I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions. I can only think of one that has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember- learning to play the piano. It’s not an every-year resolution. But some years I think “this will be the year I learn to play.”
My dad, the banker, trying to instill good savings habits in us kids, offered to pay half on a “big” purchase if we saved our share of the cost. I babysat my way to an electric “chord organ” in my early years. It’s basically a short keyboard with a set of chord buttons off to the left.
I loved that thing but realized it wasn’t really playing the piano, and in my high school years paid my friend a quarter per lesson to teach me. That didn’t last long either since I didn’t have a piano at home to practice on.
Fast forward to my children who wanted to play the piano. We bought a digital piano for them to learn on. It’s as close to an acoustic piano as you can get but it never needs tuning and the kids could practice with headphones (bonus!)
I learned a bit while sitting with the kids going over their lessons. I learned a few songs and some basic sight-reading skills (long gone now). Somehow that too also went by the wayside, but my desire to learn did not. I stored all their old piano lesson books in a box, hoping to get to them “someday”. A few years ago, I actually dragged the box out, organized the books, and hoped to start a new year by finally learning to play. It did not happen.
Does that story of fits and starts resemble any resolutions you have made?
There is something to be said for evaluating our lives and intentionally improving them. The first day of a new year seems like a great time to start. There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to eat healthier, fit more exercise into our busy schedules, learn something new, spend more time with our families, etc. They are all great things to aspire to.
But I want to focus on spiritual resolutions.
I believe God wants us to treat our bodies and minds with respect. I believe he wants us to treat His physical world with respect. But of all the resolutions we could make, having a deeper relationship with Him should top our list. None of us, no matter where we are in our lives, can honestly say “Oh, I already give God enough of my time and thought.”
Will it always be easy? Of course not. Some days it will take intention and determination. If we can push ourselves to get on that treadmill or drink more water or eat more salads, of course, we can add time to spend on learning what God has to give us and working for him in our everyday lives.
It’s a matter of priority – God will never take the time you give him and let it be put to waste.
I will say that I learned something that was amazing to me while adding an extra dimension to my morning devotion and prayer. I started writing out a verse and underlining important words that jumped out at me.
After about a month or so of doing it, I found that I really missed it if I forgot to include it. It was really encouraging to look back at words I had underlined previously. They were like little nuggets of encouragement from God just for me.
It has become an important aspect of starting my day that not only is a habit, but something I now look forward to.
Giving God a few extra minutes has blessed me when I started it as worship to Him.
You can start small like I did. Give Him a few extra minutes per day. Set a timer for 3-5” and see how He will bless you with what you give Him. That can be a building block to other ways to show His love as we are commanded to do. We can never be too close to God!
Ideas to try: (and I’d love to hear your ideas/what works for you!)
Intentionally listen to one extra song and turn it into a 3” worship session.
Pick a time to read a “verse of the day” and give a few minutes thought to how it applies to your day.
Slowly recite the doxology or Lord ’s Prayer as a way to “take a break” from work or activity.
Purposefully think of one thing each day to be especially thankful for, and use it during the day as worship for his provisions to you.
Go outside and find the beauty of His creation to enjoy. If it’s below zero and icy? Try the view from different windows!
Find small ways to show God’s love to others around you. It can be as simple as a kind word or smile.
Be kind to yourself! None of us is perfect. We get distracted or anxious and lose our focus. Put those times behind you and move forward!
Blessings in the New Year!
“I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” Phil 3:13