No More Resolutions, Excuses and Regrets

No More Resolutions, Excuses and Regrets

I stopped making a “new years’ resolution” several years ago because they just didn’t stick. We all know in January the gyms are full and so are Weight Watchers and other dieting programs. Memberships start to dwindle in March. (I know, I have tried several gyms but I don’t enjoy going to the gym…) The intentions are good but often the goals are fuzzy or not worth the effort to follow through.

The noun resolution has a few related meanings having to do with being firmly determined about something. If you lack determination, you’ll never fulfill your New Year’s resolutions. . If you approach a task with resolution, you do it with determination. And if you make a resolution, you make a firm decision to do something or meet some goal. ( from vocabualry.com)

Because many of our resolutions are just wishful thinking, what follows is a terrible cycle of excuses with all the reasons to justify why we quit moving forward and even going backwards. This in turn can lead to regret if we do not learn from the experience. The Bible refers to regret as a way for Satan to get inside you mentally. Regret can be devastating if we don’t keep it in check. The apostle Paul addressed the root of the problem.

Romans 7:15–25 (The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language)
What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.

How can we fortify our resolve to be better, do better? First we need to recognize our strengths and weaknesses before making plans. It is all too easy to let the tyranny of the urgent to take over. The newest crisis or “important” activity bumps what we know we should do. Sometimes I find myself living by the boxes on my calendar without leaving margins for health and soul care if I don’t prioritize and ask for God’s help.

We all need to begin the new year and every new day with a the right attitude for a fresh start.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold (sustain) me with a willing spirit. ( NIV reads : renew a steadfast spirit within me)

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Psalm 37:5 (ESV) Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Instead of making a “resolution” try to form specific goals for the month or year. Ask yourself how important each goal is. What will it take to start moving in a positive direction to reach the goal? What are some action steps to take? How long will the goal really take to complete or see a difference? This is a more thoughtful process to get things accomplished. Blessings are in the new year my friends if we look to Him for guidance, discernment and determination.

A riddle for the new year: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Do You Know Your Assignment?

Do You Know Your Assignment?

Our son just competed in the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, FL.  22,000 athletes, coaches and families from all fifty states and the Caribbean islands came together for a week of hard competition in a wide variety of sports.  We are proud to say our son won a gold, silver and bronze in his athletic events and division. Jeremy was the only one to wear braces on his legs to assist with running but these games are about abilities – NOT disabilities.

One of the t-shirts team Massachusetts wore says, “We understood the assignment”. Each athlete had been chosen last year to compete in these games based on previous competitions. They practiced as individuals and teams to get in shape for their individual sports and had their eyes on the big challenge ahead. No one goes to these games hoping just to be there and watch. The goal is to win a gold medal! And more than a years’ worth of planning and preparing went on behind the scenes to make it all happen.

The Christian life is described by the apostle Paul as a race or competition much like the Greek and Roman Olympics in the first century.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.27But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)

Unfortunately, I think most modern Christians treat their assignment like a walk in the park. We go about our daily lives enjoying the good around us and then get frustrated and respond poorly when unforeseen obstacles are in our path. I certainly have been guilty of this when I am not in “spiritual shape” and preparing for each day or week ahead.

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 1 Corinthians 7:17 (ESV)

We are created in different sizes, shapes, backgrounds and God has given each of us different gifts and abilities to use for His glory. The Bible tells us He calls, prepares, equips and empowers us to live godly lives that will cause others to want to know Jesus. My assignment is to run the race He prepared for me day by day with purpose and intention. Purpose is the reason why I do what I do and intention focuses the attention needed to make things happen. Each day I must prepare myself with time in prayer and in His Word and also make extra time for training in the arena He has called me to live and work.

I love the Special Olympics athlete’s oath .

Obviously not everyone will obtain a gold medal and that’s alright. We aren’t given the same strength and abilities or assignment but everyone will be held accountable for how they use what they have. There are many questions we can ask ourselves to better our position. What obstacles or sinful habits stand in my way of success today? Did I prepare well this morning, week, month? Was I focused to do the best I could? If not, what attitudes, distractions or problems do I need to bring before The Lord and deal with? Endurance comes with practice, trial and error but never by giving up. Are you “all in” to run the race or are you just sitting by the sidelines?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)


I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (ESV)