It’s a new year. You’ve had a chance to set some goals, change some goals, or have you’ve already let go of some goals? I decided to put off publishing this post until we all had a chance to realistically think about 2020 and the way we wanted the year to go.
There’s a bad rep on New Year Resolutions. We make them, and break them before we ever have a chance to implement them. So what if we stopped with the “resolution” word, but we paused and answered the simple question, “How do I want my year to go?”
I recently heard a small part of a talk show where the woman used this question with her strong willed daughter. So I immediately began using the question in my home. It’s amazing the difference this little question has made.
When my tenacious child is struggling with the emotions life around her stirs within her I can turn her face toward me and I can ask, “How do you want this to go?” She can make decisions that will get her in trouble, or she can choose to calm herself and move forward with a more positive and better plan. This simple little question has been a life changer in our home. So much so that it has caused me to ask myself the same question.
Many times we look back on the previous year and we declare it was a “horrible year”. We focus on all the negative things that happened and we vow the next year will be better. However, in reality we can no more control the bad things that will rise up than we can control an F5 tornado. If we are going to choose to have a good year, we are going to have to change our criteria for judging the goodness (or badness) of a year.
The year will be as good as you make it. So I ask you, “What kind of year do you want? How do you want it to go?” It would be ludicrous to answer that question by saying, “I want my father to come back to life. I want my family to become functional. I want my company to be more generous, my co-workers to be nicer, and my husband to value me…. ” When we know we can not control any of those things.
We can not control others, the weather, or the government… we can control ourselves. We can only make decisions that we ourselves can carry out. So when you are deciding on how you want your year to go, you can answer by saying things like, “I want to be more generous. I want to be kinder. I want to read my Bible more.” or simply, “I want to seek to glorify God in all I do.”
I’m teaching this concept to my four children. When one of them barges into another’s bedroom uninvited the occupant of that room has a choice. They can scream and name call, hit, throw things, shove… or politely ask the person to leave. They could even stand up for themselves and set a boundary for their room… However, there will be consequences to whatever they choose. We don’t allow hitting or shoving or throwing things or name calling in our home. So if that’s the choice they make, they will get a punishment. No matter what drove them to the action. I remind them that they must ask themselves how they want the situation to go. What is the ultimate plan. The goal is to have people knock before entering the room. And the underlying goal is also to not get grounded in the process. So if that’s the goal, they get to choose what actions they take to accomplish that goal. If they jump up and hit the intruder, yes the intruder may still get in trouble by mom… but so will the hitter. So by choosing the correct path, their day will go smoother.
Sure it’s a juvenile example, but it works for us, too. If a co-worker is causing trouble in the workplace you have a number of options. You can get snarky, back biting, gossipy, rude, or maybe even downright mean to the co-worker’s face. You could stand up for yourself in a respectful way, or seek out a peaceful agreement. Any choice you make has consequences it’s just a matter of how you want that situation to go. Sure, again, you can’t change your co-worker, but you can change your outlook, your mindset… or even your job if it came down to it. If you choose the negative reactions, you have no one to blame but yourself when things go south.
You are only truly responsible for yourself. So when making goals for your new year or when answering the question of how you want your year to go, might I suggest choosing to start with YOU?
Pray that your attitude will change. Begin to treat others with kindness. Perhaps your struggling with anxiety, maybe this is the year you set aside time to find a peaceful hour to focus on taking those thoughts captive and turning them into prayer. Maybe you can begin to pray about how to serve a hard-to-handle co-worker (the more you pray for them, the easier they are to love).
Stress and chaos mess with us. It causes us to react. You won’t be able to always change the stress or manage the chaos… but you can always change your attitude and reactions toward it. If you find that you’re screaming at your kids, that’s a YOU thing. If you notice that you are mad at your co-worker before you even step foot in work… that falls on you. A new year begins with a new outlook. A Good year begins with a good you. How do you want your year to go? Now what steps can you take to get you there?
- Pray- Pray that God reveal to you ways that you can change internally in order to handle all the external situations that come up in life.
- Read His word. The more you get to Know Jesus, the more you can be like Him. The more like Jesus you are, the more joy you can spread. I promise this is true!
- DO IT! Once you know what God is asking of you, and once you know how God created you to be by reading His word, you have no reason not to implement the plan.
The plan may be unique to each one of us. One may want to work on responding to their kids in a more respectful way while another mother feels walked all over and may need to work on being firm but loving. But all in all, we desire to glorify God. THAT is how we want our year to go… so what does that look like for you?
If you do not know Jesus, why not start your year off with the biggest change you’ve ever experienced? I’d love to introduce you to the Savior of the world, the leader of my life, and the reason for my being. If you’d like to know more and want to chat about it. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://followchrist.ag.org/ for more info (then email me and tell me what you’ve decided!)