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  • Deanna Kohlhofer

Don't Make Resolutions

Every year, as one year ends and another is full of promise before us, we begin to see goals and words and high hopes flood the social atmosphere. Everyone has a slightly different way of looking at the new year. I have tried the “one word” thing. I have made, and broken, countless resolutions. I have set my sights on a myriad of goals. And I have dreamed more dreams than I thought were even possible. Still, each year comes and goes just like the one before it, and I am often left with a bit of sadness.

It wasn’t that my goals were too lofty, or my word was too broad. I simply lacked focus – nothing more, nothing less. I wish it were different, but the truth is, January rushes in like a freight train and never stops long enough for me to climb aboard. I have great intentions at the end of December, when the lull of the holiday season is at its peak and I am breathing comfortably – no stress, just great anticipation for the new year. And then – bam! The new year comes…and all my good intentions are lost.

While I proclaim this year after year, this year – 2020 – is going to be the year that is different. Yes, I have some goals in mind – mostly physical because I’ve been dragging myself behind the wagon, trying to hold on with one finger while being tossed over the rocks of holiday indulgence. But I also have other goals written down and spoken to the trusted people in my life.

I did an interview with one of the coaches for my gym for a blog series we put together. One thing she said really struck me. She said, “Don’t make a New Year’s Resolution or a Summertime Resolution that you have no intention of keeping. Choose to make ‘healthy’ a lifestyle rather than something to check off your list.” She was referring specifically to health goals, but her words resonate with me as I stare at my list of hopes for the new year. I don’t just want to put a checkmark next to the item and call it good. These things on my list are more than things I will do and then forget. They are things I will do as I stretch out my hand and give the pen to God.

He is the one writing the story, and while I have goals and aspirations for 2020 just as I have for the previous 20 years, this year is different. This year I acknowledge I am not in control. Not one bit. This year I surrender to the story he wants to write. The story I have been foolishly resisting. Maybe you are in the same place, and if you are, the only bit of advice I can give is for you to let go.

I’ve heard those words before too. Countless times. Let go. Let God. What does that really mean? It means hitting the floor and trusting that he will guide you – all of you. Those goals you penned on a page. That word you have etched on your heart. When you acknowledge God is the one who is impressing those things on your heart in the first place, and then you give him the freedom to move in your life, those words won’t die on a piece of crumbled paper come March.

So, here is to a new year. 2020. A new decade to live out the story God penned for you. May your dreams come true, your goals be met, and your life be a rich reflection of Jesus in the world around you. Don’t make resolutions this year. Make commitments led in the power of the spirit.