It’s hard to believe that we’re already saying hello to 2016! As I get older, and especially since our son came along, the years just literally fly by! I am definitely that person who thinks 1996 was ,like, 10 years ago, and I’m stunned at the reality that I’ve been a married woman for almost 10 years and a mama for almost 5! Didn’t I just graduate from college yesterday?
It is common at the end of another year of life, to contemplate your successes, your failures, the happy times, the trying times, and how you and your family have grown and changed. Whether you had a good 2015 or you were ready to say “good riddance” when the clock struck 12, you probably had high hopes, big plans, and lofty goals when you woke up on January 1.
And then it happened. Reality hit you in the face like a ton of bricks. Your child woke up projectile vomiting, or your husband lost his job, or the basement flooded, or a million and one other things that seem to suck the joy right out of life and steal your enthusiasm and vigor for the new year. As a result, we’re only a week into the new year, and you’ve already thrown those resolutions out the window.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve made and broken more resolutions than I can count. I’ve felt defeated and broken, and I’ve been so angry with myself. But what if I told you there is hope beyond those ill fated resolutions and empty promises to yourself and others? That there’s a way for you to literally be a new creation, to have peace, and that there’s relief from the constant hamster wheel of struggle.
The bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Simply by accepting Jesus as your Savior, and seeking a relationship with Him above all others, you will forever change your life and your outlook will change to an eternal focus, instead of looking for temporary satisfaction that worldly things and achievements provide.
If you genuinely seek Him, have daily communion with him in His word and in prayer, realize that he is doing a sanctifying work in you through trials and other life experiences to make you more like Him, and understand that only by His grace are you capable of doing great things for his glory, you will begin desiring to please God instead of man. The culmination of this is living a life according to biblical principles and with an eternal focus. You will find that when you begin living a life with the goal of glorifying God and letting Him direct your paths, He will give you His abundant grace, the assurance and peace that passes all understanding in challenging circumstances, and the ability to grow and change your life for the better.
For example, some common resolutions are: lose weight or get healthy, get out of debt, kick a bad habit, spend more time with family, and get organized. I am so thankful that the bible has a lot of guidance about each of those things, and so much more!
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 says “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” This verse can apply to many different areas of our lives, but my first thought is always we can glorify God by having discernment and self control with the food that we put into our bodies, avoiding various forms of abuse to our bodies (drunkenness, smoking, risky behaviors, etc), and taking the time to properly care for and nourish our bodies so that we can have the strength to work to provide and care for our families and to serve others.
Maybe you want to stop fighting with your spouse over money (or lack thereof), or begin taking the steps to see your debt realistically and start paying it off. You might resolve to formulate a budget and let your money work for you, or even save for a major purchase or life event. The bible actually has over 2,000 verses that pertain to money, and I know that there is one that applies to every single circumstance. Proverbs 22:7 says “the borrower is slave to the lender. ” I don’t know about you, but having unresolved debt and worries and strife about money can make me feel like I am enslaved to it. You don’t have to feel like that when it comes to financial matters. God wants you to love and trust him more than having material wealth and financial security.
He also clearly lays out his intention for the use of money and resources in His word. Proverbs 21:5 states, “the plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.”Romans 13:8 says “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
And again in Luke 16:10, 11 it says, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” So it’s pretty clear that the Lord wants us to be diligent in working hard to pay back any debts and provide for the needs of our family, invest wisely and building our savings, be good stewards with our resources, be honest when dealing with money, and give generously.
These are just a few biblical truths to go along with our common struggles and resolutions. I believe that if you strive to live a life according to biblical principles, and with the desire to please and honor the Lord; there is no need to make empty promises to yourself and lofty resolutions. If you find your ultimate joy in the promise of living for eternity with God, instead of losing 15 lbs for that class reunion, seeking another get rich quick scheme or having “your best life now”, you will find your behaviors and attitude drastically changing for the better. Imagine how much more free, content, and joyful you will feel on December 31, 2016.
I’m looking forward to what the Lord’s direction is for our family in 2016, and I can’t wait to see how He works in lives as well!