t get frustrated with setbacks that will occur.  Keep persevering towards your goal.  Do not let Satan fill your mind with doubt and negativity.  With God’s help, you can accomplish anything that is in accord with His will (this is important – your prayers for becoming a supermodel may never be answered).  1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.”

I pray that you are successful in whatever self-improvement projects you begin this year.  Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’.”  Keep praying, and stay focused on your goal.  Stay confident and know that God loves you and wants you to succeed!  Romans 8:31b “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

If one of your resolutions is to become a more involved in your Christian faith, I would invite you to participate in the Women’s Ministry at our church.  This newsletter will come out monthly, and will provide many opportunities for involvement!  Please contact the Women’s Ministry  if you have any questions, comments, or would like to help out with the newsletter or any other events.

1http://www.welchmedia.com/news/article_385.shtml

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