As we ring in the New Year, I’ve noticed that there are generally two types of people when it comes to “New Year Resolutions (NYR’s).” There are those who swear that this year will be the best year of their lives. They swear that they will accomplish everything on their endless lists of goals from going to the gym everyday to giving up chocolate (those brave souls). Then, there are the skeptics. Everyone knows at least one— “I know I’m going to break my resolutions, so what’s the point of making them?” I’m not saying that these are the only types of people when it comes to NYR’s, but I have definitely been on both sides of this spectrum. I like to think that my spiritual goals are very similar to NYR’s.
After a retreat, I sail on this spiritual high and promise myself that I’ll be the “super Christian” I always aspire to be. I’ll plan on having hours of quiet time, ministering to hundreds of people everyday, or even building schools for children in Africa in the name of God’s kingdom. Needless to say, I get carried away. But sometimes, I live with the opposite mentality. I’ll hide from God because I believe my pride, my laziness, and my insecurities are too difficult for even Him to overcome. Luckily, our God is a jealous one. He constantly chases us and calls us back to Him with open arms, even when we feel like we’re worth nothing to Him. I can’t hide from Him even when I try. Look at Jonah. He even tried to run from God by taking a trip across the world, but no matter how hard he tried, God was right behind him, pouring more and more grace into his life.
So this year, I’m not going to hide from God. Does that mean I’m not going to screw up? Of course I am. But even though I know I will fall flat on my face over and over again, I’m going to continue to seek growth because I know that my God will always be there to cover my brokenness with His love. So what am I going to do this year? Am I going to try and sail on a spiritual high? As much as I wish that I could, I constantly have to remind myself that my faith is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal isn’t to become a super Christian overnight because that’s not realistic. The goal is to get a little better everyday, and know that when we live for God instead of ourselves, He provides us with everything we need.
So without further ado, here are my (reasonable) God goals for 2016:
1. Appreciate Someone Everyday/ Reach Out to Others
It’s amazing what one little piece of encouragement can do for someone. Though we may not personally know what’s going on in a person’s life, God knows everyone’s heart of hearts. He knows our brokenness and the obstacles we face everyday, and He continues to love us. As Christians, we hope that when others look at us, they see a little glimpse of what God can do. Even though we are all just one big body of messed up people, we are united by the grace and love of God. We are called to love each other just as He loves us relentlessly.
On a similar note, I also want to reach out to others more. There’s just one problem: I’m super awkward. Connecting with others can be so difficult for me. I become afraid of judgment or rejection. But God didn’t intend for us to live alone. If we look at everyone in the Bible, those who accomplished the most never did it by themselves. When we shut ourselves in away from others, we get so wrapped up in our own thinking that it becomes it harder to rely on God's plan, and instead we rely on our own.
2. Spend more time in the Word.
I often find myself in the midst of a problem I don’t know how to solve. I’ll whine to myself, “I wish that there was just a life manual!!!” Luckily, there is. :’) The Bible is filled with people just as, if not more, broken and messed up as we are. Adam couldn’t resist peer pressure. Paul used to persecute Christians. Cain was a murderer. Noah was a drunk. Moses had anger issues. The list continues. No matter what issue you face, I can promise you, you can find God’s guidance in the Bible. The Bible is also filled with encouragement. Whenever I’m discouraged, I read a Psalm or a Gospel. Psalms are short, sweet passages that just remind us how great God is. The Gospels are filled with mind-blowing miracles that remind us how powerful God is. When reading about these miracles, I feel like I have textual and visual evidence of the power of Christ and I can’t help but feel in awe of Him and encouraged to continue building His kingdom.
3. Read spiritual books.
Howard tells us over and over, “I can’t be here to spoon feed you forever!!” He’s right. He’s not getting any younger; he’s like 700 years old. HAHA, on a serious note though, we cannot rely on our pastors or our leaders or anyone else to grow our faith. In the end, we are responsible for equipping ourselves to equip others (the definition of discipleship). That’s why I want to read more spiritual books— I’m also just a bit of a bookworm, heh.
4. Establish a Sabbath/ Quiet Time/ Prayer Time
I know Sabbath sounds like an ancient and complicated word, but it simply means a day of rest and worship. So often, my worldly responsibilities overwhelm me, and I forget to hang out with God and to be thankful for all that He has given me. But quiet time with God is so important. Seriously, how can I expect to hear from God if I never talk to Him? That’s why one of my goals for this year is establish a day of the week when I shut everything down and spend my time solely with God.
This semester, I hid from God. I stopped writing. I buried myself in worldly, materialistic things. I was too scared to come back to God because of judgment and rejection. This year, I’m not going to hide from God. Sure, I’ll fail. But I know that to God I’ll always be worth something, and to me—that’s worth everything. I encourage everyone to be confident in the fact that God has a purpose for you this year. Have some goals, have some prayer, and get excited for the adventure God is about to take you on in 2016. Sleep easy, fam. God bless.