When I was writing down my ideas for my Beacon article for January in big bold letters I wrote “DO NOT WRITE ABOUT NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!” I didn’t want to write about something that I knew every person in ministry would speak on or write about in the month of January. I mean I want to be unique and go against the grain! That’s why I’m a youth minster. To be different so I can connect with the kids. But I have found that when I say I won’t do something God ends up making me do it. So I am writing about New Year’s resolutions.
I do not like New Year’s resolutions for a number of reasons. Mainly resolutions help to show me I am not what I should be. At the beginning of the year we get to see a number of Facebook posts letting our friends and family how we would like to change this year. The biggest post I tend to see at the beginning of the year is how everyone would like to be healthy and lose weight. That starts off great! We get our gym memberships, start going whenever the doors of the gym open, and spend time trying our best to eat right. I know in my own life I have had a number of gym memberships. As I have gotten older and my waist has gotten a little rounder I have started to make this resolution.
The other resolution I try to make is to pin point one of my worst habits and try to break myself of it. This year I tried to not rely on my phone as much but towards the end of the year I end up back where I started, looking at my phone more than I should, and not engaging as fully as I would like to. I can find myself getting sucked into the games I have on it or figuring out lunch plans after church before I head home to get ready for Sunday night. I will be the first one to admit that it is something I need to work on.
So how does this translate into not liking resolutions? These among other things are things that I would like to change about me. The problem is I end up falling short and then getting discouraged about it. I’ll have that extra piece of cake or try to respond to that notification on my phone as quickly as possible. Let’s be honest it happens. A few slip-ups are to be expected but I often times start to feel bad and not feeling like I can live up to the resolution I set. Then I’m back where I started at the beginning of the year but now I have the guilt and the weight of not being able to accomplish what I set out to do. This usually happens in the middle of February.
I end up being able to relate to Paul in Romans 7: 14-15 when he says,
While it might not be a sin to want to lose weight or be on your phone it is a struggle. I start to feel discouraged when I can’t will myself to change. I let that all pile up and then I forget the reason why I wanted to change in the first place and try to get as far away as I can from that resolution. It reminds me that I have no power to change myself. I have come to the realization that I am unable to do it.
BUT there is hope! The hope is someone who came to stand on my behalf. Someone who stood in my place when there was nothing I could do to change myself or change into the person I should be. That hope is Jesus.
Just at the right time when I was powerless Christ died for me. God demonstrated his love for me in this: While I am still a sinner, he died for me. I have to let that sink in. When I look at where I have messed up or fallen short I am reminded of this. There was nothing that I could do to change myself and because of that Christ stood on my behalf. He stood before the Father and was able to atone for my sins because again I could not.
So what does this mean for resolutions? Should I not make any and hope for the best? I don’t think so. I think that I can still have the resolutions but let myself off the hook when I fall short or mess up. It’s hard to stay on the hook when someone has taken the hook away. When you are thinking about your own resolutions this year I hope that if you end up messing it up or falling short of that goal you know that it is ok. Don’t beat yourself up to much. There is great joy in knowing that at the end of the day everything is taken care of. In fact it makes me want to keep trying when I do fall short.