Finding True Restoration in New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:30-31

COVID-19 has disrupted so many natural rhythms of life. Yet many traditions persist. I still made resolutions this year. I am still dreaming about how things can be better—how I can be better. Maybe you are doing the same.

For me, creating New Year’s Resolutions requires a lot of introspection. I lay in bed, take an inventory of my greatest faults, and devise a plan of action to remedy each of them. This is the season of new beginnings, after all—a chance to start fresh. And after last year, I know hitting the reset button sounds good to a lot of us.

Perhaps you created some resolutions too. Maybe you want to lose weight, exercise more, save money, or volunteer more. It is good to desire things like health, joy or generosity. In fact, our resolutions are evidence of hope, and hope comes from God (James 1:17). It is not wrong to create resolutions. We are imperfect people. But more than that—we are sinful people. Our brokenness often goes much deeper than our list of New Year’s resolutions can address. There is no fitness routine, budget or schedule that will fix what is really wrong with us.

I am not trying to dissuade you from health or discipline or self-improvement. Your desires for self-improvement are good! But I am challenging you to consider if your New Year’s resolutions reveal something deeper— a belief in your own lack, something in your soul that feels incomplete. If this is true for you, changing your behavior will work for only a short time. You will grow tired. You will stumble. You won’t be able to restore your soul on your own. Only Jesus can do that.

So if you do want to lose weight or get fit, know that because of Jesus, you are beautiful. God calls you radiant (Psalm 34:5). If you want to save money and be more financially secure, believe that God will meet all of your needs (Philippians 4:19). If you want to volunteer more, know that if you are in Christ, you are already covered with God’s righteousness. You cannot ever do enough to add to your salvation (Romans 10:3).

You might crush your New Year’s resolutions, or maybe they’ll quickly fall by the wayside. But if you’re left feeling a lack deep in your soul, a deeper resolve is not the answer. Jesus is. If it is true restoration you want—true newness—remember not to lean on your willpower. Instead, lean on Jesus. Take your aches, your failures, your inadequacies to him. We are not meant to thrive apart from Christ. But in Christ, we lack no good thing (Psalm 23:1).

I really do hope you achieve your goals and get that fresh start you desire. Enjoy the good things in life, and have the best year ever.

Reflection Questions

  • What are the things in your life that you most want to change?
  • How have you tried to make changes on your own? Have they been effective? How do you feel?
  • What do you think Jesus thinks of these problems? What would he say to you if he was sitting and talking with you about them?
  • Pray and ask the Lord to renew your strength where you feel weak.