Another year is dawning, and I am struck by both a sense of fulfillment and one of regret. As I look back over the past year, I spy dreams that have been brought to fruition and goals that have been met. I see accomplishments and growth in many areas. Yet, I also see several areas that remain untouched despite my dreams and aspirations of improvement.
I promised myself that I would lose weight this year and that I would adopt a healthy diet and exercise routine that would grant me better health and more energy. Sure, I’ve exercised healthy discipline from time to time over the past year, but as I stand on the precipice of the end of 2014, I realize that not only did I not lose weight and improve my health, but if anything, things are worse now. And unfortunately, that is not the only New Year’s resolution that I failed to keep.
That’s the thing about resolutions. They can motivate us to do the things we know we need to do, but they can also leave us full of regret when we fail to live up to our own expectations. Understanding this, I wonder if it’s worth making resolutions at all. By doing so, am I truly challenging myself, or am I simply setting myself up for failure?
As I pondered the thought this morning, I stumbled across a quote by John Wesley. Wesley was an 18th century Anglican preacher who is accredited with founding the Wesleyan movement. Because of his blunt presentation of the gospel, Wesley was often banned from returning to sites at which he had preached. Nevertheless, Wesley never gave up. He continued to find new ways to share the gospel of Christ with whomever would lend him an ear. He resolved to follow God’s will for His life, no matter how difficult it became to do so.
With such an attitude toward life, Wesley encouraged his followers to do what they could to serve the Lord. The message and fervor of his many challenges can be summed up in this aphorism: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
If that’s not a resolution, I don’t know what is! As I stumbled upon Wesley’s quote this morning, I realized that my problem was not in the making of resolutions but rather in what I was resolving to do. In the past, I have only been focused on my dreams and goals, but Wesley’s message reminds me that my life is not about me. It’s about serving the Lord and doing for others, and that’s what my New Year’s resolution should be about.
Now I understand that my list of resolutions can be summed up with a single sentence: “Lord, I resolve to give my life to You to use however, whenever, wherever and to whomever You wish.” With that settled, let the new year begin!