This time of the year we often reflect upon our accomplishments and disappointments from the last year and create new resolutions for the next. Yet studies demonstrate this yearly exercise to resolve to do things differently often results in failure within the first few weeks of the new year. Too often we blame ourselves adding to our shame and guilt. Perhaps the problem is more with the resolution exercise itself.
Reflection on the past year is healthy. Setting goals for change in the upcoming year is healthy. Even making a resolution of the will – a firm determination to change is an important step in our growth. So what should we do differently if all these things we do each year are good?
- The first adjustment is to reduce the number of goals. Make the initial list, then prayerfully reduce it to the most important three.
- The second adjustment is to involve community in the selection of goals, the follow up to the goals, and the ongoing prayer. God calls us to a journey in dependence upon Him and each other. It is never a “me and my God” journey, but an “us and our God” pursuit.
- The third adjustment is to confess our powerlessness to accomplish these goals and to give them to God to fight our battles for us. We can’t “white knuckle” our way to significant change and the lie that we can often gets in the way of depending desperately upon God.
BGU was founded by a global network that was originally started by Billy Graham that pursued the values of “The Whole Gospel; The Whole Church; The Whole City; The Whole World, the Whole Person.” The first four provide strategic direction as BGU’s family is culturally, geographically, vocationally, racially, and Christian tradition diverse. Yet the “Whole Person” recognizes that real change in our lives is not just an exercise of the mind or the will but includes addressing deeply flawed narratives in our hearts that cause us to do the very things we don’t want to do, and to hurt the very people we desire to love the most.
My prayer for all of us in the time of reflection is that God will surprise us with a new life rhythm early this year of finding ourselves constantly speaking to Him and saying, “I am desperately dependent upon You. Please fight my battles.”