I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. There. I said it. Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. The thing about resolutions that I don’t like is that, while I believe people are well-intentioned about it…I think it becomes a legalistic battle that we tend to lose around January 17th…if we are lucky.
My thoughts this year are less focused on individual things that I “should do more of.” Instead, I would like to crunch on the character traits that God would have me work on. Instead of buying a new membership to the gym (and knowing me, ending up injuring myself trying to do more than I should), what if my goal was to love people better, practice kindness more, teach my children generosity through my actions instead of my words, or simply be less selfish? What would that look like? I know, I know…you type-A people like myself are saying “A true goal is quantifiable.” That is true…but what if that meant beginning with study and learning what God thinks about the topic before just throwing ourselves at something that our heart isn’t into (like the gym?) Once we know what God thinks about something, then we can think of ways to implement his truth into our lives…don’t you think? Then, it could be quantifiable.
Take “loving people better” for example: Last year, for the month of February, I put a sticker with some paraphrase of what the Bible says about love. Each kid got to eat a piece of candy and read their sticker and then we would talk about it as a family. By the end of the month, we were love-experts! (And I don’t just mean me and Stan! Bow chicka bow bow!) After learning what love is, I could spend time learning about the love-languages that I tend toward as well as the languages of those around me (There are lots of versions of the love languages book by Gary Chapman: for couples, for men, for singles, for children, etc.) I could become a student of those that I love…enjoy learning more and more about them and what makes them feel loved, closer to God, happy, etc. I could learn to speak their languages. (For example: Stan is quality time and physical touch. People who know me know that I am not a toucher and that my biggest love language is acts of service. So when Stan wants me to just sit with him and snuggle and hang out, I am usually busy “loving” him by doing the laundry and dishes and anything that will afford him more time. It’s not that I don’t love him, it’s that I’m not speaking it in an effective way for him to understand.) After I learn the love languages of others, I could start brainstorming ways to show them that I love them in their own language and that brainstorming could turn into practice.
How cool would it be, on this day next year, to be able to say “In 2015, I learned how to really love people so that it left no doubt in their minds.”? To me, that beats “Check out my abs! This is what I accomplished this year!” And think about how your goal could change the lives of others: your family and friends and even people who you consider enemies now could be in a different relationship with you, with God, and with others this time next year. Think of the potential suicides that could be prevented. Think of the stress that could be avoided. Think of the bad decisions made out of frustration or unnecessary loneliness that could be avoided.
So, how are you doing with this? Are you thinking of another ho-hum resolution that will be broken and forgotten in a month’s time or are you thinking about changing your life? It doesn’t have to be huge, over-whelming steps. Baby steps and accountability are how these things happen. Maybe you could even decide on a character trait as a family and each month plan out the next 30 days of goals. What character traits could you focus on? Where are you weakest? What areas in life do you tend to feel the most convicted about? (Want a hint? Ask your loved ones how you cause them the most pain…I bet you could come up with an area of your character that needs work right away.) Once you figure out your character trait for the year, start with basic baby steps. You’ve got this friends! Now is the perfect time to start becoming a kinder, happier, more generous, more loving, more selfless, or more charitable version of you. 2015 is a gift that someone will not receive…let’s make it count! Much love friends,