So, what’s your New Year’s resolution? a friend asked me at a New Year’s Eve party.
Uhhhhh, I responded, and lunged toward the chip bowl to stuff my face. No one expects me to answer uncomfortable questions with a mouthful of Doritos.
Here’s my confession: I kind of hate New Year’s resolutions. They sometimes feel pointless and unachievable and like a great way to usher in disappointment during the new year.
But this year I realized I was thinking about resolutions the wrong way. Resolutions had been about improving myself to make me an ideal version of me: skinnier, smarter, more desirable. I would lose 15 pounds. I would read 75 books. I would learn a new language.
For me, those resolutions were a way to control my future and transform myself in the eyes of others. They weren’t rooted in my desire to live out God’s love and grace in the world.
This year, I’m thinking about how God can use me to show his love to others.
I’ve discovered that it’s easier, more fulfilling, and more realistic to make a new year’s resolution by asking God to show me how I can better reflect his character.
You can do it, too. Here’s how:
- Reflect on God’s character. What do you love most about how God loves you? What attribute of God’s character do you want to grow in?
- Ask God to show you one way you can demonstrate God’s character and love more this year.
- Write it down somewhere you’ll see it every day (or most days!)—in your daily planner, on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator door.
As an extra step, you can also search for verses in God’s Word that reflect your resolution.
My resolution is to communicate what I appreciate about people more often. A friend of mine made her simple resolution to practice gratitude by thanking others more. Another friend determined to say “yes” to people in need. Ask God to show you what your resolution this year might be.
To get you started, reflect on these characteristics of God to help yourself make your New Year’s resolution:
God is patient.
The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins. — 2 Peter 3:9
God establishes and pursues justice.
Mighty king, you love what is right;
you have established justice in Israel;
you have brought righteousness and fairness. — Psalm 99:4
God isn’t easily angered.
The LORD is loving and merciful,
slow to become angry and full of constant love. — Psalm 145:8
God is filled with grace.
For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.
— Ephesians 2:8-9
God values rest.
He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working. — Genesis 2:3
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