Old Resolutions, New Outlook

In this season of resolutions, I believe a lot of people set the bar high not considering the idea of SMART goal setting or little changes lead to bigger shifts. On top of that in our western society, we are taught and encouraged from a young age that we can do anything. We can pursue any profession or lifestyle we want. Success stories of foster children or poor or disabled persons , who changed their lot and become successful doctors, lawyers or CEOs are shared all the time in every form of media to prove this point. I do not want to take away the validity of their success, but perhaps point out that not everyone is meant to live a “Cinderella story.” To add to the challenge of betterment, in my experience Christians love and abuse when Jesus said to the apostles “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Making it sound not only like should you dream big, but you are doubting God if you do not. 

I am not here to argue God’s abilities, I believe as Jesus said through God we are capable of anything, however in our resolutions and dreamer society, we over extend ourselves and ask the wrong questions or make the wrong demands. For example, for years I have resolved to lose weight… since I have a lot of weight to lose, I put the whole number down on my goal list, which is daunting. Then 3 weeks later when the scale has hardly moved and I still see that huge number, I pray God you said through you anything is possible, please take my fat away.  

Clearly this hasn’t happened, but it’s not because I doubt God’s abilities or I am unworthy of his aid. But I’m focused on the wrong thing. I am asking to lose weight for my vanity. I mean my health is there too, but The main reason I put weight loss on my resolutions every year, is because I feel ugly and uncomfortable in my own skin. I have an unhealthy relationship with food and have difficulty sticking with meal plans and exercise routines. I also have felt very unsupported in the past. It’s so hard to stay focused on my own journey when those around you are bringing ice cream or pizza or a big ol’ sloppy cheeseburger. And so I would join in and often over indulge, blaming myself for so little self-control and blaming them for not holding me accountable me like they said they would. This has been a vicious cycle most of my adulthood.

As I write this, I’m still disappointed in my own blindness. instead of focusing on the big goal, why did I not first pray for forgiveness of my vain thoughts and for not loving myself as no matter what I look like I was made in the image of God? My motivation is slowly moving beyond my vanity. I mean I still desire to be comfortable in my own skin, of course, but this year as I look deeper at reasons to get healthy, I am looking beyond myself. I want to serve others, both in my family (like Chasing John without being out of breath at the park) and others in general (like volunteering in a homeless shelter or kitchen) and my health is important to do those things. Furthermore, perhaps the most important reason to care for my health, is I am not prepared to die (not that I see myself dying soon, but overweight people are more at risk). I have a of work to do, forgiveness to ask for and people to love and I pray that the Lord will strengthen my resolve to be healthy so that I may prepare in all the ways I have been neglecting.

Looking past my motivation, why did I not ask God’s help with a small goal like help to remember portions at each meal or more opportunities to be active? Furthermore, when others, whether they were supporting me or not, brought food that I knew would tempt me, why not pray and ask for help in that moment?   When I look at this it’s no wonder, I haven’t felt like God is helping me…. I haven’t truly been asking Him to help me, which given my original motivation isn’t surprising. 

The more I live and see what succeeds and what fails, the more I see far too often I’m asking the wrong question or setting the wrong goal. I have only been thinking about what I want to succeed on Earth without considering how I could better use my struggles for benefits beyond myself. I haven’t asked Lord, please guide my resolutions to glorify you and to benefit those around me. So this year I have 1 resolution and it is a big one but it is also one that can be done one small step at a time. I commit to turning to God and asking for his help in everything. How can He use me for His benefit and the good of those around me? 

I know I am lucky enough to live in a culture where I can be anything, but when I look inside the biggest thing I want to be is faithful to God and helpful to others. What do you really want?

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