Five Resolutions That Will REALLY Change Your Life!
When we make New Year’s resolutions, we are usually quite sincere but idealistic. We promise more than we will realistically deliver, which sets us up for false guilt, toxic shame, grief and maybe even depression. Addictions are driven by shame and lack of connectedness, so the more shame we have, the more addictive tendencies we will have also. There is nothing wrong with prayerfully meditating on ways you hope the New Year will be better for you, including ways you would like to mature spiritually and otherwise. But making specific promises to yourself is not something I suggest doing. If you have low, but still good expectations, you will not be disappointed. You will likely exceed these lower expectations and be pleasantly surprised rather than being disappointed that you did not live up to unrealistic expectations.
1. DETERMINE TO LOVE AND BE LOVED IN THE COMING YEAR. The people who are happiest and have most meaningful lives on are those who love and are loved by people who know all their secrets and love them anyway. God knows more secrets about us than we will ever know about ourselves and loves us unconditionally with “no condemnation (Romans 8:1).” Follow the Great Commandment—to love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as much as you love yourself. If you obey only the Great Commandment, you will automatically obey all other commandments. Following this, is better than any resolution you could probably come up with.
2. REEVALUATE ALL YOUR CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS. Every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I reevaluate the people I spent most of my time with in the previous year—relatives, friends, church friends, work associates, neighbors, etc. There are nearly always a few I have become impressed with as far as their spiritual and emotional encouragement, positive vibes, or even their willingness to confront me tactfully and honestly when I need confrontation. I want to be surrounded by people who love me enough to confront me if I do or say something that bothers them, not just people who approve of everything I say or do. I determine to spend more time with those who encourage and support me than with those who are negative or bring me down.
3. REEVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Again, I do not make specific New Year’s resolutions, like reading four chapters of the Bible a day, getting up early every morning for prayer, etc. But do pray about ways to carry on moment-by-moment conversations with God off and on throughout the day. He is a loving friend who is at your side every moment of every day. Praying an hour a day or reading four chapters in the Bible a day does not impress God at all. You are likely just flexing your super-spiritual muscles and becoming prideful about your super-spirituality. He desires a relationship, not regimentation.
4. RE-EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF. Most people are shocked when they become aware, often during therapy, of how nasty they are to themselves. For example, if you lock your keys in your car today, what do you say to yourself when you find out? “You stupid idiot!” or other abusive messages. Now let me ask you what you would say if you and your best friend went shopping and your best friend locked the keys in the car. Would you say, “You stupid idiot”? No, you would likely tell the truth, which is, “Don’t feel bad. We all make mistakes. We will get it figured out.” So why do you tell your friend the truth, but are so critical of yourself? Ask God to help you love yourself as He loves you, with grace and forgiveness. Go right now to the back of your Bible and write down today’s date or the first day of the New Year. Follow it with a personal pledge to be your own best friend, vowing to attempt to only say to yourself positive things that you would tell your best friend under similar circumstances. That one decision alone can make the rest of your life 50% better—or even more in many cases.
5. DANCE WITH THE WORLD IN THE COMING YEAR AND THE YEARS TO COME. God does not call all of us to become a professional, full-time, foreign missionary, but I am in awe of those who have accepted this calling. But whether in a foreign land or talking to a waiter at a local restaurant, we always must be on the lookout to “dance with the world” and spread the love of God. The Great Commission, in Matthew 28:18-20 (encouraging us to go into all the world to spread the gospel of God’s love and redemption), is actually, in the original Greek, in the passive imperative tense. So it is more accurately saying, “As you are going about in the world, spread the good news. . .” God called me specifically to be a full-time missionary, but in the unique platform of a Christian psychiatrist, author, radio host, and teacher. Around a million people have trusted Christ through various Meier Clinic ministries, in scores of nations where my books are translated or where we have gone in one way or another. So you, the reader, can be God’s love letter to the world by supporting, praying for, and assisting missionaries throughout the world, and by being a missionary wherever you are in the world.
Used by permission of the author.