As a pastor, I hear from many parishioners who pledge to make changes in their lives, hoping to connect with God. I see the resolutions fade and with unfulfilled hopes and dreams, I see a sense of loss. There is nothing worse than making a promise to myself, only breaking my commitment within a week. I feel like a slide back into the darkness that I so desperately want to leave. I start out with the best of intentions, only to surrender when things get difficult. Little do I realize at the time, but my ability to rebound from defeat gets more challenging with each try.
It continues to be my experience that I must have a plan of action to succeed. Writing a resolution on paper is one thing but charting a way to achieve is another. I spend time in prayer and contemplation before moving forward with a spiritual discipline. For instance, a couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to read the Bible through in one year. Looking at how large the Bible is caused a little anxiety and fear that I could not achieve such a huge goal. I had to plan comprised of many smaller goals to reach the larger. Planning a course of action set me on a course by which I could find success.
This year add to the idea of making resolutions. Make a list of goals and plan a way by which you can accomplish your dreams. Spend time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide you on your journey. Write down and mark off smaller successes as you move to the big enchilada. In time, you find a sense of hope, purpose, and meaning. The way to the summit of achievement teaches valuable life lessons. Let the Spirit guide you, always taking time for prayer.
Happy New Year, and may God continue to guide you on your journey. Find joy in the greatest times of strife and remember to always look forward. Never surrender to the darkness but embrace the light. Remember, the darkness will never conquer it. Praise be to God, who brings us out of our greatest trials and into wholeness.