New Year’s Resolutions and Christianity

New Year’s Resolutions are something I have done many times. I guess I call them more “goals for the year,” but it’s the same thing.

I don’t always hit my goals, but I don’t really write them to make them happen. I write them to encourage me to do a little more than I would otherwise. I have no problem determining later that the goal aint gonna happen, that other things popped up, or that my time would be better served elsewhere.

Back in the day I would obsess over my goals and do them at all costs. If I had to be rude to people to get away from them so I could go home and read 200 more pages to get back on track, I would.

That wasn’t right! I learned that the exercise of my faith–love–trumped any goal. If my goals are taking me away from serving people and being patient, then I’d back off them. I even skipped doing goals for a couple years as I realized they had become a problem.

Goals have become a thing I do when there is nothing else to do. What I’ll do with my free time. They revolve around reading, exercise and various hobbies that replace television and other, what I consider, waste of time diversions.

There have been some Christians who criticize resolutions/goals because they are legalism and a reliance on fleshly power. I find that stupid. I find them a handy tool to keep my body under subjection and a way to redeem the time.

I typically do not tell anyone what my goals are, because my goal with goals is to keep them floating, not too serious.

My pastoral advice on goals is this–if your life is already too busy, set a goal to nix some activities, relax more. Be with people. Go to some funerals. Set a goal to have time for people.

If you are a person who sees that you tend to waste too much time on television, video games or mindless, fruitless activity, then set some goals to do different stuff, be with more people, have a life that is interesting so people know what to talk to you about. Have a life a conversation can be struck up about, a life that people know what to get you for Christmas!

This pastor is all for people using their time to encourage interaction with others, which can’t happen if you don’t do anything. We are creatures of habit and many of our habits are a waste of time. Goals can help you overcome the wasting of time. Be specific, it helps to be able to count your results–books read, miles walked, etc.

Do some stuff. But if the doing of stuff takes you away from people, makes you impatient to leave people so you can go home and do your goal, then you’ve missed the point. Go for it, but without love there is no profit.