Every year we’re given the opportunity to start afresh on January 1st. We’re afforded the ability to make resolutions and to do things differently in the new year. Most of the time those resolutions are to lose weight or to get in shape or to quit something – generally, the resolution is focused on improving our own life.
While those are not bad ideas, I want to suggest a few not-so-common resolutions we all should probably make that would not only make our life better, but also the lives of those around us.
This is first on my list for a reason. Prayer is an area that I struggle with on consistent basis. And I think if we are all honest, we probably all wish our prayer life was better. Prayer is immensely important. Prayer is how we know God and how we learn to know ourselves, our true selves.
I don’t want to make a resolution to just simply pray more. I want to pray better, meaning that I want to become better at spending time in heart-felt, life altering prayer. It’s easy to throw up half-hearted prayers on the fly on a consistent basis, but it’s a serious struggle to develop a discipline of spending time alone with God to know Him better.
Be More Intentional With Time
This world we live in offers countless ways to be entertained and spend our time. All it takes is flipping on the TV and before you know it you’ve invested 3 hours of your time into COPS re-runs from 1993. If that isn’t enough we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to take up any of our other time. I don’t think any of those things are bad or wrong; I just know that I often over-use online entertainment at the wrong times which keeps me from being productive or helpful to those around me.
My goal is to begin setting boundaries and limitations on what I consume.
The book you want to write, your family that you desired to be unified, and those finances you want organized – none of it will happen unless you build a margin of time for it to take place. I don’t want to waste my life by allowing every form of social media and entertainment to suck my free time away. It’s not like we have time to waste anyway. The Bible talks about our life being like a mist that appears for a few moments and then vanishes (James 4:14). We’re not ok with mindlessly spending our money, so why should we be ok with mindlessly spending our time?
Express Gratitude More Often
It’s surprising the way expressing gratitude can change your outlook on things. When you become intentional about telling God and telling people how much you appreciate them, the fulfillment it brings is unmatched.
The Bible instructs us to live a life of gratitude, to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Gratitude doesn’t just occur naturally either. It takes commitment, practice, and discipline. Our natural instinct is to be selfish; God’s instruction is to be grateful.
Spend More Time Being Present
In today’s age it’s possible to always be somewhere else than where you are truly are. We are the most connected, yet distracted generation this world has ever seen.
When a real life moment becomes too boring, all we have to do is take our phone out of our pocket and we instantly have an escape to another dimension and a more exciting experience. If we aren’t careful, we will miss the moment we have because we’re so busy wishing we were someone else cooler, better, and more exciting. I know how easy it is to become envious when you’re consuming a meal of Hamburger Helper and you see that your Facebook friends are having a date-night dinner of surf and turf.
It’s tempting to believe the lie that there is a moment better than the one you are in, but the truth is that God has designed our life to be lived in the moment we have – not the one we wished we had.
Be More Generous
Many practice generosity, but as a Christian there is always a way to be more generous. If we aren’t constantly giving our life away in the form of generosity then we will be easily convinced that we would be better served to hold on to our time, finances, and resources.
Fortunately, Jesus warns us of this in Matthew 16:25
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”
By being on constant journey of increased generosity we safeguard ourselves from buying into the lie that we should just live life for ourselves. Whether God has blessed us with an abundance of time or money or other resources He desires that we follow His example of generosity. Whatever God has blessed us with He intends for us to use to His glory, not our own.
What kind of New Year’s Resolutions do you plan to make?