The One Resolution that Can Change Your Year … and Your Life

December 30, 2014 | Approval, Encouragement, Tell His Story | 28 comments

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The winter wind has been growling every night, growling at the dark, slamming against the windows. Rattling the house. And rattling us.

This is the way the New Year might come for some of us. It can slam us hard. Rattle us to the bone.

Pale Reflection

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Before I flip the page on the calendar, the New Year reminds me of promises I made last year. And broke. Rosy self-promises can shatter into a thousand, metal-gray shards, weeks before the groundhog checks his shadow.

You know the ones–

How you promised to read the Bible in the year, but only made it 2 Kings. How you vowed to lose ten pounds but gained five. You may have even written it all down, making your pen a chisel. And a desperate prayer. How you wanted to write a book, run a 5K, serve meals to the lonely every week. 

God knows you tried hard, but life happened, and February came, and there were all these piles of dishes and laundry, and a parent who got sick, and legitimate excuses, and a teenage son who slams doors too hard, and too many restless nights staring at the slow whir of a ceiling fan.

And where did that list go again?  

The New Year taunts with a question: Do you even remember what you promised a year ago?

Every New Year stretches out in front of us — and most of us have no idea what’s ahead. The possibilities are endless in the coming months — countless possibilities of great joy or immense sadness. Which way will it all go? We don’t know what might derail our lives … or what beautiful surprises might sweep us off our feet.

Life is a marble cake — with joy and sadness all mixed in to the batter, to make the pattern of our days. You don’t have all joy, all the time. But thanks be to God, we aren’t stuck with all sadness either. We need God, someone to thank in the good, and someone to lean on during the bad.

But it’s a hard cake to chew sometimes, this life on planet Earth.

The New Year will tell you that you can have your cake, and eat it, too. It will tell you that the real trick to a better you is to try harder, work faster, get skinnier, dig deeper in your pockets.

And while you toil, the New Year crouches out on the wind, waiting to slam you again the next time you flip the page from December to January.  You look at the pounds you didn’t lose, the debt you didn’t chip away, the cigarettes on your dashboard.

And you might think you’re a complete failure.

But this time? This time it really could be different. 2015 is a new start.

This year of new days? This could be the year we put the brakes on the shame, and let go of the anxiety about what’s ahead.

There’s a better way to a new you. It doesn’t begin with a list of promises you’ve made to yourself, but a list of promises already fulfilled for you. For you!

God made the resolution — to save a weary world — and He kept it. He’s the only God who keeps His promises, and then doesn’t require you to add to it — only to RECEIVE it.

Your resolution is the gift of Christmas, pouring itself out across your coming year. It is the one box on your to-do list that you can mark “already finished” before the new year begins.

You have already been equipped for the good works God has for you in 2015. These are good works designed with you in mind, not “good works” that the enemy might use as a scorecard to prove that you’ve failed again.

Resolutions, like laws, can try to make you obey. But laws and resolutions can’t make you good. You are good, because you are God’s. And because you are God’s, you are being changed in ways that you can’t measure on your bathroom scale.

What if we refused to let 2014 define us? And what if we refuse to let 2015 taunt us? 

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What if we said “yes” to the one resolution that can change our year and our life?

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This year, on the lined paper where I will ink my resolutions, I’ll write the name of Jesus Christ. He is my resolution.

You don’t have to try harder, friend. Your New Year promises can be more than resolutions. They can be complete revolutions, a complete turning around to Jesus and His already-finished promises, tied like a string around your heart.

Sure lose weight, if you need to. But rather than focusing on the number on the scale, maybe we could all lose the weight that is really dragging us down — the weight of guilt or the shame of our own broken promises, the weight of worry over the unknown in the coming year. “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up,” wrote the author of Hebrews 12.

Make your plans, but hold them loosely. The possibilities for your one beautiful life are limited only by the size of your God, who has great plans for you and has already resolved to carry you through them.

The wind may howl and growl in the pitch of December. But look east to the line where the earth touches sky. The very thing that is beyond your control? It is bigger than your fear, stronger than your own might, more effective than your best-laid plans. And it is rising, fearlessly, into your world —

Light.

Have you come by for TellHisStory? Linkup details here!

 

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28 Comments

  1. Karrilee Aggett

    So Much Amen, my friend! Just so much! I love you so! Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Happy New Year to you as well, Karrilee. It’s been a joy to connect with you online, and in real life, and I hope that God crosses our paths in 2015.

      Reply
  2. Beth

    Thank you. Just thank you. Ever so grateful for how you share your heart. Happy New Year to you. Much love. xoxo

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Much love to you as well, Beth. xo

      Reply
  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Love this so much, Jennifer. It’s so hope-filled and encouraging (as usual)! And the wonderful thing is that even, in my weakness and sinfulness, when I sadly I don’t even make Jesus my resolution, the fact of the matter is that He has made me His! He has resolved to love me. He has resolved to forgive me. He has resolved not to abandon me. He has resolved to transform me (even when I go kicking and screaming). Because He is resolved, I’m absolved, and I can now rest in Him (fully pardoned, fully free).
    I love your idea of revolving around to look fully to Jesus, and I think of the beautiful hymn line: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full at His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” There is your word, His word, light again! I’m resolved to revolve and look into the Light! So much of your words to feed on here for sustenance in this New Year. All my love to you, Scott, Lydia, and Anna. Happy, healthy New Year, dear one.
    Lynn

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      This: “…when I sadly I don’t even make Jesus my resolution, the fact of the matter is that He has made me His!” Yes, yes, yes. Exactly that!

