So, if you read Making New Year’s Resolutions… And Keeping Them! (Part 1), you’ve had a window of time to think and pray through some areas of your life that need change.
Are you ready to move forward? Let’s go!
If you already made a list of obstacles you’re facing, take another look at it. Separate your list into a few categories.
First, find the obstacles that are external that you can do something about.
These are the circumstances that you have some control over. Ask yourself what choices you could make that would help you create change in your life.
This list is probably the easiest to work with. If you can remove obstacles on this list, go for it!
There might be some challenges here, but remember Christ’s power is at work within you. You’re not in this alone.
Secondly, list the obstacles that you have no control over.
This might frustrate you, but it will also help you to see what you can and can’t change.
Take this list to God and surrender it to Him. He knows all about it, and He is allowing this stuff in your life for His own sovereign purposes.
Don’t weary yourself trying to change things that are simply out of your hands. Take your focus off this list and allow God to do what only He can do with these things!
Thirdly, take a look at the obstacles in your life that are internal.
These are things that don’t immediately jump to your attention.
Maybe these are those lies you believe without even realizing it. If so, compare your thoughts to the truth of Scripture.
If you find yourself up against your own sinful attitudes, confess them to the Lord and ask Him to create a clean spirit in you.
If you’re listening to voices from the past, your own critical spirit, or allowing emotions to control you, dig into God’s Word and allow His voice and His Spirit to change your thoughts!
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Now, as you set your goals or resolutions that lead to lasting change, keep a few more things in mind.
First, set goals that excite you.
This will give you the energy you need to go for it!
Second, be reasonable — remember that even one degree of change will lead you to a drastically different destination in life.
Small changes over a long period of time make a huge difference. You want to be excited about your long-range goal, but make your changes in small enough increments that you know you can stick with it over the long haul.
Third, create a support team.
If you have a few safe people in your life, confide in them the changes you’re making. Ask them to hold you accountable. Ask if they’re interested in making some changes along with you.
God created us for community, and when we grow weary, we find strength to press on through the encouragement of others.
Lastly, continue to seek the Lord for strength and wisdom.
Let Jesus guide you and empower you every step of the way. Not only will you find yourself changed and refreshed, you’ll also grow closer and closer to Him along the way. And what better New Year’s resolution could there be?!
May God bless you in the year ahead, and may He equip you and bless you as you grow throughout 2016!
by Jennifer Ebenhack