Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Making Some New Year's "Adjustments"

The practice of new year's resolutions dates back over 3000 years to the Babylonians, and is still going strong today. When a new year rolls around, millions of people feel an obligation, if not pressure from society, to make a few resolutions, all the while knowing that they will probably be unsuccessful in the end - again.

If it's such a vicious cycle, why do we keep doing it year after year? Why do constantly make resolutions, only to fail the majority of the time? The truth is that making resolutions seems to bring hope and possibility for a change in certain areas of our lives that we feel is much needed and wanted. We feel a sense of empowerment about a fresh start and a new beginning..... until reality sinks in and meeting our goals gets harder and harder.

The definition of insanity is to continue doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results. If this is true, making resolutions every year could potentially make us all insane!

This can be the year to break the insanity cycle, by focusing on making positive adjustments one little step at a time, rather than life altering resolutions that may never be met.

resolution: a solution, accommodation, or settling of a problem, controversy, etc.

adjustment: harmony achieved by modification or change of a position

Hmmmm.. would you rather start out the year thinking about all your problems or shortcomings and what you must do to resolve them, or thinking about meaningful things that could benefit from a little tweaking to bring more harmony into your heart and life?

Anyone can make a resolution to lose weight, stop smoking, exercise daily or be more frugal or financially responsible; yet, only those who are willing to take an inward look at themselves will have the courage to tackle the challenge of making outward life "adjustments".

Adjustments, that if given the right focus, can have huge impact on our spiritual and physical well-being.

1 Timothy 4:8  "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (NIV)

This verse is not saying that we should not care about our physical state, but that we should care about our spiritual state more.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are God's temples, and we should treat them accordingly. However, Timothy encourages us to find a balance between making physical goals which affect God's temple,  and spiritual goals which affect our heart for God.

New Year's "adjustments" can be determined by simply asking ourselves a few questions about areas of our life that may be in need of an adjustment, and then being honest enough to admit the answers. 

We can consider things such as our attitude, our faith walk, how we treat others, our willingness to forgive, how we handle conflict, and the setting of daily priorities.  We may need to look at how much time we spend with God, and whether or not we typically seek God's wisdom and direction about decisions in our life, or if we turn to other people for advice instead.

Regardless of what type of goals we set - whether they are adjustments, or resolutions - we need to pray about them, making sure that the motivation behind every goal is fueled by knowing that the desired change will be pleasing and glorifying to God.

When we make positive adjustments on the inside, the adjustments we desire to see on the outside may become a reality as well. Inward change always drives outward change.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. (The Message)

So what "adjustments" might God be calling you to make in 2012?

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