A different kind of New Year's Resolution

2014It's that time of year!   That time when we set new goals for ourselves.  That time when we reflect on what we wish we had done differently in 2013 and how we plan to do it better in 2014. Ah yes, that time when parents feel that twinge of guilt and shame as memories of all the ways they failed their children in 2013 try to pry their way into heavy hearts, and that time when we plan and plot all the ways we will not fail them in 2014. Oh how quickly  "the thrill of hope" in which "the weary world rejoices" is smothered with the self-reliant list for a better you (and them!) in 2014.

But what if this year was different?  What if, this year, we slammed the door hard on the guilt and shame that will try to fuel our New Year's Resolutions?  What if we opened our hearts wide to the grace God wants to pour in? What if we let forgiveness and grace have it's rightful place in our souls, in our relationships, in our homes, in our workplace, in our everything, in 2014?

Really.  What if we did it differently this year?   What if our resolutions were more like prayers? Prayers for God, God Himself, to fill our hearts and our homes, our words and our actions, with grace upon grace upon grace.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with New Year's Resolutions.  In fact, in the words of Sammy Rhodes, "New Year's Resolutions are great as long as they're in light of Jesus' eternal resolution to love you no matter what."

 

So what if, in 2014, your resolution was to allow the mercy of the Lord to breath grace over the merciless critic in your head?   To find freedom in the faithful love of the One who gave His life for yours to do just. one. thing….. win your heart, your love, your trust.

 

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

Last year I wrote a blog about New Year's Prayers.  Here is a small excerpt:

It was Christmastime 2009 when I began to think differently about New Year’s Resolutions.  It was the year that God really began to open my eyes to the greatness of His grace – how much I needed it and how much He desired to give it - that God stirred all this in my heart....

……. how I can see each new year as an invitation to refocus my heart on growing deeper and more dependent on Christ?

……..how I can see each new year as a fresh opportunity to offer more of my heart, my story, and my life to the One who gave His heart, and His story, and His life for mine?

It made sense, I thought.  If the main purpose of my life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, I wanted to use each year to refocus my heart on doing just that.

 

He is faithful, friend.  Ask and you shall receive.  Seek Him and He will be found.  Found seeking you. He is seeking you.  Ready to answer your prayer for more of Him.  That is always a prayer He answers with resounding grace.

 

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  ~ Jeremiah 29:12-13

 

God gave me my prayer for 2014.  It's a song, which is often how I experience the spirit of God.  Worship is where I meet with my Creator.   It's where I am humbled and bowed down with heart lifted high.  And driving in the car, listening to Chris Tomlin sing "Take My Life" I knew God had given me the words to pray the desire of my heart.

 

Take my life and let it be consecrated to Thee Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee

Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold Take my intellect and use every power as You choose

Here am I, all of me, take my life, it's all for Thee

Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne Take my love, my Lord I pour at Your feet, it's treasure store Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee

Here am I, all of me, take my life, it's all for Thee 

 

My heart's cry is to be poured out and used by a God who loves giving grace to sinners like me. See, as I reflect on all the ways I was weak and worn, and broken and fallen over the last year, and then …..I remember that all of my sins are covered at the cross and I am still pursued with a ravenous and undying love,  Oh what that does to me!

That transforming grace stirs my heart to pray, "Here I am, all of me, take my life, it's all for Thee."

So maybe this is a good year to have a different kind of New Year's Resolution? Maybe this is a good year to start by putting your hope in God's grace and promises to you. To never leave you or forsake you. To embrace you when you have failed to meet expectations. To forgive all your sins.   And to love you with a wholehearted and unconditional love.

And just see what that grace does to you (and your parenting!) in 2014.

 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

~Matthew 11:28-29