Many of us make New Year’s resolutions related to losing weight, exercise or making a change in the way we interact with our families. Many times we start strong but find it difficult to follow through on our resolutions. I have found that in spite of my best efforts to change things in my life I often fell short leading to frustration, a sense of failure or worse, loss of motivation.
Why do we fall short of our New Year’s Resolutions?
I think this stems from the fact that the change either required more self-discipline than we possess or what we are targeting is a symptom rather than the underlying cause. In either case I found that a spiritual answer is in order. So perhaps in 2019 a different type of resolution would serve us better.
Let’s not set ourselves up for disappointment with our New Year’s Resolutions this year.
While we talk about and focus on self-control, discipline and making good decisions, why is it difficult to follow through? Let me propose that lasting change in our lives often stems from a different source. I found in my life that over time I had grown emotionally distant and numb and had become hard and defensive. This led people around me to think I was proud, arrogant or self-confident when in reality my confidence had evaporated because of a series of events that left deep wounds within. That is when I discovered a spiritual answer I did not expect.
Many people in the US report being Spiritual
Many in our society consider themselves to be spiritual. Some report feeling led or moved to do things they would not normally consider. Many more say they feel negative or guilty after making a poor decision. Their feelings seem to emanate from within.
Why is this the case? Is there a spiritual element we all possess?
Whether you are convinced God does not exist, is cruel or believe in a higher power, let me encourage you to keep reading or listening. Why? Because I found a spiritual answer that led to deep healing and restoration of my heart, joy, and peace that made it far easier to be kind and patient with my kids.
Recently I came across a passage that echoed what I have found at work in my heart and my life. It says:
I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, where are you going? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
The passage above is found in John. While I know faith, the Bible and Jesus have a questionable image in our society, because of the poor conduct of some, I would encourage everyone who reads this to consider the existence of the helper mentioned in the passage.
Jesus states that it is to our advantage that He leaves earth so the helper will come. it is significant because this person can help us live more peaceful, patient and fulfilled lives. In other passages it is said that the helper:
- Guides us
- Heals our hearts
- Serves as a buffer between us and God so we do not have to be perfect
- Convicts us of right and wrong
- Grants patience
- Grants self-control
- The Spirit even pours love into our hearts.
I am pretty sure virtually everyone would admit that the world could use far more people who are filled with genuine love. Perhaps we fell short of our resolutions in the past because we were not looking to the helper for patience or self-control.
So who is this helper? The helper is the Holy Spirit who is said to take up residence within our hearts. I believe there is a spiritual element in everyone that the Holy Spirit is tugging on deep within. Perhaps this is why so many report being spiritual.
Prior to considering the helper, I found change in my life hard to come by for a several reasons. Why was it hard for me to change prior to discovering the many roles that the Holy Spirit plays in my life?
- ) I was relying on my knowledge and ability to make good decisions.
- ) I had stuffed many hurts throughout my life causing me to basically cut off my heart to avoid dealing with the hurt that had amassed within it.
- ) My heart was heavy, numb and clouded. Like the passage says sorrow had filled my heart.
Even though I had a faith in God and had been told of the Spirit’s existence, my reliance on my knowledge and making good decisions had me focused on my head rather than my heart. Compounding this was the fact that the unhealed pain, numbness and sorrow in my heart made it difficult to discern guidance of the Spirit who resides in the heart.
It was not until a professional counselor told me my heart was shutdown that things began to change. She pointed me to the fact that I had grown numb and that I had been stuffing my pain rather than moving through it. It was difficult to open my heart and allow myself to encounter and release the pain. It had been years since I could say I felt whole inside.
As I sought healing, the Spirit pulled down the guard I had put around my heart and pain flowed in tears and then anger. Off loading the pain and hurt was freeing. I felt lighter, happier and could begin to sense the Spirit’s leading. Clearly He changed my heart, which changed my outlook on life.
So as 2019 approaches, consider a different kind of resolution this year … A Spiritual Resolution to seek the helper to illuminate the areas of your heart that are wounded by the past. Turn and face the pain they represent and seek the Spirit’s help to experience and release the pain. You will not believe the difference it will make in your life. You will see everything in a more hopeful, positive and compassionate light.