Every since Coffeegirl wrote about New Year’s resolutions I kept thinking about it. I commented on her blog:
“I am one of those who don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I am more likely to do resolutions some time during the year when prompted by the Lord. The same applies to “fresh starts” – they are more likely to happen and in my view are more genuine when it’s a God moment, some kind of work of God in my life, even if it is just a day of prayer and fasting. New Year’s eve never rarely seems to fit this definition as there are usually so many other things going on.”
Then I posted some comics about New Year’s resolutions and got some interesting comments. I really liked Ellie’s comment and thought, that’s what I am doing too. So why do I have such an aversion against New Year’s resolutions?
I came across a few blogs who also reflected on New Year’s resolutions. Obviously there are many different approaches to it, and the spectrum is huge. The following is the humorous definition according to Sandysays which I found through a comment on Dave W’s blog:
“New Years’ Resolutions are what we humans do to delude our conscience into believing we will make changes in our lives we have no intention of completing.” He hesitated, blinked his eyes, and got one of those ’I’d better come clean’ looks on his mug. “That’s overstating a little, Sandy. There are a few of us that really will follow through and keep them.”
This definition, some of the blogs I read and some of the comics that I had posted, made it obvious that this kind of resolution is just not my thing. On the other hand I am quite used to looking back and ahead, like Ellie said. This puzzled me over the last days.
To make a long story short, here is what I realized little by little:
- I have done “quiet days” around New Year’s eve in the past, looking back and deciding on priorities for the months ahead, according to how I felt the Lord was leading me. I just don’t feel obliged to do those days every year.
- More often than not this kind of days of listening to the Lord do not happen around the turn of the year.
- Most of my goals are steps by faith, pointers in which direction I want to move. They are rarely things that I can achieve in this life for certain. Nothing as concise and practical as @ngie‘s goals. 😉
- “Resolution” sounds awfully definite, like something I can decide and accomplish. Apart from my working goals there are very few things in my life, that I can plan for sure. Even my working goals are depending on so many variables that I often hesitate to state when they will be accomplished.
- Is something a New Year’s resolution when I have aimed at it before? Many of my goals are ongoing, nothing completely new, more like variations of a theme.
- I don’t like huge dramatic resolutions. They often result in a yo-yo effect similar to a crash diet. I am more aiming on small changes and a continued transformation through daily walking with the Lord.
- I come from a family of perfectionists and was very strict with myself in the past, putting myself under a lot of pressure. Therefore I often felt like a failure when I did not accomplish my goals. Knowing myself that I tend to get easily perfectionist with goals or overdo it, I try to handle goals more flexible, accepting that circumstances can change.
- It also feels wrong to constrict the Lord in how he will guide me during the year. Who can say what he will do tomorrow? (James 4:14) Even if the Lord puts something on my heart on New Year’s eve, I cannot be for sure that this has to be the goal for the next 12 months. In my experience the Lord brings up different themes at different times. They often seem like different threads that take their turns in coming to the surface in an embroidery. I think I am learning more and more to go with the flow of His guidance, listening to which thread comes up.
Well, I guess by now it is rather obvious that I have a very ambivalent relationship with New Year’s resolutions. Nevertheless, I do have something akin to them. Surprise, surprise. (To be continued in another post)