Happy New Year! I wasn’t really planning on skipping the entire month of December, but it’s now January 9th and I haven’t blogged since the end of November. Oops! Life got the better of me in December…get-togethers, shopping, a teething baby with what seemed like a never ending cold (which turned my happy boy into a cranky little bear who wouldn’t sleep or be put down), and special times with my sister who was visiting from Texas for the month! It was very busy but so much fun. I’m still in denial that Christmas is over. How did it go so fast?! I blinked and here we are in January. Gone are the Christmas decorations, holiday excitement, neatly wrapped presents, and family gatherings. In their place comes routine, long winter evenings, and new year’s resolutions.
Ah, resolutions. There is, of course, something about a new year that makes one evaluate what in their life needs changed or improved. This year I have a long list, as usual. Eat healthier. Be more consistent in my Bible and prayer time. Exercise more. Be more intentional in my relationships with people. Put my phone down more often. Waste less time. Blog more consistently. Become a better listener. And on it goes.
There’s isn’t anything necessarily wrong with making resolutions. It’s a great time to reevaluate, begin healthy habits, and make a few changes. But here’s the problem. How many of you actually keep the resolutions you so enthusiastically make on January 1st? Not me. Nope, I’m the one you might find skipping my work out while eating chocolate and mindlessly scrolling Facebook on January 30th despite my best intentions at the beginning of the month.
It’s so very easy for me to fall into a pattern of giving up. Well, it’s the middle of January and I’ve only worked out a few times so there goes that resolution. It’s just too hard to disconnect from social media so maybe I shouldn’t have made that resolution in the first place. Oops, I ate a few too many cookies and fast food on Monday so I guess I’ll just eat whatever I want this week and start new next week or maybe the next or the next.
But here’s something I’ve been learning recently in my quest to make some good and healthy changes in my life. We aren’t stuck waiting around for a new year if we mess up. We aren’t even forced to wait for the next month or week! Each and every day welcomes the chance to start anew. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning, every hour, every moment. We can ask forgiveness if necessary, pray for strength and help, and begin again.
So I ate a donut for breakfast on Monday? I don’t need to wait until the next day to start eating healthy. I can begin again at lunchtime. So it’s Friday and I haven’t worked out all week? I can work out on Friday instead of telling myself to wait until Monday to try again. So I’ve found that I’ve wasted quite a bit of time lately scrolling through nothingness on my phone? I can begin again that very moment by making a choice to put the device down and do something wiser with my time.
So let’s not fall into the trap of giving up. Of waiting around for the next day, the next week, or the next year. Jesus transforms our lives moment by moment, day by day, year by year. I certainly wish we could just make the decision to change something about ourselves and then boom! the next day we’ve been transformed. But that’s just not how it works. We have to fight our battles each and every day. Make a choice in every moment. Start over and over and over and over again.
And then at some point, almost without notice, after many daily battles and do-overs (and with much help from the Lord), you’ll look back over the year and realize you have changed. The choices that you made each moment slowly add up to reveal that you really did keep some of those new year’s resolutions after all.
And so that’s my encouragement to you (and challenge for myself!) in this new year. Don’t give up on those resolutions. Keep at it. Start over the millionth time if you have to. Change doesn’t happen in one day. We’re given the chance to begin again with each new moment. What a beautiful thing!
One of my favorite quotes (from one of my favorite movies) says:
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables
Let’s all remember that as we go about keeping our resolutions! Happy new year once again!