The New Year is upon us: a new year is often a time of reflection and goal setting.

Why is it that New Years resolutions are the most unkept goals ever made? I believe it is because they are guilt-driven. We feel we haven’t done “good enough” in the previous year, we feel that we were slack, that we missed opportunity or that we should have done better. And this year we will!

Guilt is not the emotion that should be driving us at our goals setting, planning times.

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Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,
And a light unto my path
Ps 119:105

It is God’s Word that needs to be the starting point when we make plans or set goals for the coming year.

  • God’s Word says, I can do all things in Christ – who strengthens me.(Phil 4:13)
  • God’s Word says, In Christ there is no condemnation. (Rom 8:1).
  • God’s Word says, We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes. (Rom 8:28 )

The one thing that we may need to acknowledge is our tendency to do it in our own strength. For that I am guilty! For that I will receive Jesus’ forgiveness and start this year on a new page, with a fresh desire to lean on Him. There is no need to set guilt driven goals.

Why think about goals or plans?

Be very careful, then how you live –
not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish,
but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Ephesians 4:15-17

Setting goals is one way of living carefully. We need to be aware of the weaknesses that hinder us from walking in God’s plans. Procrastination, over-commitment, apathy, tiredness, comparing ourselves with others, indecision, the list could go on, and the list will be different for each one of us. We need to see that each day is given to us by God and He has a plan for that day. He has a purpose for that day. When we let our weaknesses dictate how our days go we are being foolish.

We are not to let one moment slip by – we are to make the most of every opportunity. How can we “make the most of every opportunity” (that comes our family way) and yet have plans as well? This seems to be a conundrum only because we look at it in terms of doing stuff – making plans to do; whether it is making plans for our homeschool, or setting goals for personal growth.  But Jesus is always looking at our hearts – we need to make the most of every opportunity to be what Christ wants us to be. Our plans need to help us be ready for every opportunity that comes our way, to help us be what Christ wants us to be.

What does God want us to be? Lev 19:2 says speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and say to them, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Holy means set apart, consecrated, ready to be used by God, for God.

Are your plans for the coming year in line with God’s desires for you or your family? We would be well served to hold off from planning curriculum, schedules and activities for a week or two and seek God, pray, and learn from Him what heart issues need to be worked on this year, what heart issues you need to be prepared for and spend your planning time on those things first.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God
and His righteousness,
and all these things
shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

2 Comments

  1. Kath

    Great reminder, Belinda. I love the thought that guilt and the expectations of others can drive us into the new year. Something to chew on. Thanks

    Reply
  2. Sharon

    Dear Belinda,

    Thank you for this post.

    I have spent many years even after marriage trying to please my parents and sister and friends. I have always put them first even before my own family.

    I guess being Chinese does not help as there is the filial piety that goes with our culture. Yet even though I try to live up to my sister’s and parents’ expectations, living in Australia and being married to a wonderful Australian Christian man still causes many frictions and arguments with my family because I am not ‘Chinese’ enough.

    What is being ‘Chinese’?

    I guess in God’s eyes it is irrelevant as long as I am obeying him and seeking his purpose for me.

    This year, my goal is to really seek God for his purpose for my marriage and family, and ask him to help me to navigate all the Chinese cultural nuances when interacting with my parents and sister.

    Both my parents and sister are Catholics, but my father is a lapsed Catholic. However, they are very very Chinese in their thinking especially my parents.

    Thank you again for posting this article.

    It has been a real wake up call for me.

    I need to learn to be a God pleaser, and not a people pleaser for 2018.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Love Sharon

    Reply

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