New Year. New Resolutions. We’ve all been there. We’ve made grand gestures of radical change in lifestyle, patterns of behaviour, thoughts, words, relationships at the start of a New Year. But how often do we find that by February we’ve slipped right back into our old ways and habits without seeing the change we felt God calling us into? Or perhaps we spend so much time reflecting on what and how we think God wants us to change but haven’t actually thought about how we step out in faith to enact that change.
So how do we see lasting change and transformation in our lives? Here’s how to take 6 steps towards this:
Listen to God.
It starts with hearing Him. What is God speaking into your life? What is His word for you? Where is He bringing conviction? What is he pinpointing for change? Are there new horizons He wants to show you? What are the key scriptures for the year?
Take time to stop and think.
We won’t make the right resolutions or form good plans if we haven’t stopped, prayed and reflected. Why have you made those resolutions? How much of the motivation is you (based in guilt, idealism, competition) and how much is God? What are the new opportunities that He’s opening for you? Why do you feel convicted (about diet, words, behaviour, relationships etc). If we don’t take time to reflect and observe properly we won’t make the right plans. We won’t see the change that God wants for us.
Talk about it with others.
Who are the people in your life who you can discuss these things with? Who can you get an outside opinion from? Who are the people who can be objective, encouraging and challenging to help you process how & why you are setting these resolutions. Who are the people that will help bring insight, who will ask helpful questions, and expand your thinking?
Make a plan.
Take what God’s been saying, your observations and reflections formed with others and make a plan of action. What will your first steps be? Make the plan realistic, measurable and set a timeframe. Then you’ll know how well you’ve done, what progress you’ve made, and what needs to be re-calibrated.
Find someone to ask you the tough questions.
Even with the greatest intentions in the world we’ll fail if we try and do this alone. So, who are the people that will hold us to account to the plans that we’ve made; the people around us who aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions, to challenge, to love, to support. Who are the people who will remind you of what you’ve resolved and what God’s word is to you?
Just Do It.
In the power of the spirit, and covered by prayer. As we step out in faith, let God do the work of transformation. Let him take our efforts, our plans, our actions and allow Him to bring the transformative work that He desires for us.