I don’t do resolutions.
Several years ago, an acquaintance writing an article about New Year’s resolutions asked for mine. My response was so cynical: I told her I fell short of my own expectations so often that I had stopped making resolutions, since they only set me up for more failure. Looking back, I think my passion for a fresh batch of big goals burned out about the same time I had kids.
As parents, we feel like failures more often than not as we put ourselves, our lives, and our families next to a measuring stick of someone else’s social media feed as well as our own expectations. It’s been a relief in recent years as I haven’t felt like a RESOLUTION was constantly looking over my shoulder, grading how well I parent, how much I exercise, or how clean my house might be.
Instead of fretting over what I should be improving, I can simply remind myself of what God is going to do this year—and what He does every year.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 NIV
For 39 chapters, God (through Isaiah’s inspired words) tells Israel and a lot of other nations that they’re going to mess up. He describes all the ways they’re going to fall short, in amazing and frightening detail. Then he tells them he’s going to judge and punish them, and how he’s going to do it. Years before any of it actually happens.
But then, in chapter 40, everything changes. Isaiah reassures Israel that after the shortcomings, after the punishing exile, after the sadness and the pain, God is on their side. He fights for them, carries them, and redeems them by sending the Messiah.
In 2018, I will not read my Bible as much as I should. I will disappoint my kids. My house won’t be as clean as I would like. But I know that God carries us close to his heart and gently leads us, even as he foresees every way we will fall short this year. And knowing that makes it easier to give grace—to myself and others—and try again tomorrow.