‘Tis the season for dreaming of all the goals I have for the next year and reflecting on all those of this year that sadly didn’t make it past February. As an elite list-maker, this year has proven to be no different for me in the New Year’s Resolution Department. Here I have found myself again with a pen and my journal, planning out my list of resolutions. I tell myself that this will be the year–that I will sit back on December 31, 2016 and beam with pride at the fact that all my goals have been met. You might find yourself in a similar situation if you haven’t done away with the idea of resolutions yet. The outline of all New Years Resolutions seems to be nearly the same:
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
- Eat healthier
- Get organized
- Save money
- Read more books
There’s a common thread through all of these–ourselves. Self-improvement has become so encouraged and celebrated that we don’t even think twice before striving for such goals. Sure, we would all do well to improve our diets and exercise plans, spend a little more time reading, and tidy up our surroundings. But what if these weren’t our default areas of improvement?
What if we looked ahead to the coming year and, instead, dreamed of all that we could do for others? No, I’m not turning an innocent topic of New Year’s resolutions into a “world peace, love ur friends, xoxo” speech. But what would the effect be if, on January 1st, everyone woke up with not only the intention of heading to the gym, but the intention of sharing love with someone at that gym?
What if the common thread of our resolutions was not self-improvement, but pouring out all the love that God has lavished on us? How many hearts would be turned to Christ that might not have if our primary pursuit was a six pack?
Don’t get me wrong–I believe you can have both. I believe living wholly for God’s Kingdom and glory naturally leads to a better version of yourself, because as you live this way, you’re becoming more like Him. I don’t believe God would want you to throw away your health and organization goals, but I confidently believe He wouldn’t want them to be before or separate from seeking Him.
So, yes, hit the gym if that’s your thing. Organize your desk drawers and vow to clean the kitchen floor weekly. But also strive to love your friends better, your parents, your kids, your coworkers, your boss. Strive to be Jesus to the person who’s ignored. Strive to see God’s beauty daily (you’ll be amazed when you just pray for your eyes to be opened to it). Strive to pray without ceasing instead of letting worry ever enter your situation. Strive to live not out of fear, but out of the freedom that Christ paid for with His LIFE. Strive to go where you’ve never gone before because you’re finally surrendering to God’s leading voice.
What a year this will be if these are our resolutions. What greatness will occur when God’s powerful love lives through us.