This year, for the first time in my life, I made "new year's resolutions". I'd always regarded the notion of resolutions with an internal eye-roll. For years I'd hidden behind the self-imposed label of "realist". Why? Because where there is no expectation, there is no disappointment. Because I wanted to escape the self-loathing that would accompany the failure I thought was inevitable.
Despite my best efforts not to hope, to desire, to dream; and despite all the decisions I've made from a place of fear, by God's awesome grace I have still enjoyed many milestones and victories.
Living a life without expectation has proven impossible because we are wired for hope. Expectancy is at the core of God’s relationship with humanity and a requirement for the life of faith. We are to expect the Lord- His presence, mercy, and goodness in our daily lives, and His return to take us to our heavenly home. We cannot have purpose or meaning without hope. It is our desires that propel us forward.
I finally accepted that my realism was really insecurity. The deluded outlook I had clung to was not serving me well. Avoiding the reflection and intention required to set concrete goals has resulted in a life lacking focus. So over the month of December, I reflected on 2019 and planned for this new year. I put pen to paper and thought through what was working in my life and what wasn’t. I finally looked my hopes in the face and didn’t try to pretend that I didn’t want anything. I invited the Lord to show me His desires for me. I expected to be filled with self-doubt and anxiety, but instead I was refreshed and inspired.
The most surprising revelation of this process has been accepting that it’s okay to let some desires go.
I quickly realized that saying yes to some goals meant saying no to others. As I refined the big-picture of my hopes and priorities for this year, it became apparent that some of my resolutions didn't fit. As King Solomon wisely declared, "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) We often use the word "season" to describe the ebb and flow of life. In nature, every season is marked by specific phenomena and each serves its own purpose.
2020 does not need to be the year you reinvent yourself. Maybe this is the year for bold moves and dreams to take shape. Or maybe this is a year of obscurity and rest. Be led by the Spirit in understanding what God wants you to do. We should not concern ourselves with what others are doing or think we ought to be doing. Consider what is necessary and beneficial right now. If we try to focus on all our goals, then we aren't really focused at all. We will end up discouraged, discontented, and disillusioned.
After much reflection and prayer, I've decided that my word for this year is plant - meaning, to sow a seed; and to establish. This overarching theme has narrowed my focus and informed my priorities so that I can set specific goals. My prayer for 2020 is to grow in wisdom and grace so that the seeds I sow this year flourish in the seasons to come. I'm excited to see what God will accomplish in me and through me as I am obedient and faithful in what He has set before me.
P.S. For some resources and encouragement regarding setting goals and following through, check out these- (I have no affiliation with this podcast, I just found these helpful!)