Happy New Year!
What resolutions did you make for the coming year?
The week after Christmas, a close friend of mine said that he was going to start a Biblical devotional and couldn't wait to get started. One Bible devotional a day was the goal. When I spoke again with him this weekend, he mildly chuckled and said, "I've been so busy, I'm already four days behind in my year through the Bible devotional!"
What is it about the New Year that we think that through good intentions we can change ingrained patterns of behavior?
A 2007 study showed that 88% of us who set resolutions for the New Year fail even though the majority thought they would be successful.
I wasn't surprised that my friend's busyness continued to set the pace in his daily life. I think it is common place to read devotionals about slowing down and reconnecting with God these days. At times, it seems to me that the more we talk about slowing down, the more we speed up and continue to extend ourselves. Old habits die hard.
So should we refrain from making resolutions since 88% of us fail in the goals we set? Absolutely not! Goals are important for us to set even though many times we fall short of reaching them.
St. Paul knew something about falling short on goals when he wrote in Romans 7: 15 "I don't understand what I do. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do." Paul wasn't talking about New Year's resolutions, but rather he was speaking more about our human nature. We have good intentions but... for Paul, this is where grace comes in.
So for the New Year, I think I'm going to practice 2G: Goals and Grace. I have some ambitious goals and I'm sure that I will fall short on many of them. That's where the grace comes in. By the way, my friend called today and said he had caught up on his Biblical devotions. I suspect they are practicing 2G as well!
Prayer for Today
Most Gracious God, fill us with hope and aspiration for the New Year. Help us to set our sights on goals that are pleasing to you and grant us the balance of drive and limitations, so that in all our actions, we will seek to glorify you and share your good news in our daily lives. Amen.