Better Than New Year’s Resolutions

20161225_113713-1Maybe it’s always this way, or perhaps I’m just more alert this year, but everywhere I look this Christmas, I see stress. Anxiety. Depression. Grieving. Hard stuff. People bustling about with Christmas carols playing, speaking cheerful holiday greetings, while inside they’re hurting or feeling squeezed, maybe even ready to blow.

There’s a lot of pressure over the holidays, isn’t there? Not just on Christmas day, but the entire month of December and bleeding into January. Actually, the pressure increases exponentially in the new year, when, after coming to terms with all our faults, all our failed newyearsresolutionpicefforts to do better or love more or spend less or whatever–we determine to try again. To make a plan this time, and maybe even to write that on a slip of paper, turning our goals into New Year’s resolutions.

Because then we’re sure to keep them, right? ha!

Am I the only one that finds this cycle exhausting and self-defeating?

What if we did away with resolutions all together and instead, determined to walk just a little closer to Jesus each day. What if, instead of drawing this line in the sand, stating that, starting January 2nd, everything will be different, we focused on moving forward? Taking small but steady steps?

Because, honestly, that first step is the hardest. In fact, it’s hard enough, without adding a bunch of expectation to it.

But once we take that first step, every step after becomes easier.

So what’s the first step? For me, meditating on and praying Scripture, because I’m convinced, the more I think like Jesus, the more I act like Jesus. Perhaps you’ve heard it this way: Right thinking equals right actions.

Meditating on Scripture is more than reading a passage in the morning then going about one’s day. It means pausing to really take God’s Words in, praying that He’ll help us live it, and repeating these steps throughout the day.

Eventually, God’s Words will become a part of us–internalized, and He’ll use them to newyearsthoughtsspeak to us, to guide and correct us, and before we know it, our behaviors have changed and we’ve become a bit more like our Savior.

This year, this is my plan, and I’m not waiting until January first to begin. Starting today, I’m determined to lean in a bit closer to Christ, to carve out consistent time throughout the day to connect with Him, and to allow His Words to penetrate deep, changing me from the inside out. (Romans 12:1-2) I invite you to join me.

Now on a different note, can I share some happy news? It’s release day! Yay!

restoringlove_n174111Restoring Love, a contemporary romance/women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread (book two in my Midwestern Romance series):

Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself.

As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?

Now you’re turn! Do you typically make New Year’s Resolutions? Perhaps the better question is: Do you make and keep New Year’s Resolutions, and if so, any tips to share? If you don’t, do you have other ways to self-analyze and encourage personal growth, and if so, care to share? Join the conversation in the comments below because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

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About Jennifer Slattery

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery, also writing as Jen Pheobus, uses humor, grace, and truth to inspire God's children to live abundant, Christ-centered lives. She does content editing for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com; Internet Cafe Devotions; Faith, Friends and Chocolate; and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, a ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She’s placed in numerous writing contests and her work has appeared in numerous compilations, magazines, and e-zines.
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3 Responses to Better Than New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Pingback: Better Than New Year’s Resolutions | robinsnest212 - stories by design

  2. believe4147 says:

    I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Rather I do as you suggest and Paul instructs when he says to renew daily so the transformation takes place at a consistent pace. Failures don’t pile up and successes are quickly enjoyed. Little by little, consistently God does His work in me to conform my life to the image of Christ, not attained, yet, but one day the work will be finished. Thank your for your encouraging words.

    Like

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