      Reply
  4. Anita

    Beautiful! May God fill you with himself as you continue to minister to others, and may you trust completely in him to help you find solutions for the perplexities that you face.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Anita! God bless you, and may you have the very best 2015!

      Reply
  5. Marni Gallerneault

    So beautifully said! A perfect, gentle reminder that I needed as I made my list of all the things I need to fix … a needed perspective shift of truth. Thank-you so much.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Bless your heart, Marni. So glad you’re here. I pray that you have a wonderful 2015!

      Reply
  6. Mary

    Beautiful! I am looking to the light this coming year. Everything I have been hearing and reading these last few weeks are pointing to exactly what you wrote about. May Jesus be the resolution we write and seek this year. Happy New Year blessings of hope and joy to you!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Happy New Year, Mary. May it be a year of joy, peace, contentment and a reminder of all that God has resolved to do for you. He is so good.

      Reply
  7. Prasanta Verma

    This is a beautiful and encouraging post! Thank you for these words as I look ahead to the new year and all of those “plans” and “lists”- this perspective is just what I needed.

    Reply
  8. Sharon

    As I was reading this most inspiring and beautiful post, the word that kept coming to my mind was *freeing*. That’s what I felt. Your words were like a breath of fresh of air, giving permission to let go of all the junk that creeps into my mind and heart as I look at a new year. These lines were my favorites: “What if we refused to let 2014 define us? And what if we refuse to let 2015 taunt us?” Oh yes.

    JOY was the word that God gave me for 2014. And even though it was one of the most difficult I have ever had, I must focus on the positive definition of JOY, and how that can be carried forward. I have to learn to let go of the *what-ifs* – for that is how the enemy taunts me at the beginning of each year.

    You have brought such peace to my heart tonight about all of this. Thank you.

    Happy New Year, and GOD BLESS!

    Reply
  9. JViola79

    This is just beautiful in every single way & word. Our Light has come and He is all we need in this coming year. Whatever may come, He will meet us in the midst of it & He is enough. Grateful you share your words so faithfully. May you & yours have a most blessed New Year!

    Reply
  10. Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

    YES. YES. YES. He is my resolution too. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him. Thanks for the needed reminder. Blessings to you!

    Reply
  11. Tammy

    What if we refused to let 2014 define us? I love that. Be free in Christ. Let Him lead and guide. I usually fail at my resolutions so I just want to be better with Christ this year in 2015. Happy New year!

    Reply
  12. Abby

    This post just makes me want to give a big sigh of relief. Thank you, thank you.

    Reply
  13. Jolene Underwood

    Beautiful Jennifer. Yes & amen, friend. Yes & amen. Linking arms with you. Looking up. Walking with Him.

    Reply
  14. Colleen Connell Mitchell

    LIGHT is my one word for 2015! And this is exactly why! I just adore your heart, friend. We speak the same soul language.

    Reply
  15. Katie Reid

    Oh Jennifer- this post was written beautifully (as usual) but more importantly it was so freeing and full of truth and hope. “Sure lose weight, if you need to. But rather than focusing on the number
    on the scale, maybe we could all lose the weight that is really
    dragging us down — the weight of guilt or the shame of our own broken
    promises, the weight of worry over the unknown in the coming year.” Thank you for these “His yoke is easy and His burden is light” words. 🙂

    Reply
  16. sue

    Great post – (I think we had the same list last year…) I’d love to feature this next week with your permission. sue@welcomeheart.com

    Reply
  17. Tiffany

    Such beautiful encouragement – truly! “These are good works designed with you in mind, not “good works” that the enemy might use as a scorecard to prove you failed.” Oh, yes, yes. Such a precious gift to walk forward knowing that He has gone before and that there is truth in following after Him rather than being stuck believing the wretched lies of the enemy. Thank you for so sharing your truth this year and being His faithful servant.

    Reply
  18. Elizabeth Stewart

    “You don’t have to try harder, friend. Your New Year promises can be more than resolutions. They can be complete revolutions, a complete turning around to Jesus and His already-finished promises, tied like a string around your heart.” Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Reply
  19. Denise Jarman

    I’m not good with words but I was impacted by yours. Thank you for reminding me about the Jesus revolution!

    Reply
  20. Sandra Heska King

    “Life is a marble cake.” I love that. And sometimes it seems like it’s been swirled too much so the dark overtakes the light. We need to mix more Jesus in that cake. Love you big, friend, and I can’t wait to see you again.

    Reply
  21. Jennifer Dougan

    Hi Jennifer,

    Nice to meet you. I was sidling along in your post here, hearing the wind knocking. Thanks for your sweet spirit here, and your pointing to Jesus. This line of yours grabbed me most this afternoon: “our resolution is the gift of Christmas, pouring itself out across your
    coming year. It is the one box on your to-do list that you can mark “already finished” before the new year begins.” –Yes!

    Happy New Year, Jennifer,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    Reply
  22. Laurie Collett

    So beautiful, Jennifer. All we really need to do is follow His lead. Thanks for hosting & Happy New Year!

    Reply

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