It’s day 2 of the New Year! How are those new year resolutions going? If you are like many people, you did not last even one day. You had all the good intentions in the world. But when January 1 hit, you just did not have the will-power.
Others of you may be off to a good start. You have convinced yourself that this year will be different. This year will be the year to make the positive changes you have not been able to make in past years. Keep it up!
But when the end of January comes around, things may not be that different. The 3 trips a week to the gym become more like 1 trip every 3 weeks. Your Bible reading plan gets stalled somewhere in Leviticus (Download Good Shepherd’s Daily Reading Plan). The diet falls apart on the latest business trip. It is a story that is rehearsed over and over. Good intentions are not translated into right action. Nothing changes and guilt begins to set in.
So what do we do? When we stumble, here are some things to keep in mind:
1) Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is not only something we practice with others, but it is something we need to practice with ourselves. God extends grace and mercy towards us. We need to do the same with ourselves. Your value is not in what you accomplish. Your value is based on the fact that you are a child of God, adopted through the waters of baptism. God does not love based on what you do for him. He loves you based on what he has accomplished for you. This is at the heart of our message.
2) Start again. Don’t give up. Don’t let the calendar determine when you can make a new start. With Jesus in your life, everyday is a new start. Today is the beginning of the rest of your life. Go and make it count. The past is behind. You can’t change it. But from what you can change is this moment and every moment forward.
3) Learn from you failures. One of my favorite titles for a book is Failing Forward by John Maxwell. I love that idea. The idea is that we succeed by learning from our failures. The path to success is rarely without stumbling. The question is not if you will stumble and fall, but what will you do when you stumble and fall. How will you learn from you stumbling and what will you do different this time?
4) Keep Jesus on the journey. Life is a journey. Jesus is our guide, our compass, and our GPS. Seek him. Follow him. Jesus has a lot to say if only we will listen. If we could overcome our challenges by our strength alone, we would have done so long time ago. Many of the challenges we face cannot be overcome by will-power, but by God’s power alone. If Jesus is not a part of the fight, we cannot overcome. It is with his strength we move forward.
God’s blessings on your new year. My pray is that with Jesus this will be the best year yet.
Happy New Year,