New Years is my favorite, but 2015 is looking a bit different than I thought it would. Goals and resolutions are out (for now), and looking for the Lord is in.
Eventually I will begin goal setting and planning again (and I can't wait!), but I’ve come to understand that I am a Recovering Schemer. I recently added "recovering" when God sat me down at the end of 2014 and told me that we had some work to do.
You see, I’ve spent my life setting goals and going hard after them. A dreaming+planning session is one of my greatest joys; it gets me pumped and ready to go differently than anything else. What I’ve discovered in taking a goal hiatus in 2015 is that a well planned life, at least the way I have been doing it, is just a substitute for trusting God. I didn't trust God with my day or week or goals or aspirations, I planned it. I simply used my own cleverness and wisdom to structure my life.
And here’s what I’ve discovered.
Can you relate?
Statistically, 36% of people who made New Years resolutions have abandoned them by now. And apparently, only 8% of New Years Resolutions are achieved.
That's a lot of failure.
It seems to me that goals and resolutions will almost always fail.
I have tried so hard to rid myself of the vices the seem to plague me, and I can’t think of a time that I was successful. Leaning on my own self-denial and strength to change things that are so deeply set within me is futile, and generally leaves me worse of and deeper intrenched in whatever thing I was trying to rid myself of in the first place.
Effort ends in failure which leads to a loss of motivation and an acceptance that I cannot change.
Thankfully I’m not the only one, though. St. Paul writes about this very thing in a letter to the Roman church. It's a really terrible, confusing passage to read in English, but the Message does a good job communicating the idea.
Because He has done what it takes to overcome the inadequacy inside of us.
Because He has set things right.
Because He accomplished and conquered and we hold hands with Him in that victory.
We set New Year resolutions because we want to be better. We want to grow and become better human beings. We see the failure and the junk inside of ourselves, and we desperately want to be rid of it.
But for now, I’m taking a step back. Because how I was pursuing Life was toxic and keeping me from the very thing I wanted.
So I’m seeking first God's Kingdom and Lordship over my life, and sitting at Jesus’ feet trusting that He will teach me how relate to goals in a healthy way. Learning how to make my goals and dreams and growth a conversation with Him instead of just headwork on my end.
Because, as I see it, He’s the only real change anyway.
If you've set goals for this year (and maybe this month and this week), way.to.go! It is such a hard, but worthy path to better ourselves to better represent Jesus here on the Earth. Drop them in the comments below (or tag your monthly goals blogpost) and I'll be praying for you. Please, please seek Jesus' face. Ask Him what He thinks about them and then ask Him to help you.
"I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does."