Maybe, like me, you started 2021 with targets about what you wanted to achieve. Perhaps you’re now questioning your ability to reach the goals made about your health, fitness, finances and so on. Are they really doable for this year? Have you been too ambitious? Do you have what it takes to see it through?
2020 taught us that life can go sideways fast. I had losses and wins in 2020. Midway through 2020, in the middle of a Covid-sparked national lockdown, I was intentional about the results I wanted in various aspects of my life, (chiefly: my writing, stress level, spiritual life, weight and relationships).
I brought in professionals such as a wellness coach and a spiritual counsellor, I took courses and I threw myself into achieving the goals, reminding myself of my “why”: why was this goal important to me? It involved consistent effort: small steps daily. There were days I missed the mark or gave into laziness but I kept going, one step at a time.
This is the approach I planned to take in 2021.
But during my devotion time on January 1, 2021, I was challenged about making three new resolutions. They have nothing to do with losing weight, fitness, going to bed earlier, watching less TV or getting more done during a work day. Yet these resolutions can revolutionize my life and yours in 2021 and beyond.
Resolution #1- resolve to claim God’s best
Chapter 21 of the book of Joshua sums up the outcome of the journey taken by the Israelites when they left oppression in Egypt to settle in the land God had promised them. Verses 43 to 45 (in the New Revised Standard Version) says:
“Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them; and having taken possession of it, they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their ancestors; not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” [Emphasis added]
Why this passage excited me is that it ignited a fire in me to resolve that: “in 2021, I will receive God’s best for my life.” We can make this our overarching resolution in 2021.
It’s a simple notion but so powerful once you grab hold of its meaning. In the above section from the book of Joshua, we see that God’s promises all materialized. Not one failed. Notice the repetition of the word “all” in the text. God was faithful to deliver His people into all the land he had selected for them. He drove out all their enemies. He gave His people peace. God is about giving us the fullness of things meant for our good. He doesn’t do half-measures.
Have the courage to release whatever in your life is not God’s best. All of it.
Resolution #2- resolve to be
God is interested in who we are becoming. Yes, doing the right things is great but are you, year by year, becoming a better person?
For instance, I ask myself: “am I growing in patience, humility, grace, slowness to speak, ability to listen, thanksgiving, forgiveness, inner strength, faith, hearing criticism without taking offense and not speaking in a way to cause offence?”
It starts with wisdom to know who God wants us to be. No matter what hurdles, roadblocks or potholes 2021 may bring, if you heed His Words, when you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will not stumble (see Proverbs chapter 4 verses 12 and 25-27)
Resolution #3- resolve to stand up
Resolve to be God’s man or woman for the season - no matter what. You have a purpose. It’s no accident you were born in this era and live where you do.
Sophie Scholl was a German woman born nearly a 100 years ago. A student in Munich, she stood for something in her generation. Sophie was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her: perhaps marriage, children, a career, a full life doing whatever she wanted to do. She was a smart, courageous girl with a firm sense of right and wrong.
Sophie was strongly opposed to the Nazis. She saw what they stood for and what the movement was doing to the Jews. She became a political activist against them and was active in a non-violent resistance group called the “White Rose” movement. Her stance was a dangerous one. It threatened her life. At just 21 years old, Sophie was arrested for distributing anti-Nazi/anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich.
She along with other members of the White Rose movement (her brother, Hans and a good friend) was executed for treason on February 22, 1943. Her last words, on the way to the guillotine were: “Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go... What does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”
May 9, 2021 will be Sophie’s 100th birthday. The anti-racism movements in America and across the world, environmental lobbies and various causes that stand up for the voiceless require people who are willing to fight for something, to fix injustices, to open people’s eyes to those who are suffering.
What do you want people to become awake to? Is it abused children in your community? The abandoned elderly? The plight of undocumented immigrants or refugees? Environmental degradation and pollution? What stirs up your sense of right and wrong? What are you willing to devote yourself to and sacrifice all for?
What if, this year, we resolved to live for something bigger than ourselves?
I believe these three resolutions will make us see the prospect of 2021 in a whole new light and navigate it in a way that gives it meaning, because we will please God more and more (1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 1).
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.