Friday, January 27, 2012

Finding a New Kind of Resolution

I've always loved New Year's Day, the annual fresh start. Followed by January - the month of potential.

I recall sitting down one January years ago with a yellow legal pad, pencil in hand, ready to determine my New Year's resolutions.



I thought through each major area of my life: my career, relationships, finances and faith. I wrote down all the things I wanted to stop doing, and all the things I wanted to start doing.  I looked over my list. And immediately felt overwhelmed.

I clearly had much to work on. Much to do. Much to fix. Much to establish. And much to kick.

I was going to need more coffee.

It was that same familiar urge rising up that I talked about in my devotion published today with P31: to try to make myself both more and less of me. Am I the only girl repeatedly plagued by such thoughts?

I assumed tackling all these flaws and developing all these good practices would make my life great - and that's a hard belief to shake.

Then I cracked open my Bible, with its message of grace and of Spirit-fueled transformation. Looking through the lens of the Gospels, I saw a different story than the one scribbled on my notepad. And I got a much needed injection of direction.
 
"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."  ~ Jesus in John 15:4 


I realized that life in Christ is not intended to be an exercise in willpower for behavior modification. It’s intended to be an exercise in yielding for heart transformation.

Once again Jesus shushed my endless listing of all the things I want to change or improve about myself. Once again He afforded me humble contentment with who I am and who I'm made to be, along with the promise of coming fruit. Really, what could be better?

I do New Year's resolutions quite differently now, but you can read about that in my previous post.

Welcome if you are new here - take a second to say "hello."

18 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm Cynthia. Just wanted to say thanks for your words you shared today. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hello Cynthia. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Hi Rachel - your blog and especially today's P31 devotion was just what the Lord needs me to grasp.... "When I stop striving to create a life for myself (or create the life I feel others expect me to lead, I would add), I find the life God creates for me." Wow. Right between the eyes. Thank you for being who God wants you to be (nothing more, nothing less) so you can speak into other women's lives...like mine. God bless you :)

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    1. Amen, Stacy. Thanks for that encouragment today. Blessings back at ya!

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  3. I focused in on that same sentence, too, Stacy. "When I stop striving to create a life for myself, I find the life God creates for me." Thanks for today's devotional, Rachel : ) It has encouraged my heart.

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  4. Rachel, thank you so much for your encouraging words today. In your devotional and in your blog. I have struggled in this area for such a long time. Your words spoke volumes to my heart, mind and spirit. I am planning on printing this out for daily reminder and so I may truly study in this area of need. Thank you again my sister in Christ! To God be the glory! God bless you!!

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    1. Shira, thanks for this sweet comment today.

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  5. Hi, I'm Val and a new follower to your blog, after reading your P31 devotional. Thank you for your honesty, it was an infusion of what I needed to hear this morning as our daughter rolled in last night for a college break (so the effortless house cleaning has never been further away than at this moment:). And btw is it not obvious by now that you are not the only woman who feels this way on a daily if not hourly basis. Blessings to you and all women striving to be the best where God has placed us.

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  6. Hey Val. Isn't it good to know we're not alone in our crazy thoughts and impulses? And isn't it great to know Christ is here to move us beyond all that?!

    I'm glad you stopped by. Enjoy the weekend and your relationship with your daughter - the opportunites for connection with our growing children get fewer and farther between, don't they? (Unfortunately the house and its stuff is always there waiting on us!) Blessings.

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  7. Hi Rachel,

    Well, you already know that I was inspired by your Proverbs 31 post and this one just confirms it. Thank you for helping me find my one word for this year: CONTENTMENT. Now, do you think you could get the dishes for me too??? :-)

    Have a Goldilocks day!

    Leah

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  8. Dear Rachel, Thank you for the confirmation to the place I sit right now. I am not winning any popularity contest, but the Father is giving me a "Well done", right now with the sun on my face. I have been trying to please everyone for so many years I can't count and I have had a few royal melt-downs, because of that pleasing. "Be still and know that I am your God", is what I am hearing. After 20 years living in a place that I never even unpacked my treasures I put up some gauzy curtains,covered an old ugly piece of furniture with an antique table cloth and bought some flowers to sit with my few little treasures.
    I took the internship I wanted, joined the online Bible Study with Renee and accepted that I may not be making everyone happy with me, but they will have to live with the person God is making me to be instead of the person I was trying to be to please them all...maybe my hair will thicken up, what do you think?
    Love your blog
    Shalom,Deena

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  9. Can you hear me applauding, Deena? More importantly can you sense Christ's pleasure?

    You know what? I do think your hair looks a little fuller today!

    Thanks for chiming in here. You are welcome anytime - just as you are.

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  10. An exercise in yielding indeed! Every single day.

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  11. Hi Rachel,
    Fantastic post that really hits home for me...in real time. I struggle each day with feelings of failure in my Christian walk and with who I am in that journey, with who I want to be and how very far away from that dream women I currently am. I have placed heaps of guilt upon myself for not being the perfect Christian women. Yes your post was wonderfully timed, inspiring and I thank you for sharing.
    Blessings
    Paula

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    1. Hi Paula. Thanks for chiming in here. I can relate to what you've said. I love this quote from A.W. Tozer. Maybe it will speak to you too.

      "We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections, and believing that He understands everything and loves us still."

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  12. loved your P31 devotion today :) Exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you! God bless you :) "When I stop striving to create a life for myself, I find the life God creates for me."

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    1. Amen, Roana! Come back and visit here anytime. :)

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