A time to celebrate a brand new year. (Hurray!) And a time to set resolutions. (Groan.)
For many years my resolutions included typical things like “lose weight, pray more, and read through the Bible this year.”
But the trouble with my resolutions seemed to be that they faded. Sometimes as early as February, my lofty goals were a distant memory or I was already behind so “why bother?”
You’ve probably felt that fade too. For many of us, resolutions fizzle. Maybe there’s too much life happening around us. Maybe we weren’t all that committed in the first place. Or maybe resolutions focus too much on changing behavior (and we just don’t like being told what to do).
Whatever the reason, I got tired of making resolutions that never stuck. So I ditched them. About six years ago I decided to try something new. And it worked so well, I’ve never looked back.
God began to show me that He never intended Christians to do constant behavior modification. It’s clear from Scripture that He’s much more concerned with our hearts than outward performance. (1 Samuel 16:7, Matthew 12:35)
That’s why one year I decided to try a focus on “being” in place of “doing.” Instead of working really hard to change my behavior, I tried creating a clear vision of who I wanted to become. And you know what I found? “Being” works. When I focused on “be,” my outward actions fell into line naturally. And it stuck. Resolution fizzle be gone! (Can I hear a “woot, woot?”)
What if you made 2017 a “being” year? A year to focus on who God says you are. A year to let your “be” inform your “do.”
Here are 10 spiritual goals for your new year that can help you practice a clearer vision of who you’d like to be:
1. Live like you’re loved (and liked) by God.
You are completely loved by God. And He even likes you on top of all of that love! Make this the year you sit right down in the middle of that love and soak it into your soul. Nothing can separate you from His love. Nothing can keep you from it. And nothing will ever stop God’s immense love for you. (Romans 8:35, 38-39)
2. Act like you’re truly free.
At the moment of salvation, Jesus set you free for good! This year grab onto true freedom with both hands and don’t let anyone or anything wrench it away – not your job, not toxic relationships, not unsettled sin, not even religious expectation. You are destined to live in freedom, so go be free! (Galatians 5:1)
3. Walk like you’re righteous.
Just imagine how peaceful and glorious life would be without any of the guilt? When you accepted Christ, God declared you righteous. You can walk into life this year like you have nothing to feel guilty about – because you don’t! You can stop clinging to past mistakes and failures and start walking out the truth of your position in Christ – as a righteous one. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
4. Thrive like you’re chosen.
As a believer, you have been chosen by God Himself. He wanted you. He desired you. He picked you. Accepting that truth deeply will create a safe place around your heart. It will also create a secure foundation for your life and help you weather the storms of others’ disapproval easily. And as you bask in your chosen-ness, life begins to thrive. (1 Peter 2:9)
5. Step forward confidently like you’re victorious.
Sure, you can expect battles and trials this year. God never promised unending ease. But He did promise you victory for the battle. You can step out in great confidence, knowing that Jesus secures the victory in anything you face. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
6. Endure like you’re brave and strong.
You have a hidden source of bravery and strength for those tough days. While others are tossed to and fro by life circumstances, you endure. You are strong. You live courageously. Because the God of the universe has promised to always be by your side. And resting in that knowledge will make you strong and brave any day. (Joshua 1:9)
7. Rest like your power Source is infinite.
With all of your victorious fighting and courageous bravery, take some time to rest. On those days when you feel your humanness most deeply, rest in the God of all grace who gives His abundant grace. Let the unending power of the Omnipotent flow through you, and know that He is always enough. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
8. Function like you’re purposefully designed.
You are created by the most amazing Designer to ever exist. He pieced you together carefully and wonderfully with a specific purpose in mind. You can exist joyful in the knowledge that your amazing Creator created you to be amazing as well. So go live amazing you! (Psalm 139:14)
9. Stand like your faith is unshakeable.
Circumstances happen. Life throws curve balls. The unexpected takes you by surprise. But you have faith. And the Object of your faith never fails. Stand strong in trust. Lean firmly on the Faithful One. Exercise your faith until it’s rock solid. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
10. Believe like you belong to the God who makes all things possible!
Make this the year you take God at His Word. Believe that He is who He says He is – the God of the Impossible – and that you belong to Him. Ask Him for things that only He can do, and watch as He creates new possibility just for you. After all, He is a God so very worth trusting! (Matthew 19:26)
My prayer is that 2017 be a spiritually strong year for you. May the year – and your self – BE your best yet!
Janna Wright told her first story—something about kittens and lost mittens—at age two. As an author and speaker she still loves sharing stories, especially through her “biz-nistry,” Grace Thread, and her recent book, Grace Changes Everything. Janna adores deep talks, the Colorado mountain air outside her back door, and most of all, helping women of faith thrive in their God-given adventure stories.
Image courtesy: Unsplash.com
Publication date: January 13, 2017