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My New Year’s List
Published: 2/12/2011 11:05:21 AM

 

I’ve tried very hard never to write a list of New Year’s resolutions! I don’t seem to be helped by them, just guilty. They seem to be such a huge burden for me. I’ve been borderline cynical about them, which is strange because I don’t tend to be a cynical person.

I took a second to think about why I hate resolutions so much and came up with three things.

REASON #1: I don’t really feel like dwelling on the negative things in my life. There is too much negative in the world. I just want to focus on the good and leave it at that.

REASON #2: I can’t seem to keep New Year’s resolutions and end up feeling guilty. Why would I want to start something when I know I’ll just end up failing?

REASON #3: I’m tired. I just feel too exhausted to focus on yet another thing that will take up more of my brain power, energy, and schedule!

Something struck me when I looked at my list of excuses…er… "reasons” that I don’t play along with the culture’s New Year’s custom. I often hear these excuses from others when it comes to things like going to church, addressing marital problems, taking care of themselves, etc. Do you know what I mean?

We make excuses for everything.

EXUSE #1 translates, "It isn’t socially acceptable to judge people. It’s rude. We should just focus on the good and ignore the bad.”

The problem is, bad DOES exist and ignoring it doesn’t help anyone! Huge problems get swept under the rug and impending doom cannot be thwarted. A common misconception is that if we focus on the good, downplay the problem areas, we will never have to have the tough conversations, interventions, or confrontations.

Having problems, however, is not like having big ears, you can’t just style your hair differently so they don’t show – at least not for long. If you have marital problems ignoring them or making things look good to others isn’t going to help you avoid divorce, enjoy your spouse or provide an environment for your kids. Along the same line, if you are living in unrepentant sin, you might be able to convince yourself that it isn’t a big deal, but it’s only a matter of time before you, your relationships with others, and relationship with God start to suffer.

We can’t ignore the bad things in life. God sure didn’t! He martyred His own Son to pay for the evils of the whole world. Let’s not ignore what God took so seriously! Let us fall to our knees and own up to what we have done wrong, even if it hurts! And, let us trust God that He will forgive us and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to live lives the bring glory to God!

EXCUSE #2 boils down to, "I don’t think becoming a Christian is something I can do. There are too many rules. I’d never be able to live up to it.”

This excuse actually makes me sad. First, there is a misunderstanding about Christianity and God’s law. This excuse seems to assume that Christianity is just a bunch of laws that you have to follow or else!

In reality, God’s law is in place to protect the many gifts He gives us. For example, when God says, "Thou shall not kill,” this protects His gift of life. Think of the great freedom would have if people would listen to God’s command not to kill. There would be no need to fear that others would harm you. And what about God’s law that says, "Thou shall not commit adultery?” Through this, God protects His gifts of marriage and family! Imagine never worrying that some other woman would tempt your husband to be unfaithful! God’s "rules” are there to protect his blessings.

Moreover, Christianity is all about forgiveness. Jesus came to forgive us for the times when we don’t keep God’s laws. When we treat God’s gifts as burdens, at we all do at some point or another (and another, and another), we can turn our prayers to God, asking Him to forgive us. And, because Jesus – who never broke God’s law – took our punishment upon Himself when He died on the cross, God looks at you and me with love, seeing Jesus’ perfection, not our wrong doings.

There is no fear of failure with God, because it isn’t about whether or not we fail, it’s about the fact that God NEVER fails us!

EXCUSE #3 is true. I am tired! I’m too tired to focus on commitments that are not already on my plate. I can barely take care of what is already on my plate, much less add something new. So, on one hand, I do understand when I hear people say that they don’t have time to go to church. If it isn’t already on their calendar, it probably isn’t getting on. We are expended, extended, and tapped out! We are doing all we can to succeed in work, keep our house in order, raise happy kids, and support our husband. There really isn’t time for much more, is there!?!

But in all reality, we do it to ourselves, don’t we! We have packed our days with some much! We want to make sure that our kids have every advantage so we enroll them in various classes to round out their skill set and give them a leg up in life. We try to have it all so we are corporate climbers, supermom, uberwife, you name it! But, do we really put the important things first? Do we have our priorities straight? Do we even know what that might look like anymore?

I’d love to figure out how to live counter-culturally – living with Christ at the center of everything I do, participating in regular church attendance and daily prayer, worrying more about the health of my family than the size of our savings account, living within our means instead of living to impress others, and really investing in loved ones and service to God rather than spreading ourselves so thin that we only ever get surface deep.

Perhaps some New Year’s resolutions might help. Maybe they’d help me reflect on and do something about things that need to change in my life. Maybe they’d help me lean of God to succeed rather than fearing my own failure. Maybe they’d actually help improve my life.

Seeing as I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution, I’m at a loss for how to make them official. So, I suppose I will draw on my only frame of reference. Here’ goes!

FAITH’S 2011 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

Whereas I do have things in my life that do need changing; and

Whereas fear of failure has kept me from making New Year’s resolutions long enough; and

Whereas some resolutions can actually improve my life, health, and energy in the long run; and

Whereas I have not engaged in Bible study since moving to Los Angeles; and

Whereas my husband has begun talking about baby number – gulp – three and I already carry extra weight from each of our kids; and

Whereas I stay up way too late and, therefore, have a VERY hard time scraping myself out of bed in the morning; and

Whereas I too easily ignore messiness in my house; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that I will read one chapter of the Bible and pray each day; and be it

RESOLVED, that I will exercise four times a week and cut out after dinner desserts; and be it further

RESOLVED, that I will go to bed by 10:30 every night (with the exception of special holidays, date nights, and Thursday nights when The Mentalist – which cannot be viewed online – is on from 10-11pm in my time zone); and be it

RESOLVED, that I will develop a cleaning chart and stick to it; and be it further

RESOLVED, that I will turn my eyes to Jesus for strength and forgiveness!

Okay, friends… pray for me! Here’s to spiritual and physical health in the New Year!


Faith Spelbring

Visit her blog at http://lcmsyoungmoms.blogspot.com/

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