I have never been much good at New Year’s Resolutions. If I honestly think back over the last 29 years of my life, I can’t remember any that I even made let alone tried to keep. I guess I have always felt that they were frivolous, made one day and then forgotten the next. You hear all of those jokes about the gym parking lot being crowded for a week or two then everyone quickly disappears again. Resolutions have always seemed like more of a joke then something that people stuck with and had actually make a difference in their lives. So, I have avoided them. No goals to visit the gym, take up yoga again, or give up eating cookies and ice cream. Honestly, I’m not even going to try to make a goal to read through the whole Bible this year or spend half an hour every morning in prayer. Don’t get me wrong I think all of those things are great goals, but I have two little kids, a husband, and a job, and frankly I just don’t have the time. If anything I would like to sleep in once in a while, spend more than 5 minutes on devotions in the morning, and just read a book a little more sophisticated than “Curious George” or “The Cat in the Hat”.
But over the last few weeks as 2014 began, I have been feeling like there are a few things I would like to resolve to do better at this year. The thought first came to me during a spat with my 4 year old son. He is going through a difficult period right now of testing his boundaries and trying to establish his control over situations. Even things that he has loved doing in the past have become a challenge and an argument to get him to do. He just seems like he wants to create conflict with me to see what will happen and how I will handle it. And to be perfectly honest, it’s exhausting! And most of the time I feel like I am completely failing as a mother. So in the midst of one of these moments, I decided just to stop and pray. Not very revolutionary, I know, but I just needed a breath, a moment, some perspective so I didn’t lose my mind and say something that I would regret. And in that moment, I heard God saying to me, “Let go, Melissa. Let me take a shot at this. I created the heavens and the earth. I calmed the wind and the waves. I conquered death at the cross, and I knit him together in your womb. I can handle this.”
Now this wasn’t my first time hearing “let go.” God has been saying that to me a lot lately about many areas of my life and mostly about the people in my life. You see although I might not be a resolution maker, I’m an achiever, a worker, the kind of person that makes lots of big goals and achieves most of them because I’m not afraid to work really, really hard. But I’ve been learning that “achieving” doesn’t work as well with people’s hearts. I cannot change anyone’s heart. I cannot make anyone believe in Jesus, and I need to let go of the burden that I have been carrying that has told me that that is exactly what I need to be doing. Because only the Holy Spirit can change hearts. And I know that He loves each person I love even more than I do and is infinitely capable of much more than me. So with this in mind, I have a couple of resolutions for the upcoming year.
- “Let Go!” – I resolve to let Jesus be Jesus. I resolve to trust that God loves my children, family, and all of the kids and youth at church more than me and has a plan for each one of them that is better than my plans. I resolve to walk in the Spirit and let the Holy Spirit take control.
- “Pray First!” – I resolve to pray before I open my mouth. That each time my sons start to lose it and make me crazy that I will pray and let God be a part of the process of parenting.
- “Fix my eyes on Jesus!” – I resolve to look at each situation and person I encounter with the eyes of Christ, with my heart and mind fixed on Him. Most of the time I quote to myself Hebrews 12:1 which says, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” And while I don’t want to forget that, I want to try to live the verse that follows this year, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
I know that I will fail at these probably more often than I will succeed. That there will be days where I forget and continue to engage in conflict with my son or others. That there will be days where I beat my body and make it my slave for the things that I want to see happen instead of waiting to see what God will do. But I write this so that there will be more moments where I remember. Where I am resolved. Where I let go and pray and look to Jesus instead of myself. So here I go on the next step of this adventure called faith. Will you consider joining me?