With t he end of 2013 right around the corner it is common for us to start thinking about the New Year and how we have lived our lives over the past 12 months.
As we have time to reflect, it is wise to take stock in what we have strived for and the priorities we have set in our lives. However, it is much more important to consider changes that can lead to a better future.
Focus on thankfulness:
Make an exhaustive inventory of the blessings in life. This starts with the knowledge that all good things come from God. Take time in prayer to give Him the glory. When we do this, we can begin to understand the true priorities in our lives, and set goals for the future.
Focus on forgiveness:
Okay, let’s admit it. Some things have gotten messed up. Maybe it’s a family member, a co-worker, a friend. Somebody has done you wrong. Here is one that is more difficult – where do we need to seek forgiveness from others for how we messed them up? Time to let this go – forgiveness is available for all. The first step is to offer these things in prayer to Jesus Christ. He offers forgiveness, and we can also! Make a list of the things you need to let go, then pray about it. Finally, decide to forgive any resentment you have been holding against someone in your life.
Focus on Fulfillment:
Many of us are seeking happiness. Let us consider this for the New Year: seeking happiness is sort of selfish (hey, stay with me here – let me explain). Seeking happiness is self – centered. Living a life that cares about ourselves as the priority will eventually lead to misery. Misery for us, and misery for others when we will forget about what is the true purpose of our lives.
Let’s focus on fulfillment. The difference here is this – seeking fulfillment is a focus on finding God’s purpose for your life. When we make a prayerful decision that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the Pilot (not the co-pilot), then we are free to experience authentic living. Authentic living is Loving God, Loving others and realizing our sacred worth in who we were created to be. This is much higher than happiness.
Make an exhaustive list of things that you have been doing from a self-centered priority. Take this list to God in prayer. Ask Him to help you turn from these things. Then Listen in your prayer time and start to make a new list. This list will be about doing the things that are God-centered. The things you were made to do by the One who created you.
Setting a New Year’s Resolution
While many people pledge to give up snack food or exercise more often, it can be more meaningful and satisfying to have a resolution that is incredibly personal.
For your New Year’s resolution, think of ways that you can strengthen your faith and encourage others to join you on your journey with Christ. Once you have a resolution, whether it is something such as volunteering at your church or studying the Bible more deeply, you need the power of God to carry you through.
Consider the steps above:
Focus on thankfulness. Focus on Forgiveness. Focus on Fulfillment. Then re-commit your life to God. This is the faith centered way to do New Year’s Resolutions!
Enlist Others to Help Keep Your Resolution
The best way to keep your resolution and accomplish personal fulfillment is to create accountability. Merely saying our resolution out loud when we are with friends is not enough because we will likely forget our goal or put off taking the first steps. As with anything in life, getting support and encouragement is the key to our success.
So in addition to writing your long-term resolution down, recommit to attending a church that can nurture your faith. Seeking fulfillment is like running a marathon. It will be something you will need to train for every day. The church is the people who will train with you, encourage you, and run the race with you!
If you get stuck during your quest, be sure to sit down and pray things over. Talk with your church family members, pastor or a Christian counselor so that you can work through the difficulties and continue down the road. Know that following through with a New Year’s Resolution takes hard work and with God’s help, you will be able to persevere. With your commitment to your faith and your relationship with God, all things are possible.
Written by Richard Hoffman. Richard is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a member of The American Association of Christian Counselors and a Board Certified Christian Counselor.