New Year, New Me...?

Every new year, people all across our campus, country, and even world will write down resolutions for what they want their new year to look like. Some of the most popular ones are about things such as exercising more, eating healthier, saving money, or spending more time with friends and family. And while all of these new years resolutions are great, most of them end up not happening the way you originally expected or even hoped. You miss a day, fall behind, skipped a couple, forgot, then all of a sudden it's been a few months and Planet Fitness hasn’t seen you since January but you’re still paying them every month!

What if this year could look different? Actually different- not the same different as last year or the year before? What if the goals looked different and your approach to them was completely changed? I started spending time thinking about my new year's resolutions and the thought hit me- would Jesus have made New Year's resolutions? Then I realized, I hate to admit, I don’t know enough about history to even understand New Years in biblical times but I jumped into scripture to see what I could find about New Years, Jesus, and me - and now, you!

  1. The Bible has a lot to say about new things.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. . ” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The age-old saying of New Year, New Me, may not be all that off after all. What if this year you and I started with the idea that we truly are new creations in Christ? Because Jesus came down, died, and then rose for our sins - we are able to be new creations, and our old selves are now gone.

With that, maybe some bad habits of last year need to be revised or totally kicked out, maybe a stronghold of self-doubt, anxiety, sin, or just ‘not good things’ needs to stay in 2022 - not in the new creation that you are because of Christ. For me, I want this year to look different in the ways that I am anxious about my future. With graduation running rapidly at me from May, the uncertainty of post-grad plans continues to shoot up and find its way into my heart and mind almost daily - for parts of last semester I was really worried and struggled to trust God with my future, what if this year I practiced a different mindset though? I believe what 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says, that my old being that was bent into anxiety is passed away and I am a new creation, one that can trust God more, be kinder to myself in worry, and lean into community this next year when I do get worried. I’d love for you to join me in this idea as well. How can you live like you believe you are a new creation in Christ? This year and every year after?

  1. It’s okay if your new year's resolutions turn out differently than expected.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Earlier we touched on the idea that most New Year’s resolutions don’t work out. The Washington Post reported that in 2022, 80% of New Year’s resolutions had been abandoned by February! I’d venture to say that most of the time it’s because of how people approach their goals and what the goals are even about.

With all of that being said, I wanted to see what the Bible had to say about plans not working, and whew(!) it says a lotttt! One verse that stood out to me was Proverbs 16:9, a verse I often find myself reading back on but haven’t ever applied to this same idea of a new years resolution before. So, what if we applied it? I believe it is saying that while it is important for us to establish goals and plans, ultimately it is God who establishes where we step. Two big things with this: first, breathe - the weight is not all on you and it is okay if your year looks different than the resolutions you may write out or already have written. Secondly, breathe again, God’s got this and you can trust Him.

This year, I would encourage you to write out goals with God, not just by yourself (even if they are about God). For me, that looks like praying before I write my goals and brainstorming and praying as I actively try to accomplish them (such as asking for the strength and disciple to wake up early to read scripture, and honestly also asking for grace on Monday mornings when that may not always happen). God wants to be a part of your planning, execution, and fulfillment of your resolutions - and I promise that your plans will turn out far better if you lean into Him during the whole process, even if your plans look different than expected.

  1. Focus on the day in front of you first and be present in it.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

New Year’s Resolutions are great, they help us establish goals and plans for how we hope to grow personally, spiritually, relationally, and so many other ways over the course of the next year - but they cannot be bigger than focusing on the day in front of us.

If every day we wake up and ask God what He wants our day to look like, that will take us farther than any plans or resolutions ever could. It’s like the idea that if you are 1% better every single day, in the course of the year you’ll be 37x better than you were on January 1st - big buildings are built with small pieces, one at a time. You and I are the same - faith that moves mountains is a faith that shovels parts of it away every day, a deep-rooted community is built by pursuing new friends and deeper connections every day, a better understanding of scripture is learned by reading a verse a day - and so many more.

Let this year be different for you, for me, and for our campus and community. Let us be people marked by a new creation, leaving behind the weights, sins, and strongholds of 2022 in the tomb and rising with Jesus as people devoted to serving God every day. If our resolutions don’t turn out exactly as expected, that’s okay - we want to where God is wanting us as that is far better than wherever our plans could ever be. And we will be people present in the moment, becoming better students, friends, and followers of Jesus day by day.

So, Happy New Year! I pray this year is full of joy, healing, community, depth, and new creation for you. And that you (and I) are able to better trust God with our plans and resolutions, focusing on His will being done in our lives and the lives of those around us. :)

Author | Ben Gill





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