Rather than New Year’s resolutions, consider setting life-giving goals that can be accomplished with Christ living through you. Ephesians 5:18, speaks to this. 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
To prepare, here is some practical guidance. First, ask your Heavenly Father what His life-giving goals are for you. Include your job and/or ministry. Second, write down how these goals will bring value to your life and others. Third, do not make this legalistic but rather “graceistic”! Finally, make sure you and others get the maximum benefit by making them S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.)
Life-giving goals the Lord leads us to accomplish, as Christ lives through us, will typically fall under these categories: God, Yourself, and Others. Here are some examples.
GOD – Learn to trust God more. Jesus tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. There will be times when we will not be able to figure out situations and feel anxious as a result. That is why the longer I live, the more I recongize the value of listening to God’s voice. I am learning that this, along with telling Him “I choose to trust You with ______”, is a major way to exchange my fears for His peace. This gives God glory, lowers my blood pressure (LOL), and makes me more present for my family.
YOURSELF – Become physically healthier. Rather than doing something extreme like eating nothing but rabbit food and being hungry all of the time, what if He simply wants you to eat less processed food and begin walking daily? If you have a Fitbit, it may help you with the walking. I set mine to remind me every hour to get up and walk. I try to walk 250 steps each time when possible. I got out of this habit when we were working on my mom’s house and taking care of her for eight months, (along with leading GLI) but we are finally home with her and I am excited about rebooting.
OTHERS – Love your family through times of connecting. You may feel closer to each other by turning off your technology to talk more. There are studies showing that one of the activities that may help prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s, is consistent positive social interaction, especially with your family. If the pandemic or geography prevents you from this, technology may conversely actually help. My wife, her siblings, and their dad have a standing Zoom meeting every Friday at 4:00 pm. She often comes away from that meeting laughing but mostly feeling more connected with them. (BTW, do you know what a person is who uses Zoom often? A Zoombie!)
Each of these examples easily fit as S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Would you take some time today or this week to pray and ask your Heavenly Father what goals He has for your life in 2021. If you do not meet these goals or make some missteps along the way, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)! Simply pick up where you left off.