The new year is very quickly approaching. Which means new years resolutions are being made. Each year, I end up with the same few new years resolutions – spending more time with God, keeping a clean house, eating healthy, connecting with people more. They might vary as to the specifics, but for the last few years they’ve always been along those lines.
New years resolutions aren’t a bad thing. They inspire us to do things that enrich our lives and the lives of other people. The problem is with new years resolutions is they don’t last for long. The first few days of the new year are like walking around in some sort of blissful dream – the new years resolutions are still fresh and unspoiled and it feels as if I can indeed live the perfect life. But then, it doesn’t take long for something to happen. It’s a hot day so I let the cleaning slide. Or it’s been a busy day and a late night so my quiet time with God gets neglected. Or I just get generally annoyed with people and isolate myself in the cool of my room. Really, it doesn’t take long at all.
That’s the thing about new years resolutions. They start out in the best of intentions, and we rush into them with all the strength and determination we can muster within us, but eventually we fall. If you’re strong, it might come mid-way through January or even February, but mostly we don’t seem to even make the first week.
This doesn’t have to take away the value of our resolutions though. So often, we have an all or nothing approach. Just say your resolution this year is to avoid eating chocolate (a hard one definitely considering all the Christmas chocolate I’ve received). You manage to abstain for a day or two and then you slip up and eat three in one go. So then it’s like ‘Well, I’ve broken my resolution. There’s no point in even trying to keep it now’, and you finish the whole box. The resolution is left at that point of error and nothing is said of it again until this time next year. This may be a little exaggerated but maybe it’s strangely familiar.
As long as we’re human, our intentions are going to outweigh our ability to carry them out. But the great thing is, one mistake doesn’t have to define the rest of the year. Just because you ate that chocolate, doesn’t mean healthy eating is destroyed for the whole year. Just because you went to bed with a messy house doesn’t mean you can’t try again tomorrow.
Despite my best efforts, I will break my new years resolutions. You probably will too, at one stage or another. That’s okay, because I know it’s not about me and how awesome I am at life. It’s about God and who he’s transforming me to be. If I make a mistake, I can just go to God, say sorry and ask him to help me with next time. With God, there are always second chances and third chances and fourth chances. We don’t have to be perfect – because he is. We don’t have to do everything in our own strength, because he gives us his own.
Embrace those new years resolutions! Don’t be discouraged by the mistakes, but pick yourself up and keep on going. Take heart at the little by little changes you see. Remember that God is always there for us, to give those second chances and the strength to be who he’s called us to be.