I don't think I believe in New Year's Resolutions. Sure, commitment can help change along. Recognizing change that needs to happen and resolving to pursue that change is a solid concept. Setting goals and taking steps to move towards them is sound practice. I'm about these things in theory: it's the application of them that I have my woes with. As good as resolutions sound, I just don't think that we human-beings are very good at "willing" ourselves to become better.
Maybe it's just me, but saying that I am going to be less negative with my husband, be more secure, be less of a hermit, keep my house cleaner, doesn't mean I am going to actually accomplish any of those things. I, personally, don't grow by saying, "I am going to grow!" Still, I don't want to do nothing. I see habits, patterns, attitudes in my heart that could use changing. There's some ugly up in me. And I don't like it.
I've been looking back on my life, on times that I have grown. I can see times when weakness became strength. Befores and afters that prove my confidence blossomed over a season. Times I was able to let go, move on, and forgive. I know that growth is possible. When I asked myself, what has really helped bring about change in my life I kept coming back to two things. These things have been present in every fruitful season of my life.
In order to grow in many areas, I am going to pursue presence and community. That's to say, I want to be in God's presence, and I want to live in closeness with other believers. Being intimate with my Creator does something to my heart. It affirms me to my core. It moves me to action. It rearranges my priorities. Having friends who know God and know me seems to affect me as well. I can't explain it. Real, genuine friendships help me to feel loved, to experience God, and to see myself and my life through a fresh set of eyes. There's something about being in community that makes my soul sigh in relief. It's as if I know, somewhere deep in my being that I was made for this.
So, in 2015 I am pursuing two things: presence and community. Is this is starting to sound an awful lot like a resolution? I want to focus on being in God's presence and living in community that those things might produce growth in all other areas. Label it what you will.
Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? What helps you to grow?