After some consideration of what my resolutions should be for 2017 I discovered there are twelve “tions” that should not be shunned! Hehe! So I will share them with you!
#1) Meditation: I do not recommend meditation in the sense of repeating some mantra or using any type of mystical/metaphysical middle eastern (philosophically) meditation. As a Christion, Christian, scripturally, it is scriptural! I use meditation biblically to achieve a calm spirit, to get before the Lord in humility and discipline myself, to obey his command, to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
#2) Expectation: This is twofold. I must let go of my unhealthy ideas and set realistic goals. Letting go of the expectation that I need to lose a hundred pounds by next week is healthy for my mind and body. Setting realistic expectations by setting smaller goals and taking baby steps to achieve those goals will keep me motivated and focused on realistic accomplishments. But first I must believe it is possible! As Jesus said, you are never going to move that mountain until you believe (Mark 11:23). Hey, that gives me an idea! Fat, be removed from my body and be thrown to the feet of Jesus! Hey, it just might work!
#3) Prioritization: While some things are more important to me than others I find myself spending time, money and energy on what is not as important. For instance, while paying bills is essential, tithing is even more essential. He wants us to trust Him in this. He knows our needs and He always takes care of us, if we put Him first (Malachi 3:10). The same is true with our time. While spending time with our children is a necessity, spending time with God is even more important. I love the analogy of the oxygen mask in the airplane, in case of an emergency, the parent must put on their oxygen mask before putting a mask on their child.They will be of no use to help their child if they pass out while putting their child’s on first. When we spend time with God we are actually making ourselves the priority.
#4) Specification: While setting goals for the new year we must be specific! I must decide what I want and how I will get it or where I want to go and how I will get there. If I say I want my income to increase I must also specify how I plan to make that happen (Hint: tithing is key). If I am going to find a new job, where will I look, when will I complete my resume, how much of an increase will I expect to make, will I work two jobs for a time, how much time, etc? By increasing our income we are more likely to achieve our other goals. We should pray specifically. John 11:22 says, whatever we ask of God, He will give it to us. While He knows what we want before we even ask, He also gives us what we ask, so it seems important that we should ask specifically!
#5) Preparation: Are you prepared to receive what you’ve asked for? Sometimes I think God is not giving me what I want because He knows I am not ready for it. What can you do to prepare yourself for your future? For me, getting rid of clothes that are too big for me helps me to prepare to not gain any weight back. It tells my brain that I expect my body to stay that way or get smaller!
If God increases your income, would you be a good steward of the increase? Maybe you are not able to get the promotion at work because you have not done the appropriate training for the position. What do you need to do to get in position to receive what’s coming? Preparation is a sign of your faith that you believe you will receive what you are asking for.
#6) Visualization: Use your imagination to visualize what you want. This is something that I have been working on. I never used to have a big imagination. I was never a dreamer. I was more realistic. But now I think that is boring! God has big plans for us! He has always spoken to His people in visions. Be wise and consider the source of your vision and the motivation behind your vision. You want your dreams and plans to fall in line with what He has for you. But don’t be scared to dream BIG! Have fun and see where He leads you!
#7) Appreciation: Give thanks in all things. This is especially important when we are focused on what is not going right for us. Sometimes I have nothing to give but gratitude. Sometimes the very most important thing we can give is grace. Be gracious and say “Thank you”! It costs nothing and can lift you out of a depression. Focus your attention on things that are good! One of my favorite verses is Phil. 4:8, “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things”.
#8) Education: Humility is a great virtue. There is always room for growth. I’ve discovered that the more I know about a subject, the more I discover that there is to learn. I want to be a better speaker so I am joining Toastmasters which gives me opportunities to develop speaking skills. What is it you desire to learn? Read a book or take a class this year.
#9) Documentation: We quickly lose sight of where we have been without documenting our path to where we are. I have been documenting my weight. I would say my weight loss but I have seen it go up and down and up and down. Ugh! I cannot wonder why I haven’t lost weight because the truth is I have lost weight, and gained, and lost and … There are many things we can document, our finances, our gratitudes, our days, our plans, our travels. Documenting gives us a sense of real accomplishment.
#10) Production: When my weight loss far outweighs my weight gains and I finally reach my goal I will have produced my desired outcome. My closet will be full of size 10 clothing. I will have produced victory in the weight loss arena! What things do you look forward to producing this year? Six pack abs? Your own business? A six-figure income? What are you working to achieve? All of these “tions” will help you get there! As I meditate on what I want and I am committing my plans to the Lord, He will see that I succeed! (Pro. 16:3) As we discipline ourselves to achieve our goals we will produce a harvest of blessing! (Hebrews 12:11)
#11) Minimalization: Yes! It is a word! I looked it up! Minimalism is becoming a big thing and for good reason. Reducing the material clutter in our lives somehow reduces mental and emotional clutter too. Who does not want clarity? If you haven’t already, I suggest starting with your clothing. The best way to do this is to put every article of clothing you own in a heap. One by one, hold each item and ask yourself if it gives you joy. If it doesn’t, it goes! In general, try living with as little as possible, opt out of buying new items that are not absolutely necessary. Materialism has become so prominent in our culture. Other cultures with less stuff are so much more full of joy and peace and happiness. That is to be desired!
#12) Resolution: And finally, resolve to make these “tions” a part of your daily life. Ultimately, we all want to look back at the end of our life and see that we have lived well, full, happy and meaningful lives. We have prospered in the things that matter. We grew in knowledge and love. We lived with faith and believed in ourselves and others. As Paul wrote about in 1 Cor. 13, without faith and love nothing we say or do matters. Happy New Year/ New You!