Spiritual Resolutions for 2016

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When I am home in the Bay Area, morning is my favorite time of the day. My mom’s first-edition espresso machine is so loud it wakes up even our deaf, old dog, Molly. The iPad speaks out the Word of God — this month it’s been Ezekiel, which has been… heavy, to say the least. The cats rub against table legs, flirting for attention. And through the windows, among the trees, mist is rising.

It’s been a cold winter for the Bay Area this year. When I am up early enough, the entire world seems frozen in ice, and if you cross your eyes just right, it looks like snow. The little birdbath freezes over, the old wooden fences reveal all of their crevices and delicate clovers in the front yard are crusted in fine, white crystals.

But then the sun comes out, moving aside the ugly, grey clouds. The frozen landscape starts to melt back to normality with the suns rays and the ice is released into a mist-like breath.

For many at this time of year, the whole New Year’s resolution thing can seem like a fresh time to start over; it get’s us going again to make changes in our life. We arise from our caves of disappointment, laziness or fear and race forward into January, only to get tangled again in the minutia of life.

For me, recently, I’ve been struggling with the idea of change — friends who change, friends who don’t change, the ever-changing scope of my future or even the change I am too lazy to bring about in myself. I’ve almost begun to look toward this new year as quite routine and stagnant. I find myself stuck in the same sin, having the same frustrations of interpersonal relationships, and the grieving tragedies of this world. Everything feels crystalized and hardened as ice.

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But the Son has indeed come out — mist is rising from all over the earth — we are just sometimes blinded to it, or still partially frozen ourselves. Praise God that Jesus is our New Year! He brings such hope. We wait, like little clovers, for His rays to strike our frosted hearts anew. With his light, comes the comfort that He is one who does not change, but can change us.

“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:6-7

Even though He can thaw out my heart, I continually struggle to keep it from freezing over again. This is one reason why the idea of New Year’s resolutions has left me uninspired. I know that I cannot accomplish it on my own, and boy, do I have a bad habit of trying to accomplish tasks without the Lord’s help. How convicting of both my lack of faith and my lazy character! But again, I return to the Lord, and He is faithful. How undeserving is His love for us small, frigid clovers.

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A friend recently told me about Don Whitney’s 10 questions for the New Year. Author of the book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, the Lord has used Whitney to convict me on many levels in the past, but these 10 questions are something else. He goes on to include 21 more — the perfect amount for an entire month of heart-transforming ponderings.

This year, instead of New Year’s resolutions, I am going to process through these questions and be faithful to answer them. I encourage you go through January allowing these questions to thaw your own hearts from whatever you may be struggling with.

Welcome to 2016, ladies! May we be reminded of the Lord’s power this year; may we be faithful in walking with Him daily; may we be women of His love and great faith; may we, like little clovers, transform because of the Son’s presence in our lives.

Are you ready? Here’s day #1: “What is one thing you can do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?”