Summary: We are often disappointed with new beginnings, especially with our resolutions to change in the coming year. The reason might be that we are looking to change the wrong things. We look at circumstances instead of looking at who we are within.
Happy New Year! Some have heard me say before that this is my favorite time of year. It is … it feels sorta like we can start over … doesn’t it? In some ways we feel like we are starting fresh and because of this everything is possible. We haven’t done anything or failed to do anything that has made something impossible. At least that is how we like to think of it. That’s why we get so excited about this “New Beginning” that comes about every January 1.
I’m not really sure why it feels this way, nothing is really new. We are the same today as we were on December 31, although we have probably made promises to ourselves to be different. There is nothing real special about Jan 1st, nothing to make it any different from December 31, except how we measure progress.
The cycle of the seasons seems like a good cycle to measure our progress and we set goals to accomplish prior to the end of the year and then make resolutions for how we are going to be different next year. As each year comes to a close it just seems like a time to be retrospective and evaluate or reevaluate some of our life choices and vow to make changes. We like to call these resolutions. Resolutions are our commitment to ourselves to make all those changes that we have failed to make tomorrow or next week or next month.
Have you made new year’s resolutions this year? I won’t ask for examples of what they are but I imagine the would include things like getting in shape, eating healthier food, stop procrastinating (that’s one I plan to do tomorrow!), or improve concentration and focus. How about being more active or becoming more confident. Maybe saving more money or reducing stress … Do any of these sound familiar?
We resolve to be different people every year come December and by February or earlier we realize that we are the same … nothing has changed … really … I mean really … changed. And I think that is because we are looking at the wrong things! We are trying to change the wrong things. We are trying to change our circumstances and not ourselves. How do we change who we are on the inside? Because that’s how we change our circumstances!
Now, you might say that we shouldn’t change who we are, but some of us are longing to do just that. We have an emptiness or a longing or just an uneasy feeling that won’t go away. Anxious or nervous or uncomfortable, even if things are going well, but especially when they aren’t. We hope, perhaps, that with the coming of the new year, with this new beginning, with our resolutions to change, we will find a little more of those things that have seemed to elude us. Be a little happier or more fulfilled or more comfortable … more peaceful.
The problem with searching for change in our normal ways is that we tend to return quickly to what we’re used to. We’ve become comfortable being uncomfortable. We return to our NATURAL STATE and when we do we realize that familiar anxiety … that uneasiness. Paul says it this way in Romans 7 - “… I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” He didn’t keep his new year’s resolution! He doesn’t do what he wants to do, what he has resolved to do, but that which he vowed not to do, that he does! He’s not keeping his New Year’s Resolutions!
Mankind has experienced this at every new beginning since the beginning. No matter how hard we’ve tried, no matter how good our intentions, we have continually proved unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin not understanding what it is that we do!
Adam and Eve were created “so that they may rule over the [creation].” That is what is says in Genesis 1:26. The Lord God had finished all creation and yet nothing had yet sprung up for there was no one to work the ground. It says in Ch 2 verse 5 - “5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,” So God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils and man become a living being.
How is that for a new beginning? And so it was through man that God began to work so that life would spring up from His creation! Paul says in Ephesians 2:10 - “10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We were created so that God could work through us to do His will.