I’ve never been a great fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I’m probably avoiding failure by not trying in the first place. I seek to justify it by saying that if there are things to improve in our lives, we shouldn’t wait until new year to implement them? But I think I’m wrong. I could say that I don’t need a birthday or anniversary to tell my wife how much I love her. But if I’m honest, I should tell her how much I love her every day and even more on special occasions. I should try to make good life choices every day, but an annual moment is good too.
The most popular resolutions are all things that are great for our well-being and that of the world. Things like: Go to bed earlier…Reduce single use plastic consumption…Create a savings plan…Read more, scroll less…Drink more water…Drink less alcohol…Eat more veggies…Volunteer… Increase exercise…Reduce social media…Give up smoking…Drive less, walk more
The fact that statistically 80% of people give up on at least some of their resolutions could simply be seen as failure. But in fact it means that 20% have created new positive habits and life choices. It’s actually better than that, because some of the 80% will have kept up something of their resolutions.
Many people will fail before the end of January, but at least they have more chance of success than those who never started in the first place.
Christians are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbours as themselves. If we managed to do this the world would be a totally different place and our churches would be full. God realises we’re not up to the task and encourages us to allow his Spirit to help us as we seek to grow in our loving. Sheer will power is never enough. If we let him, the Holy Spirit may highlight one area in which we could grow in love. Repentance is central to Christian faith. It’s simply admitting that we’re not living and loving as we should and stepping back in line with God. It’s also receiving the freedom and healing of his forgiveness as we do so. God doesn’t say we need to change everything all at once, it’s one small step at a time. For some of us, step one may be to try and be more patient. Or to love others by caring for the environment and not using disposable coffee cups.
It’s beginning to sound to me like resolutions are a good idea. We could start with a New Year’s Resolution but then try mid-year or even mid-month ones too. And a great thing about God is that his steadfast love never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is his faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23). If we fail or give up, he doesn’t give up on us, he’s there to help pick us up and set us off again. He’s there to help us change from the inside out.
We can’t change others and we can’t guarantee what will happen in the world around us, but with God’s help we can change. Wouldn’t it be amazing to look back on 2022 and see how God has changed us?
Revered Prebendary James Grier, Diocesan Mission Enabler