I'm really not a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. When I've made them in the past, I was always gung ho in the first few days of January to work on them. But, as the month wore on, and work piled up as I did all the year end bookkeeping that needs to happen when you are self employed, my resolve to work on those resolutions began to fade and I ended up feeling like a loser. Not a great way to start a New Year!
So, Ann Voskamp's post got me thinking that there might be a better way. She said, "sometimes you don't need New Year's resolutions - like you need SOULutions - for a new you." Ann spoke of a woman in her church who shared with her "how she changed a dissolving story line in her life - into a good story." How did the woman do it? The woman, Marion, said, "Well, I just purposed. Like Daniel. You know, you've read it - that Daniel purposed in his heart...so I figured that any dare to change my heart - starts with purposing in the heart. " Ann went on to say, "Purposing to change happens where prayer meets perseverance."
Like Daniel, Ann felt challenged to purpose in her heart, to let prayer and perseverance meet, by writing down her aims for each month. She wrote out each aim with prayers of hope and intention. She wrote it down because "sometimes - when things seem overwhelming, all you really need to do is simply the next thing. And sometimes, following a prayer on a cue card is your next thing."
Ann also shared a post by another blogger, Lor Ferguson of Sayable, who followed this SOULutions idea in 2016. Lor goes into detail about her aims - her purposes- that she prayed about and embraced during the upheaval of three moves and job changes. Lor said, "I don't know where you are or what kind of year you've had or want to have. I don't know how unmoored and unanchored you feel. I don't know what you're afraid of or excited about. But if you're struggling to pick up your feet, your head, your eyes, or your heart, this might be a small discipline you can do with the Spirit's help. He helped me this year. I tackled these index cards above three different sinks in three different places we lived this year and every day when everything around me was shifting and turning, I would remember and breath and do what the card said."
I'm going to do it, with the Spirit's help. I printed out a list from Ann's website that says,
2017 this is the year I purpose to...
(There is a free printable sheet on Ann Voskamp's post, along with monthly cards too, or you can use simple index cards.)
Then, I spent some time in prayer, and over the course of a couple days, filled in the blanks with my aims, my purpose, for each month, along with a Bible verse if it came to mind. I used some of Ann's aims and some of Lor Ferguson's, along with some of my own. For example,
Embrace joy and laughter (Gal 5:22, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace...", Job 8:21, "He will again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.")
Engage my mind in memorization (Psalm 1:2, "His(her) delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he(she)meditates day and night."
Be still (Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God...")
Believe God for Impossible things (Matthew 19:26, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Luke 1:37, "For nothing will be impossible with God."
Anyway, you get the idea. What do you think? Does this resonate with any of you? As I was thinking and praying about this, I read these words by Corrie Ten Boom in a devotional book,
"May I give you something to do for the new year? Go alone before the Lord, and together with Him, examine yourself. Do you know that you are forgiven? Have you forgiven others? When you do that, the Lord will give you a victorious new year." Spending time in the Word and prayer helped me fill in the blanks, define areas I desire to grow, in this new year.
If any of you are game to try this with me, I would love to hear from you! Hope you are staying warm and safe on the icy roads. Warmly, Gracia