Making resolutions is a significant part of my spiritual, personal, and professional growth – my progress as a whole person. This requires deep introspection, complete honesty, and evaluation of past successes and failures. I start the inner prodding in early December and escalate my reflections after the holidays settle and all is quiet.
My heart is a wily, deceptive creature, often lulling me into a sense of wellbeing, even when all is not well. Avoiding inner reflection can have disastrous, shipwreck-type consequences for me, because I’m a pro at hiding my sin from myself.
My December examination revealed a cold heart. Why?
The preparations for Christmas while launching a book had overwhelmed me physically, even though a friend and her girls did all my baking and gift wrapping. Self-pity had popped out on numerous occasions in December. I probed to discover how fatigue had yanked me toward such an ugly place.
Chronic illness requires constant vigilance, so I invited Jesus to speak truth to me.
Balance is required to live the type of examined, tested, Spirit-pleasing, and people-serving lifestyle required of believers, especially when living with less energy. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I realized that toward the end of the year my fatigue drew my focus inward. I relied on myself, not on Jesus. I focused on how awful I felt, rather than on the nearness of Christ.
It’s time to reapply the medicine that has worked in the past:
- I desire to pause every day simply to tell Jesus that I love Him. This kindles first love anew and reminds me to rely on Him and not on my own strength.
- I need to spend time each day caring for my body. I’ve been neglecting selfcare.
- I must determine why it’s now taking three times as long to rebound after times of exertion. Something isn’t right. I have secured an appointment with an autoimmune diagnostic specialist two hours away. We need to treat this disorder, not just swipe at the symptoms. I will pursue every means possible to obtain a diagnosis this year.
- My desperate need for God’s Word keeps my daily quiet time a necessity. Pursuit of God is always on the list, but so is resting in the Lord.
My son-in-law shared an article with me as we discussed the continual fact of our fallen natures, especially when difficulties pile up.
“A friend of mine in ministry once suggested that all human beings are three bad days in a row away from becoming a tabloid headline, and most of us are already on day two. . .We never graduate from our need for a savior.”
No matter who we are, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 is true. We must cling to Christ. Our resolutions must focus here:
“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
This is truth. Do I believe it? How close am I to becoming a tabloid headline?
Those first four resolutions are a bedrock for me this year: I will grab God’s way of escape.
If I feel my heart growing cold, yet I don’t heed the warning signs, turn from my self-reliance, and/or listen to the needs of my body, and then, as a result, I slide further into worsening health and self-pity, have I grabbed the way of escape? No!
Will I rely on the Lord for the strength to avoid self-pity and losing heart despite depleting physical and mental fatigue? Paul did, as shown in 2 Corinthians. Will my response be Spirit-filled? Christ’s was, even when facing death.
5. & 6. All of this coincides with my father’s health gradually slipping and my mother’s need for support as she cares for him. These priorities and the need to improve my communication skills within my own family round out the list.
These will be the most important work of the year.
7. My goal of publishing my WWI-era novel No Longer Alone in 2016 will hinge on these. Spiritual and physical health determine my professional goals.
Do I have the strength for a Kickstarter campaign and the publication process for No Longer Alone in 2016, completing both while also promoting Fallen? Soberly, I consider that I may not, not if I want to be healthy. Publishing in 2017 may be a better idea.
Time will tell. It’s in God’s hands.
Have you considered your resolutions for the year?
What did you learn about yourself?