By: Melisa Carroll
Happy New Year Be Love Revolutionaries! I hope your 2018 is off to a lovely start!
I’m sure you’ve been hearing and thinking about resolutions for a couple days now and are probably reading this thinking something along the lines of… “Oh great. Here comes another idea for a resolution that I probably won’t keep and then feel kind of like a failure when I realize in the middle of February that I forgot about it.” If you are thinking of that, then I get where you’re coming from. I’ve often thought the same thing about resolutions. I always make them in the beginning of the year with these high hopes and then promptly forget about them a few weeks later.
Well this year, my fellow revolutionaries, I present to you yet another idea for a resolution, but this time, I intend to keep it and I invite you to join me. I invite you to join me in a resolution to choose hope, choose joy, and choose love this year.
I’ll be honest- this last year was a bit of a toughy for me. There were a lot of amazing blessings, but also a lot of challenges and trials. Jesus was with me through them all, and I am so grateful for His loving presence, but I’ll admit that I’m really looking forward to a new year and a fresh start. Even if January 1st is just another day and really no different from December 31st, I like to take every opportunity to look at things in a new way, or to give myself a chance at starting over.
When I was praying in Adoration the other day, I really felt a call to look at this year as a year of choice. A little background information… I have a tendency to look at the negative things that could happen in life- or the worse case scenario- and worry about how I’ll be disappointed or hurt or challenged. But that’s not how Christ calls us to live. He calls us to be like little children, and little children have hopes and dreams about the future that are full of laughter, joy, peace, and love. If He is our loving, caring, and doting Father, then why do we fear that the future will hold anything but what is good for us, His children? “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)
When we encounter difficulty in life- whether big or small- we have a choice. We can choose to look at the ways things could go wrong, or we could choose to look at everything with eyes of hope, joy, and love. For example, say you find out that you did poorly on a big test that you thought you would do well on. Instead of thinking, “Wow. I bombed that. I thought for sure I had it in the bag! Ugh. That probably means that I’m going to do poorly the rest of this year too,” choose hope! Remind yourself that one mistake doesn’t mean everything is ruined forever, but that you can get back up from a little bump and still look to the future with joyful anticipation. Maybe that bad test grade was the motivation you needed to study harder and get A’s on the rest of the tests all year.
No matter what last year held for you, look at this new year with the eyes of faith. Think about all the ways that God will surely bless you and look forward to them with the expectancy of a child. Be excited about 2018! God is a “good, good Father” and we are “loved by Him”, so you know that there will be many proofs of His love in this year. There will surely be challenges too- but that’s when you get to make your choice.
So I’m going to ask you to make your first choice right now: will you join me in my resolution to choose hope, joy, and love this year? Practice making that choice right now: do you choose to envision this year as a year when you will succeed in sticking to your resolution: choosing hope, joy, and love in even the toughest of situations or will you resign yourself to another “failed” resolution? (Although, even if you only remembered your resolution for a few weeks- you still gave it a shot, which is better than nothing at all!)
I’m even going to suggest another tool to help you keep to your resolution: accountability. If you feel called to join me in this resolution, let’s keep each other accountable. Find a friend to make this resolution with and encourage each other to choose hope, joy, and love. With someone else to support you, you’re much more likely to keep to your resolution, so take advantage of the wonderful gift of friendship and community that the Lord has blessed you with (and yes, you do have friendship and community- right here in the BLR!).
So will you join me? I’m hopeful that you will.