How many times have you anxiously awaited the arrival of a New Year — hoping for that all-important fresh start — only to be sorely disappointed when your resolutions go nowhere?
Or even worse, how many times have you accomplished a resolution, only to find that the pure bliss you expected to experience upon its completion wasn’t there? You anticipated that “if only I could (fill in the blank) this year,” then I would finally be on top of things… then our family life would run more smoothly… then I would have more time for myself… then I would have time for others… then I would finally be content.
Last January, I made a familiar resolution to exercise more so I could finally shed the pregnancy pounds. Instead of hitting the gym, I got busy with Saturdays on the slopes while the girls participated in the Snowburners ski program. Sadly, snowboarding (and huffing my stuff around) didn’t help. In fact, I think I gained a few!
April arrived and I realized two things: My sister was getting married in June and I was in the wedding, and we’d just booked a 15th anniversary trip to Cancun for November. I had to decide if I would get busy now, or be really sorry that I hadn’t (and avoid all cameras) later. I decided to go for it. Exercising three days a week and watching my diet, I lost a dress size by June and a total of 25lbs in time to be bikini-ready for those tropical beaches in November.
When we got back from our trip of a lifetime, I was strangely let down. No more pressing goal, and the joy of the achievement was fleeting. By Dec. 31, I was already looking for another magic resolution to fulfill me.
The fact is, no earthly accomplishment is enough to fulfill our constant pursuit of happiness. We might bask in the glow of reaching the summit, but after the thrill subsides, we’re back where we started, wondering what to cross off the list next. And the list goes on and on…
Jesus had an answer to this vicious cycle. In Matt. 6:25-34, He instructs us not to be consumed with earthly pursuits: “But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” He doesn’t mean we should abandon personal responsibility, but He explains that if we’re consumed with His purpose, which has eternal value, rather than our own wish list, we can trust Him to take care of the little things and big things. Those resolutions disappoint us because we forget to ask God what they should be.
I did make one resolution this year: To stop, pray, listen — then move forward. It’s hard to get out of the driver’s seat, but I’d rather see where He takes us this time.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” — Matthew 6:25-34