Holy smokes, it’s 2017!

2016 was a hard year. We had health problems in my family. Two of us required surgery. We spent days, weeks, months – it seemed – focused on simply getting through the day. Chronic pain and fatigue made it difficult to be consistent with much of anything. I am not complaining. God was faithful through our challenges, and even though some challenges remain, I have seen God at work in our lives. I know God will use the hard times for something good.

So…it’s a new year, and as our culture loves to promote, time for a new “you!” Time to set new goals and change old habits. Time to “re-invent” who we are.

Laurie asked us weeks ago as we were finishing our last Bible Study, to really contemplate where we find our identity. The answer to this question is very important in regards to our relationship with the Lord. Where we find our identity is often where we spend our time and energy (i.e. as a wife, mother, employee, employer, etc). If our identity is not forged in God, we will not pour our hearts into our relationship with Him.

I have come back to this identity question again and again. I considered it once more as I thought about New Year’s Resolutions. Like nearly everyone at this time of year, I thought about areas of my life I would like to change. I’d like to study the Bible more, have more quiet time with the Lord, exercise more, cook more, schedule more date nights, etc. etc.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with wanting to improve ourselves. But I do think that resolutions in general place our focus on ourselves instead of the Lord. So in that respect, I don’t know that they are especially helpful. So, this year, I have decided to ask the Lord to show me what HE would have me resolve to do differently.

The only way to answer this question is for me to spend more time with the Lord. So I must consistently put aside time for Him. That must be non-negotiable. However, I have also decided that if I don’t make my morning quiet time, instead of feeling guilty and succumbing to negative self-talk, I will ask the Lord to help me set aside time later in the day or in the evening. That way, the pressure is off my ability to “perform” or meet a goal – neither of which matter to God anyway.

Most resolutions fail because they are too lofty, too unattainable to begin with – and because they place the motivation for the goal(s) solely on the person who set them. In the past, I have set resolutions that I have achieved and resolutions I have not achieved, but those resolutions were set by ME. Never have I said: “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever He wants” (Luke 1:38 TLB). It is time for me to listen to my God and my Creator, for me to find my identity in being His child, and acknowledge I do not know – will never know – what is best.

Lord, help me let YOU lead – whether it be in New Year’s Resolutions or anything else.

Growing in Grace

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