Resolved: Not to make resolutions
As each new year rolls in, I feel this desire to start fresh, to resolve to do things better. While I do not make a big deal about it, I have made New Year's resolutions in the past, and some of them actually stick past February. But I am thinking about a new way to enter the new year. Recently I heard a podcaster mention choosing a single word that she wanted to focus her attention on throughout the year, a word that would characterize her attitudes and actions. I like this idea a lot. I am much more likely to remember a single word throughout the year that could rather quickly bring my mind back to what I felt was worth focusing on, than on a longer set of resolutions that, frankly, I would forget by January 31.
Another reason I would like to have a single word to focus on during the year is to bring some order to all of the teaching I hear that throughout the year. We all hear many sermons, study different parts of the Scriptures and hear podcasts and conference talks and radio shows. Every sermon, every talk, every passage of Scripture seems to have an application and I come away thinking, "Yeah, there's an area where I need to grow." After a while I just become numb to these. I can't work on everything at once! I am praying that the word I choose for the year will be a filter through which God's Word can shape me in a more intentional way.
How did I go about selecting this word for 2018? First of all, I have been asking God to bring to mind where He wants me to grow. This has not been the easiest of prayers. It seems that God is presenting me with weaknesses that I would prefer not to think about. He has used other people to point out those weaknesses, which is even more painful. And yet, I can now see that He is using this to show me what He wants to do in me this year, and perhaps in the longer term.
Secondly, I am staying in His Word, because it is the mirror I need regularly to show me who I really am and who God is. I need to see myself as God sees me, but also to realize the incredible riches of His grace that I benefit from every day of my life. I would like for the word I choose to not only reflect my weakness, but God's grace to mold me into the likeness of Christ.
I think I have finally figured out the word for 2018 - just this morning, January 1. It has taken a few weeks to sift through a few different ideas, but I finally have settled on a word that God seems to be putting in front of me. I am not going to share it here, because I would like for you to perhaps consider this idea and choose a word for yourself, and I do not want my choice to influence what God might intend for you. I will share the word with those who will hold me accountable for letting God cut off the branches in me that are not bearing fruit and to prune those that are.
This morning it also occurred to me to memorize verses and passages of Scripture that will help me to meditate on the word I have chosen. Perhaps God will work through those Scriptures to teach me things I cannot imagine right now. I have made a list, with the help of a concordance, of verses I would like to memorize, and am pretty sure that during the year, other passages of Scripture will get added to that list.
So, no resolutions for me for 2018. Rather, faith that God can use His Word and His people to continue to mold me into the woman He intends for me to be. And a hope that through this new plan, I can hear Him more clearly as He speaks to me through these means.