27 Dec New Year’s Resolution that will Make a Huge Impact
The beginning of a new year is traditionally when people think about making changes to their lives. It is a time of reflection of the past year and looking forward to what could be. We get caught up in patterns of living that don’t produce what we value the most, but we are not locked into those patterns. We are free in Christ to chose new ways of living. Our choices will shape our future. We need to choose thoughtfully.
Most people that make resolutions focus on things like diet and exercise. This is no surprise when we just put on 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! Commercials try to woo you to join a gym or subscribe to another weight loss program. Perhaps that is what you need right now. It may be good for you. Others may feel a need to focus on career, write that book, or something else that has been on the back burner for too long. These are all valid resolutions.
In this blog however, I want to challenge you to choose a resolution that will make a huge impact. By huge impact, I am referring to an impact that will last for forever and make a difference in every area of your life. Some changes have the capacity to have a ripple effect in everything you do. These kinds of resolutions should be front and center.
The Scriptures teach us relationships are the most important aspect of our lives. Jesus told us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” These two commands enable us to fulfill the entire law. If Jesus was right (I believe he was!), we might want to consider resolutions that address these most important aspects of our lives. Is there anything I need to change to grow in my love for God? Is there anything in my life that I need to change to demonstrate love to my neighbor?
Grow in Your Love for God
May I suggest two things to reflect on as you consider how to grow in your love for God. Reflecting on your SDI 2.0 will help you think about this more deeply. The SDI helps us to understand how we relate to others including God himself. We relate to God out of the things we are most passionate about. The three passions of the soul (BLUE/Acceptance, RED/Achievement, and GREEN/Security), shape our desires and how we relate to God. Here are two ways you can reflect on your life with God in order to consider a new year’s resolution.
We tend to develop our identity around our own ability and will to build up one of the passions of the soul. For instance, a RED works hard to achieve in order to be valued by others. Our prayers to God tend to be around success. We want from God what we are striving for because without it we feel insecure, worthless, and vulnerable. A GREEN strives for security through attention to detail, perfectionism, and doing the right things in hopes of a predictable future that is safe. Our prayers tend to be focused on how God can provide security for our future. A BLUE strives for the acceptance of others to feel valued. When others disregard you, it can be devastating, and you may feel worthless. Your prayers may be focused on having relationships with others that are healed and strong.
Whatever your MVS (Motivational Value System) you have all three of these soul needs. One or two of these may be dominant in your life and overshadow the others. Wounds and pains of the past often intensify these desires and cause us to strive harder, unless they are healed and grieved well.
The Gospel teaches us that we have all these needs through Christ! We were created with these needs, but they can only fully be met in Christ. We don’t have to strive in our own power to achieve our self-worth. We are fully loved by God now. You are fully accepted, significant, and secure in Him. We are not orphans, but we have been adopted as His children with all the benefits of being a child of God.
As you reflect on your MVS and the truth of the Gospel, are you living in the fulness of your identity in Christ? Or are you still striving to be accepted, significant or secure? What can you do in 2021 to lean into the truth of the Gospel and live as a child of God who feels and understands that you are “my son whom I am well pleased”? By relating to God in the truth of the Gospel, you will be changing the deepest part of yourself. This is a work of the Spirit of God and is available to everyone who is a child of God.
One suggestion is writing out an identity prayer that you pray everyday this coming year. In this prayer you would name the passion of the soul that is troubling for you to overcome (you find yourself striving after rather than receiving from God). You may state your tendency and how it impacts your life as a confession. Then you might state the truth of back it up with Scripture. This kind of daily prayer has the potential to refocus your life around the Gospel and how you relate to God. This will change every area of your life including how you relate to others.
Growing in your relationship with God is the purpose of the spiritual disciplines. The Scripture does not have a complete list of disciplines so your list may be different that mine. But think about how the people of Scripture and people you know grow in relationship with God. They may include prayer, reading of the Word, meditation of Scripture, fasting, silent/quiet, service, sacrifice, memorizing Scripture, worship, journaling, reflection, giving, confession, etc.. This is not a complete list.
The goal is not to be good at the disciplines. Feeling good about yourself because you have excelled at a discipline is not helpful, but a problem (achieving your acceptance, significance or security through excellence at the disciplines). Disciplines are ways to grow in our relationship with God.
Each of us find some disciplines easier than others. For instance, a BLUE may find service easy and be pulled to that discipline as life giving. A RED may find reading the Word daily and completing a reading program fulfilling. It is something that can be checked off a list and be accomplished. A GREEN my find journaling easy because they want to think deeply about things and record their thoughts.
I am not suggesting abandoning the disciplines that are easy and natural for you. However, I want to challenge you to consider the disciplines that are not natural and are hard for you. It is likely that these are the disciplines you need the most in your life. Silence is hard for me as a RED. Sitting and doing nothing is contrary to my way of life. Being silence is opposite of doing and accomplishing. What I need most in my life with God is hearing God’s voice, because my own voice is prominent. The very discipline that is most difficult is the one you may very well need to embrace.
Develop a plan to use spiritual disciplines in growing in your relationship with God. Embrace the discipline that is hard for you because it may be best for you.
Grow in Your Relationship with Others
SDI gives us insight in how others experience our presence. Our strengths (28) are deployed and motived according to our MVS. If you deploy Confidence in your relationships people would perceive you differently if your prominent strength deployed is Modest. When we do our strengths repetitively or with intensity or in duration, it can become a problem for others. If we want to have excellent relationships with others, we will need to adjust our strengths based on the other person rather than our default or preference.
Being self-aware of the impact of our personality on others and adjusting for their benefit would improve our relationships. The first place to look to improve relationships is to look at our overdone strengths. What are strengths that we could use or substitute when we become aware of this tendency? Using the illustration above, if I am naturally Confident and continue to assert Confidence it could come across as Arrogant. But I could deploy the strength Modest, and even downplay my confidence by asking others about their opinions and why they believe their view and relate better to some people.
In 2022, what if I reflected about my strengths and overdone strengths, and think about how these might be impacting relationships around me including my spouse, children, and people I work with regularly? Am I well acquainted with my overdone strengths? This self-awareness could lead me to choose a resolution to choose another strength or downplay the strength that may hinder great relationships.
As you enter into 2022, what resolutions will you choose to make that will make a huge impact? May the Lord direct your paths and lead you forward.