Going into a new year, we all have great intentions, don’t we? We’re going to lose that weight. We’re going to read our Bible every day. We’re going to spend more time with our kids than on our phone. We’re going to improve in our marriage. We’re going to eat healthier.
This year is going to be different. This year is going to be better. We’re going to be different. We’re going to be better. What I’ve come to realize about myself is that change is hard. Just because the calendar changes to a new year doesn’t guarantee I will change into a new person. My problem isn’t desire, it’s usually commitment.
The real problem is I can change my behavior, but unless my heart is transformed, the change is only temporary. So how do we change? How do we become a new person as we start a new year?
Here are 3 suggestions that will set the stage for you to experience change.
1. Pray this prayer
If you really want to change in 2013, there is only one prayer to pray: “God change me.” You don’t have the capacity to change your heart…only God does. So often we think we can will our way to the changes that we desire, but our will is weak. Our ability to change is only as strong as our willingness to surrender to the power of Christ in our life. This is a dangerous prayer to pray because this is a prayer God will always answer.
2. Set Goals, Don’t Make Resolutions
I used to make New Year’s resolutions each year. By January 15th I usually couldn’t even remember what those resolutions were. Resolutions usually sound impressive but rarely carry follow through. Goals are different. Goals are measurable. Goals carry with them a sense of accountability. Goals are intentional; resolutions are just good intentions. My encouragement to you is to set goals in these areas: spiritual, financial, parental (if you have kids) marital (if you are married) career. These areas will allow you to grow in all aspects of your life this year. (We will be sharing our goals with you in a few days).
Most of us bring a huge amount of baggage from one year to the next with us. We collect hurts and disappointments and carry them around with us. Resentment convinces us that it is a trophy to be admired, but it is really a weight that holds us back. If you are going to be a different person this year, you are going to have to fully forgive those that wounded you in 2012. You think that you are getting back at them for what they did, but you are only keeping 2013 from being all God in mind for it to be. Forgive and experience freedom.
Our prayer for you in 2013 is that you become the man or woman God created you to be. It is possible, but we will have to choose it. We won’t drift into it. Happy New Year!