Philippians 3:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I’ve learned not to make New Year’s Resolutions. According to the experts, whoever they are, most resolutions fizzle by February. I’m too obsessive to participate in something with such poor returns.
What I have learned to do is make Old Year Resolutions. They are just as hard and sometimes more difficult to keep, but the returns are deep. After a year like the one I’ve just survived, it’s crucial for me to make and keep my Old Year Decisions.
Failed resolve may not apply to every aspect of defeated goals like losing weight or cutting down on sugar. Many of us fail at these types of pipe-dreams. Less spending, more saving, more giving, or less selfishness are common hopes yet my culture seems inept as a whole in making those ideals become a reality. It’s so much easier to stay with the familiar and usual.
A major difference between an old year and a new year resolution is acknowledging the real source of Who is going to make it all happen. Failure to meet goals is often rooted in the belief that we have the ability to be in control of life. Old Year Resolutions center on the fact the Lord will be the same in the future as well as today and substantiate He is also the same in our past.
A New Year goal looks to a promise in the future where an Old Year goal is resolved to the fact a Sovereign Loving Creator held us as the storms raged and the promises were broken. Old Year goals help me to resolve to leave the past with Him. They help me recognize the disappointment, loss, pain, and anger that mounts up to the bitter spirit I do not want to bring into my tomorrow.
I know from Scripture that my times are in His hands so I do not need to fret about the future. His Word tells us that man makes plans but God directs. An old proverb says if you want to make God laugh, make plans.
Henry Blackaby has taught me God is always at work around me. He is working today and will be working in the future, but He has also been working in the past. My task has been to learn to trust Him during those painful times when I don’t understand what He’s up to.
I saw this illustrated at feeding time for my animals. My dog waits in the room where he will partake of a meal while I prepare the food in another room. A door separates us because he will charge in and devour what I’ve planned to give him. Not only does he make a mess of things, he can become sick from gouging too quickly on too much food. As he waits, knowing I will eventually come through the door with his object of desire, he whines and sits up against the door in torment. He’s never missed a meal in ten years yet I imagine him drowning in a sea of doubts as he pines. He doubts his future instead of depending on the faithfulness of his master in the past.
Hence, I focus on Old Year Resolutions to keep me focused on God’s faithfulness and great ability to provide and comfort. I’ve been fed by His Hand a lot longer than my dog has been by mine so I know I’ll never miss what I need in the future. Sometimes I’m tempted to beg and whine. I’ve learned to stay behind the door until He enters because I’ve rushed through in the past making a mess of my life and have made myself sick with regrets. I can release my doubts and fears to rest in the provision I trust Him to provide.
I’ve been known to bark on occasion but I’m quickly quieted by His soft soothing words of comfort. Similar to the words I say to my dog, He assures me He is coming and is working for my best outcome. I can have courage to face the tomorrows because my Old Years have been resolved to His care.
I won’t discourage you from seeking new goals in your next year. Maybe you won’t be a statistic. But when you arrive at the time in your life when you have more yesterdays than tomorrows, those Old Year Resolutions to leave life in the Hands of the One who loves you most will be of tremendous comfort. I look forward to each new day with courage not because of what I will do but because of what He has already done.
Photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.com, By franky242, published on 10 January 2014
Stock Photo – image ID: 100226284