I think that my New Year's Resolutions are the same as everyone else’s: eat healthy, exercise, and suddenly turn into someone super cool and fabulous right as the ball drops in Times Square. But the thing is, once the ball drops and everyone goes crazy, no matter what people think, you’re still the same person. Sure, you might follow through with a few of your resolutions to try to “be better,” but the fact is, the New Year doesn’t release some magic fairy dust that suddenly makes all of your problems go away. After all of the champagne is popped and the party hats are put up, you’re still left with the same problems you tried to leave behind in the “Old Year.” Wow, what a depressing way to start an article. But stay with me.
I think one of the problems with resolutions is that we make too many and they are wildly unrealistic. I always say that I’m going to eat healthy and lose weight, but I love chocolate wayyyy too much to even THINK about giving it up.* Also, even though I say I’m going to exercise, I might not have time to go on a run every single day. Also, what if it’s raining outside and I have to catch up on the latest episode of This Is Us? Sometimes life just happens and New Years Resolutions go out the window. However, if we don’t complete our resolutions, instead of moving on and just trying to live each day the best we can, we get down on ourselves and think that we are worthless. Also, a lot of the time our resolutions are just ways to try to get over whatever horrible thing happened in the previous year, and we use them to distract us or help us move on.
So what is the point of this whole depressing article? It's that meaningless resolutions are not going to radically change our lives for the better. What ultimately changes our lives for the better and blossoms us into new people is Jesus. On our own, we can’t do anything meaningful or life-changing. It is only Jesus who can bring about significant life change. I’m not just talking about losing those extra 5 pounds or finally eating broccoli for the first time. I’m talking about changing your heart, healing your past wounds and surrendering your worries and problems to the One who brought the world into existence. A verse that has been popping up in my life recently over and over again is 2 Corinthians 5:17. It says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” New creations don’t live in the past, but they let go of whatever happened in order to fully live up to the purpose God has given them. We acknowledge what has happened to us, but then we humbly grab God’s had to guide us along the rest of the way. By letting go of the past, we are free to live in the grace God has mercifully offered us and not be weighed down by the shame, guilt, and regret we carry.
So bravo to everyone who keeps their resolutions until 2019 rolls around, but if you end up having an extra piece of cake or missing the gym, don’t sweat it (pun intended). Christianity is in the business of saving souls, not losing pounds or running extra miles. Remember Philippians 3:13, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” because 2018 is going to be one heck of a year.
*I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. I am not ashamed that once after a long day I sat in front of my fridge at 11 pm and ate cake right out of the box with just a fork. If you haven’t done it, I would highly suggest adding it to your New Year's Resolution list and then calling me so I can join you.