For the past several years, my husband has asked me the same question, “What resolutions have you made for the New Year?”
My answer has consistently been, “None.”
Seriously, if I could remember the last time I actually kept even one resolution, I might consider making new ones. The simple fact is that I have begun many a January 1 with a list of resolutions for the year, all of which have been broken by January 2. So forget it. And the list is almost exactly the same every year. I could just pull out my list from ten years ago and re-date it. Come on, ladies, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? My list reads like this: Number one, read through the Bible; number two, lose weight; number three, spend less money (seriously?).
All this is not to say that resolutions aren’t a good thing. Making resolutions helps us check our priorities, consider where we want our lives to have traveled by year’s end, and gives us a direction in which to move. A person who actually accomplishes the goals on her list is doing a good thing. I’ve accomplished one or two things on my lists in the past, but not enough to actually feel the benefit of making the lists for the future. I don’t need that kind of guilt.
But, okay, just for the fun of it, let’s say I was going to make some resolutions for this coming year, and I wanted it to be different from past lists—you know, something I could actually see myself accomplishing. What sorts of things would I put on this list? I’ve considered this for a while, and here’s what I decided upon. A good place to begin, I suppose, is with my relationships. God first, of course. I’d want to spend more time in the Word, getting to know my Father better. That’s a worthy goal, one that would benefit me daily and eternally. So far, so good. Then, of course, is the relationship with my husband. Now that we are empty-nesters, I could work to be sure our relationship doesn’t grow stale, but moves out in new directions. That could be lots of fun. I like that goal.
Next on my list would be my children and grandchildren. I’d like to further develop the friendship I have formed with my two adult children—spend more time talking with them and learning what’s happening in their lives; perhaps make more opportunities to visit with each other and maybe even go on a trip together. That’s a good goal for the list. As far as my grandsons are concerned, I could write a book. I would like to fill their lives with love, kisses, hugs and back scratches (only grandma knows how to do this properly, I’m told). I’d like to teach them more about Jesus, of course. I could make plans with their mom to take them to movies, have sleepovers, eat pizza, make cookies, stir kool-aid—any activity that involves interaction with grandma. Okay, so let’s add that to my list.
Oh, and then there are my friends. I have some very good friends, and over the last year I have begun reconnecting with friends as far back as high-school days. I’d probably add that to my list as something valuable to be continued in the year ahead.
I suppose if I were going to break down and make a list of resolutions, these are the sorts of goals I would set for myself. It is certainly different from past lists I’ve made, and it might even be an achievable list. I don’t know, though. I could just do these things without that list hanging over my head all year long. These types of goals don’t really need a list as a reminder, anyway, right?
One year, for the children’s sermon at church, I rolled up a scroll with a list of resolutions on it. As I flipped open that long scroll that ran down my legs and out onto the floor, the congregation erupted in laughter. It was a fun moment, and allowed me an avenue to make a serious point. We can make all the plans we wish, but life doesn’t follow a list. One moment or one word could literally move my life into a different direction.
Life certainly can be full of surprises. However, while I have no idea of the events I may experience or if I’ll accomplish anything on my “non-list,” I do have confidence that I won’t be facing the year alone. God guarantees me of His presence with this promise: “… the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8). My Father loves me. Whether or not I make any resolutions for myself, it will still be a year of promises kept.