January 12, 2024 | Danielle Smalley
Ready or not, here we go - it’s 2024!!
How are you doing so far? Once every twelve months, we get this opportunity to start a whole new chapter. This time usually brings with it questions about what resolutions we are setting, what will we start or stop doing, and really any other goal-related ones. Are you a resolution or goal-setting person? Or do you choose a word for the year instead? As much as I don’t love the idea of peer or cultural pressures to answer these, I do love the idea of starting new. There is something refreshing about turning a new page, don’t you think?
It's often accompanied by a reflection of the past, which we hope comes from a healthy place of learning what wasn’t working to become the best you (or me). Otherwise, isn’t doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result the definition of insanity?! And really, who has time for all that?
I used to feel a lot of pressure with setting resolutions. I’d listen to what others were doing or whatever was the new thing, and it became mine. I would think “I should do this” and be critical when I couldn’t meet or accomplish the goal. I’d jump on the popular feel-good options: eat better (rice cakes, anyone?), more exercise (why not train for a marathon?!), more time volunteering (who doesn’t love to help others?), learn a new language (easy-peasy) or … fill in the blank. Whatever the thing was, I believed I “should” do it too. I’m sure I’m not the only one. But something was missing. The goals weren’t helping with who I am called to be.
I didn’t realize it at first, but as I grew in my faith, I began to approach this idea of starting new differently. My desire shifted to care far less about being like or looking like everyone else. I began to work on who I am becoming, who God has called me to be. Today I strive to become more like Jesus in all areas of my life – as a wife, a mom, a leader, a sister, a team member, and a friend.
Knowing where I’m going provides clarity for the day-to-day and year-to-year decisions that need to be made. What am I doing today that will help me on this journey to become like Jesus tomorrow?
One of my favorite parts of our Christmas Service was the challenge to say goodbye to that ‘thing’. That thing holding us back, preventing us from stepping into the future Jesus wants for us. What did you say goodbye to? Was it fear or pain or judgment? Maybe like me, it was more like saying goodbye to perfection or control. Letting go of that allows me to step further down the path to who I am to be, a daughter of the Most High. I can say hello to the hope of what lies ahead, believing and trusting that Jesus has me and wants only the best for me.
As we walk through the sermon series FIRST and are being challenged to put Jesus First in every area of our life, this should apply to resolutions and goals too. Where are you struggling to follow His lead with the direction for your new, fresh start in 2024? If Jesus is who we are pursuing, if He is the one we look to for hope, then it makes sense that we should plan our lives, our years, and even our days with Him First. If you want to talk more about what this looks like for you, let us know here.