New Year's Rest
I'm careful about New Years.
I think it's easy to get stuck in the mindset of making goals and wondering how your life can be better.
I think sometimes New Years is hard because we tend to reflect on all the things we failed during the past 365 days.
While wishing and aspiring to improve on certain aspects is good and sometimes healthy, it can also be degrading and stressful.
Many times my resolutions revolve around things I would rather not do. I usually resolve to workout an hour a week or read more.
While those aren't unhealthy, they can cause me to stress more than they cause me to grow.
I think one year I tried to promise myself that I'd study for every class 15 minutes a day. That didn't last past the first 24 hours of the new year. Another I decided to listen to 18 new bands. Update- I still can't name 18 bands I even like.
But why do we keep making these resolutions that we will inevitably fail at in the near future?
I know that everyone wants to talk about how odd resolutions are at this time of the year, but it's really been on my heart recently.
Last year, I posted a blog trying to make my resolutions obtainable by adding numerical value to them. Changing the goals from the generic 'be better', 'workout more', and 'read some' to values that could actually be tracked.
Adding numerical value actually does nothing in the way of motivation.
It actually sometimes could stifle my motivation.
I would workout for an hour one day, then sit around all the rest of the week because I had fulfilled my resolution.
Or I would read a ton of books, but I would pass up on books that were too long because I wanted to get as many read as I possibly could before the end of the year.
I get that I'm very odd and the things that don't work for me can be a perfect fit for other people- but in the end, my resolutions for the last year added to my stress and always made me feel like I wasn't doing enough.
When I got baptized in April of this past year, a word came to my brain and it's been stuck there all year.
The word was 'victory'.
Thankfully, it's a word that is ubiquitous on Liberty's campus, so I was constantly reminded of the victory I had in Jesus Christ and the victory of the ultimate battle.
'Victory' has been my new year's promise since April.
It wasn't a goal or something I could do on my own, but just the opposite. Victory was something that had already been done and won for me. It was something I simply had to accept.
Later in that year, when I was struggling with patience and peace, I added the word 'sustenance'.
The verse that I would repeat to myself was Isaiah 46:4 where God promises "I will carry you; I will bear you and rescue you".
The version I found was "I will sustain you".
I loved the reminder that not only do we have victory at the end in Christ, but we are also upheld by Christ in the mean time.
While God's promises couldn't really be my new year's resolutions, they could be my new year's mindset.
I was able to make the work God had already my focus for the year.
By paying attention and giving credit to the things God has already given me, it takes the pressure off of me as a flawed human and gives it to God- an infinite being that can shoulder any burden.
This year, I'm not setting goals to be better by my own ability, but to remind myself that Christ has already made provision for my life and protection for my soul.
So provision and protection are my battle cries for this year.
I want to give God the credit for the work he has already done. I want to trust that the path on which I'm walking is one that on which He has gone before me.
I couldn't really find a verse at New Years when I decided this resolution, but I came across one in my Bible study the other day.
In Exodus 33:14, the Lord says "'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest'".
Doesn't that just sound comforting?
His peaceful presence is with us always, but He's also going to give us ease.
I can go into a whole hour long rant about how amazing it is that the creator and the organizer of the entire Universe is able to be around us and with us and bless us everywhere we go. Not only is He able to, He wants to. He wants us to know that we need Him and to rely on Him.
How beautiful is it that we can just sit back in His presence and hold onto the peace that He is with us and for us?
So this year, I'm not going to focus on the things that I can do. But the things God has done for me.