Spiritual Sunday: A New PathPosted: December 30, 2012
2012 will come to a close tomorrow. 2013 is just a couple of sunrises away. While the change from one year to the next is brief and abrupt–just one second in the passing of time–each year, it’s such an anticipated moment. When Christmas has ended, we tend to look back on the rest of the year and reflect. We critique ourselves:
- What did I do right?
- Where did I go wrong?
- How can I improve?
After some reflection, we come up with a list of resolutions for the impending new year:
- Exercise more.
- Eat healthier.
- Have more patience.
- Make time to relax.
- Get organized.
- Blog consistently.
The repetitiveness of this New Year’s tradition says something about it’s effectiveness: it’s not effective. Ask any true gym rat (my mom!) and they will tell you how annoying it is at the beginning of January when unfamiliar faces start pouring in. They take over the aerobics classes and occupy the machines until maybe mid-February, and then the crowd starts to dwindle. By March, the gym is left with the same faithful members that were there the year before. The commercials and advertisements shout to you this time of year: Match.com, Nutri-system, Weight Watchers, etc. They prod you onto a path of finding a better you.
I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t make resolutions. That we shouldn’t strive to better ourselves. I’m questioning the method. If this is your fifth year in a row of making a resolution to exercise more, there must be a reason that it’s not sticking with you. Some might argue that it’s simply a matter of willpower. That’s a possibility. But there could be something else holding you back.
Unless your mind is already on the path to a better you, your body will not follow. If your mind is telling you at the end of the year that you’re not good enough, that you need to make changes to yourself, then your mind is not in a good place. It’s going to convince your body to stop all efforts, and it will succeed. The repetitiveness of our New Year’s resolutions tells us that.
How do you break the cycle?
When I was struggling with post-partum depression, I tried getting myself organized. I tried exercising. I tried eating better. But my mind wasn’t in the right place. It didn’t stick. And then I started reading the Bible. I started praying. I started listening to what God had to say instead of what the world had to say. And among the many wonderful things that He told me was this:
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.
But with God everything is possible.” -Matthew 19:26 (NLT)
The path I needed to find for a better life wasn’t through my own critique of what was wrong with my life, but through seeking God’s purpose for me. It wasn’t a gym membership or a new diet plan, but taking in more spiritual food. The more I come to know God and to follow the path that He has set for me, the more everything else falls into place.
I’m exercising more.
I’m eating healthier.
I’m feeling more confident.
I’m more organized.
And most importantly, I’m following God’s path for my life, because that path has a promise of something greater beyond this life:
This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you,
the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ. -John 17:3 (NWT)
Finding your spiritual path to God is not the easy path. It’s not a quick fix. But for me, it’s the only one that lasts.
I need no resolutions this year, but to continue getting to know God. Once our minds are set on following His path, all of our other needs will fall into place.
May God bless your life and your family this New Year!