Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions this Year

Most of you know the story of my extended hospital stay about 5 years ago.  If not, you can read the details here:  The short version is that I had a respiratory infection that led to being put on a respirator, that led to a heart attack, that led to a coma, that led to 8 weeks learning to walk again.

Through it all, I found myself asking why God spared my life, not once, but three times.  Two other people with the same condition I had died from respiratory failure while I was in the hospital and people die from heart attacks every day.  It is rare for someone to spend thirty minutes in CPR and live to talk about it.  I felt like Isaac, in the Old Testament, might have felt when he got off the altar after nearly being sacrificed by his father Abraham.  I knew that my life no longer belonged to me. From June 13, 2014 on, I have been living on time that has been added after my clock ran out.

This leads to the title of the post. I was listening to a podcast about New Year’s resolutions a while back and it cited a study that found most people abandon their resolutions after about 6 days. If you are reading this post when it goes up, and you made New Year’s resolutions this year, you can stop working out tomorrow and go back to eating Twinkies for breakfast. Or, you can take a different approach.

You see, it isn’t necessary to nearly die like me before making decisions about how you will live. The fact that my life isn’t really mine was driven home to me in a dramatic way. Maybe because that was the only way I would get the message, maybe because that is the only way that I could be moved to share the message with you, and maybe because it would take that kind of dramatic story for you to care what I have to say about life and death. Maybe all three.

The fact is we all wake up and do whatever we do every day because God has granted us another day to live. The real question, then, isn’t, “What resolutions will I make this year and keep for an average of 6 days?” But, “How will I live my life for God and not for me?” That’s a harder question because we’re not talking about private promises you make to yourself, but decisions and commitments that you make with God.

My goal is not to make you (or me) feel guilty, which leads to paralyzed inaction, but to stir convictions that will lead to personal and spiritual growth. Are you ready to live your life today as if you died yesterday? If you are a believer, will you put into practice Paul’s attitude that his life was not his own, but he was revived from spiritual death to spiritual life by God’s grace. (Read Ephesians 2:1-10) This is the same grace that has changed us and now sustains us.

If you want to get beyond New Year’s resolutions, try living like a dead person. What would you do differently if you really believed that each day is a new gift from God that you have the opportunity to use? Don’t just recycle your annual resolutions but spend time in prayer and reflection about how you might live your life differently and the impact that could have on yourself and others. Then, as God shows you the new directions, write them down and refer to them often. I pray that this is the year we will move past resolutions and make lasting commitments that will alter the rest of our lives and the lives of those we care about most.


Press On!



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The posts in my Christmas series were:

The Shepherds:

The Angel:

The Glory:

The Temple:

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