In 2015, I had two New Year’s resolutions.

One was to run the fastest 5k of my life. I realize that I am quickly exiting the peak years of distance running and wanted to make a sincere attempt to beat my previous personal record (PR). To be clear, my previous PR is roughly the cook-time of a casserole, so beating it would be an accomplishment only to myself. In the first seven months of the year, I ran a total of 5 Ks and have yet to run a timed 5K, so I have to put this resolution in the lose column for the year.

I had another resolution to read more books that were purely for the joy of reading. In this, I experienced great success and have read more than 10 books and listened to another 10+ while jogging. Running slowly is a decided advantage in this regard. I can go through twice the number of books as a fast runner in the same amount of miles.

A few years ago, I started a New Year’s resolution practice that has been quite interesting and I will be carrying over the practice into 2016. I give God a New Year’s resolution.

I have to be honest, it felt weird to begin doing so and still seems weird even as I write it. After all, I wouldn’t give anyone else a New Year’s resolution without their asking, so it seems improper to give a resolution to God. I don’t think God minds though, and the practice has been one of the more productive spiritual activities in which I have engaged.

Here is how it works: I give God a resolution, not something I am demanding of Him, but rather something I would like Him to do for me, in my life. In the first year I gave him a resolution, I asked that He would give me more promptings throughout the day. God has made himself evident to me in the big arenas of life, but I also wanted to hear His voice in the little things, such as small prompts toward generosity and service, or kind words. 

I then give myself a resolution that would compliment mine for God’s. I would listen, often and actively. If God was going to speak, I wanted to be sure I was listening!

He is the one who knows me best and is the only one who can bring real transformation in my life.

That simple exercise revolutionized my prayer life in that year and dramatically affected how I interacted with others. I was looking for where God was at work and listening for how I could participate. I don’t know if God communicated more than normal or if I just listened better, but God did enough in that year that I have continued the practice of giving Him resolutions and matching some of my own to them.

I have gotten more comfortable over the years in giving God resolutions. After all, He is the one who knows me best and is the only one who can bring real transformation in my life. When I consider that, it only makes sense that I would ask him to be active in shaping me and that I would resolve to respond to His lead.

What would it look like for you to do the same this year? What resolution would you give God? How would you want Him to show up in your life? How would you respond when He does?

 

 

John Parker is the Lead Pastor at Summit Church. You can get in touch with him at jparker@summitconnect.org.