“New year, new you!”
“Out with the old, in with the new!”
“We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.”
“What is the one word that will change your life this year?”
Both our social media feeds and our brains brim with thoughts this January about new beginnings and deep introspection. Nothing makes us want to examine ourselves, our habits, and our resolutions like the start of a new year. Mentally, it’s not just the first month on a clean calendar; it represents the chance to make a fresh start and begin a new year with a clean slate.
Whether our 2018 was awful or amazing, we want 2019 to be better. We want more fitness, more joy, more abundance. And even if we point fingers or make excuses the rest of the year, in January we lay the responsibility for our future failures or successes squarely on our own shoulders.
Many of us know our Enneagram number (I’m a seven) or the result of our Personality Color Quiz (I’m a blue). In an ever-changing world, we seek to know and understand ourselves, but often, we place too much value in those results and allow them to limit or define us. All things seem possible, basking in the hope of January’s reset button.
My Color Quiz score is divided into three shades — troublesome, typical, and true. Troublesome makes me squirm; it’s my natural tendencies left unchecked — acting without thought to consequences, never on time, failing to keep promises, self-gratifying, unreliable. Spontaneity and fun are Typical behaviors associated with my shade, which certainly sounds better than the first category. But the True shade represents what I would hope to be: respectful of other people’s time, someone who thinks before I speak, capable of inspiring others through focused energy.
In January, we seek transformation and vow we can live out our True shade. I do believe people can change radically for good; I’ve seen it. And although we usually see Satan as the enemy when we think of spiritual warfare, the start of the year brings a spiritual warfare of another kind. I’ve discovered that as good intentioned as I may be, my lazy, hedonistic, self-indulgent self can be quite resistant to change.
As much as we want to lose weight, exercise more, achieve our goals, eat healthier, and embrace our carefully chosen word of the year — these are all well and good — our greatest pursuit this year should be to follow Jesus and seek to know Him more. God wants good things for us, His children. He is love, goodness, and truth, but the Lord does not want our happiness at the price of sin. The Comforter, His Holy Spirit, lives within us. We hear Him best when we place His will above our own.
After leading the Israelites through the wilderness for forty years, Moses reminded them of the many ways the Lord blessed them during that time — manna to eat, clothes that didn’t wear too thin or too small, and the surety of the promised land to come — and then restated the commands and statutes God had given them and how He would rejoice over them if they would obey Him and turn fully toward Him with their hearts and souls.
This command that I give you today is certainly not too difficult or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven so that you have to ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ And it is not across the sea so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ But the message is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may follow it.
Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (CSB)
Make your plans, set your goals, and evaluate how you can be better and smarter in 2019, but remember God rejoices over you when you seek Him first, honor and obey Him, and follow the Holy Spirit He’s placed within your heart to guide you.
God rejoices over you when you seek Him first, honor and obey Him, and follow the Holy Spirit He's placed within your heart to guide you. -@DawnMHSH: Click To Tweet