Fresh seasons are exhilarating! We’ve all experienced them: that first bloom, the first sip of a pumpkin spice latte, the first scent of a Christmas tree filling your home. Many possibilities accompany new seasons and most of us walk into them with beautiful plans and grand goals. How many activities can we fit into our calendar? We want to experience and do and accomplish more! We are afraid of stillness—that somehow our accomplishments and plans give us value.
The new year is a new season and with it comes new opportunities. We make resolutions, write out lists, and plan. We decide how we will execute our goals, how we will read Scripture, what books will be on our list, what recipes we should try, how often we will exercise, which classes or conferences we will go to, and the list goes on. While planning and making resolutions can be helpful, they can also lie to us about our God-given identity. Resolutions can be crippling—because we are more than a New Year’s Resolution.
Resolutions can have a negative impact on us in two ways:
1. They can lead to a performance mindset.
When we over-emphasize our resolutions, we become slaves to what we do and how well we do it. We check things off a list rather than experience life (and God) to the fullest. The repeated habit of “accomplishing” sends our brain the message our value and identity come from what we do. The truth is, God values us and calls us by name apart from what we do and how well we do it. There is quite literally nothing we can accomplish which adds value to us in Christ. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we were created in His own image and 1 Peter 2:9 says we are a chosen people and a royal priesthood. Peter goes on to say that we are God’s special possession! In other words, our performance has zero effect on how God thinks about us. Our value and identity in Christ are secure.
2. They encourage a controlling mindset.
When we concentrate too hard and too often on our goals, lists, and resolutions, we become controlling. We are hungry for control and resolutions are the perfect delicacy for our voracious appetite! When setting goals, writing lists, and making resolutions, I make the decisions. I am in charge and quite frankly, I like that! However, when I’m in charge, I push the Holy Spirit aside— leaving little room for Him to alter plans or adjust my course. God never forces Himself on us. He patiently waits until we realize He does a better job. Our need for control is rooted in fear that God will not lead well and pride which says, “I can do it better.”
Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God’s plan is abundantly more than we could ever ask, think, or imagine! And in Proverbs 3:5-6, we are encouraged to trust God with all of our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding. The proverb tells us that when we acknowledge and submit to Him, He will make our path straight. These verses remind me God’s plans and God’s leading are superior to mine. With God in control, we are far more successful than when we are in control.
How do we protect ourselves from these undesirable consequences? Are we to stop making lists, plans, and resolutions altogether? No way! Here are some suggestions to keep your resolutions in check:
- Seek God for HIS goals for you before making any resolutions. Ask Him what He would like you to focus on this year.
- Start small. Too many goals, and too lofty goals, tend to go unreached. God is just as pleased in the small things as He is the big things.
- Try making monthly resolutions and goals instead of yearly ones. Resolve to ask God each month what He would have you focus on for the month.
- Ask God to give you a word or verse to focus on for the year instead of a physical goal. Focusing on a word or verse covers our whole being and not just one area of life.
- Simply BE with God and know Him, instead of focusing on DOING for Him. Live out of the overflow of what God is doing in your heart and mind.
|About Christi: Christi was born and raised in sunny central Florida where she still resides! Along with her husband, Christi keeps busy raising their children, traveling, and homeschooling. She is passionate about being a life-long learner, building relationships, and bringing God’s freedom to women through small retreats. You can find out more about her ministry at www.sixtyoneacres.com|