Now that Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to pull down our holiday decorations and turn our attention to the New Year.
This time of year is always exciting. It’s a time of renewal and vision-casting. A time to reflect and look forward. This is a season when we begin to set our intentions for the coming year.
Many people are likely making resolutions and setting goals for what they will do in 2020. Some want to eat healthier and lose weight. Others vow to read the bible more. Still others set goals with regard to their financial habits.
And all of these are worthy goals. In fact, I could probably stand to lose a few pounds, save a few more bucks, and read a few more chapters of scripture a week.
But this year, rather than setting destination goals with numerical values, I’d like to set some directional intentions for where I’d like to head in 2020 and beyond.
So here are 3 resolutions I’m making for 2020. And maybe there are some things in these resolutions that you’d like to commit to as well.
1. I resolve to think, dream, and believe bigger.
2019 brought with it many changes for me. Tamara and I graduated school. I changed jobs. We changed churches. We had a baby. Life in December looks completely different than it did in January.
And here’s the thing that I’m not proud to admit. Through almost all of these transitions, I experienced fear, doubt, and worry. Fear that the right opportunity wouldn’t come. Doubt that I would rise to the challenges set before me. Worry that our finances wouldn’t stretch in the ways we needed them to.
But at the end of the year, I look back and see how God provided the opportunities, finances, and strength for every new situation I found myself in. My family has lacked for nothing.
In fact, in many ways, 2019 has been a year of abundance for us. I feel like I have a much richer life than I had a year ago. I can echo the words of King David in Psalm 34.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.”
So in 2020, rather than worrying about whether everything will work out, I’m resolving to think bigger. To dream bigger. To believe bigger.
I don’t serve a small God. So I’m not expecting to simply survive 2020 like I hoped I would in 2019. I’m expecting to thrive and experience God’s goodness in ways I can’t even imagine yet.
And that doesn’t mean that I’m expecting to get rich or avoid any struggles. I’m just expecting that my God is big enough to fill my life with blessing and joy regardless of what circumstances I find myself in.
2. I resolve to value connection over achievement.
Much of my life in the past few years has revolved around achievement. As I attended seminary, I wanted to be the best student of anybody there. At church, I wanted to preach the best sermons anyone had ever heard. With Her & Hymn, I’ve wanted to create the most insightful content that would reach a maximum number of people.
And while these aren’t bad goals (particularly when they’re placed within their proper context), there are some things in life that are more important.
And the most important things in life aren’t actually things. They’re people.
And that’s always been the reason I’ve felt called to pastoral ministry. I want to help people see the beauty of Jesus. But here’s what I’m learning. While the achievements I pursue toward that end are important, what’s most effective in helping people see Jesus is simply caring about them.
So in 2020, I’m resolving to put achievement in its proper place and to invest more effort in relationships with people I care about. To cultivate hospitality.
3. I resolve to take time to rest and focus.
I’d like to think of myself as a hard worker. I always aspire to not only meet but exceed other people’s expectations of me. And while this may seem like a super transparent humble-brag, I only bring it up to illustrate something that I believe to be true.
The very same quality that serves as a person’s superpower is most often simultaneously their achilles heel.
For me, I tend to overcommit myself. I say yes to just about any and every good opportunity, and I want to excel at them all. I want people to see me as competent, capable, and cool under pressure.
But in saying yes to a bunch of good things, I neglect giving my first and best effort to the best things. And in the process, I end up burning myself out. I’m learning that busy and tired are not to be worn as badges of honor. They’re actually a sign that something is going wrong.
So this coming year, I’m resolving to infuse some much needed focus into my life. To flex my “no” muscle. To schedule margin. To take measures that ensure adequate rest. To give from the overflow of what Jesus is filling me with and not from a place of emptiness.
A Better Tomorrow
Every January, many of us set goals to which we never actually attain. We get swept up in the emotion of the moment and make sweeping declarations about how life is going to be better in the New Year. As the cliche goes, “New Year, New Me.”
The only problem is that when you wake up on January 2, you’re still the same person you were two weeks ago–the person who overate at dessert and yelled at their family. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight.
But at the same time, if you believe like I do in the promise that Jesus came to give us an abundant kind of life, that means that there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.
In fact, the work that Jesus does in our hearts throughout the course of our lives is to cause us to become the kind of people we were always created to be. To overcome the brokenness and deformities of our souls that have resulted from the hurts and pains we have experienced. To step into a life of meaning and purpose that makes an eternal impact.
You have a special place and purpose in the mission of Jesus and in all the ways he wants to bring about redemption in the world.
And while the journey won’t always be a straight line from where we are to where Jesus wants us to be, Jesus will nevertheless be with us, pushing us along and speaking encouragement over our hearts.
May God bless you and fill your heart with joy as you look back on 2019 with gratitude and look ahead to 2020 in anticipation.