To Make a New Year’s Resolution or Not? That Is The Question…

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Even if you don’t go for a big New Year’s Eve celebration, the New Year can mark a fresh start, a new beginning, a shift in focus. It’s a good time to take a look back at the past, and consider a vision for the year ahead.

Many people choose a New Year’s resolution or two…

* Losing 20 pounds.

* Becoming more organized.

* Joining the gym.

* Making daily quiet time a priority.

However, many loathe New Year’s resolutions.

Instead of being an opportunity for change, many experience guilt and shame. Just a few weeks after January, their plans/goals/resolutions fall apart. Anybody?

So what’s a well-intentioned person to do?

A couple of years ago, One Word for the New Year started gaining momentum.

I loved this concept. I found it freeing and first wrote about it here. Then last year, I wrote about it again here. At the time I wrote that post, I wasn’t yet clear about my word for 2013.

My word turned out to be CHANGE. And I can tell you I resisted that word, because I do not like change.

Oh no, I do not. In fact, when I felt sure that God had impressed that word on my heart, I had a little chat with Him. “Do I have to?” “What will this mean?” “I confess God, I am afraid of change.”

Well, as ancient philosopher Heraclitus once said in 535 B.C., “The only thing that is constant is change.” And I know this is true. 2013 was indeed a year of change, large and small...My last baby went off to college. My home became very quiet and felt a little empty. I cleaned out and changed the color of my office. I learned how to cook for two (at least sometimes). My husband Chris and I navigated our new normal. And on Thanksgiving Day, I became a first-time grandmother!

Ahhhhhhh…quite a year. So now what? Well, time for another year and another word.

Here’s what I do:

1. I take time to reflect on what the Lord has been saying to me recently through His Word, music, and my life. Any neon-sign like rumblings in my mind? Any scripture that’s sticking with me? Any lessons I feel God is trying to teach me? I jot these thoughts down.

2. I let these thoughts “marinate.” I notice thoughts and words that are highlighted in the ordinary day-to-day of life.

3. Finally, I gather with extended family at my sister’s on New Year’s Day. By this time, I’ve had several days, if not weeks, to discern my One Word and a Scripture that goes with it. I facilitate a short devotional and share the concept of One Word. Everyone there takes a few minutes to share his or her word. One person volunteers to record the others’ words, along with accompanying comments.

In just a few days, we will get together again as a family to chat about this last year, our One Word, and how it did or didn’t define this last year…and share our new Word for 2014.

I’d love for us to come together here, at Circles of Faith, on January 1st and share our One Word with one another.  You can do that in the comment or if you have a blog and you’ll be able to LINK UP a post about your One Word. Won’t you join us?

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Elise Daly Parker has been married for 28 years and is mom to four mostly grown girls. She is a writer, editor, writing coach, and blogger. She believes we all have stories that matter--big life bios and small meaningful moments. Elise believes our stories are a reflection of God’s glory and are meant to be shared. They have the power to inform, reform, and transform. She loves God, family, friends...and really likes travel!

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