Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011, A New Year, A New Me?

For today and today only let’s pretend you are the recipient of a great gift.  You have a ticket on a time machine.  But there is a catch.  You can only go back as far as December 31, 2009.   As you think back over the past 12 months, can you think of any day that you would go back to and change in the time machine?
Would you study for a test?  Still say those things to your husband, your child your mom, brother or sister?  Would you let yourself gossip about that irritating person?  Would you again tell that little white lie, or skip those quiet time with God? 

Take a moment to think about the past year.  See if anything comes to mind that you would change if you could.  Owning up to our failures is the first, painful step on the road to something better for our lives.

Now let's really put our imaginations to work.  You've just figured out how to turn the time machine forward.  It's December 31, 2011.  What have you been doing for the past 12 months?  Think about what will be different, what will be the same. Will you a kinder person?  Are there different attitudes in your home?  Are you happier, more loving?  Are you walking with Jesus, involved with the church? 

Don’t be afraid to dream.  If you never set up your own little row of tin cans to shoot at, you’re not very likely to hit anything, are you? 

Though it's sometimes fun to daydream, it's not enough to just hope and dream about the future and the person we’d like to become.  There's an old saying
"Those who fail to plan, plan to fail."

That rings pretty true in most parts of life. Whether we're talking about work, growing closer to God, even our family and social life, we all benefit from a bit of planning.  We want to take a look at what we can do TODAY to prevent the mistakes we made last year and to accomplish our goals for the future.

Galatians 6:7 tells us  "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap."
What percentage of your life today is producing something of value to God?  Is it time to reassess the way you spend your time and how you live your life?  What better time than now as we turn the page on the calendar to reevaluate and set God-honoring priorities for ourselves?

How would you like to have a roadmap for 2011, personally designed just for you, guaranteed to get you where you want to be in just 12 short months?  You can, you know.

Resolve: decide; determine; express as a resolution; a tool to help us achieve our goals for the coming year.

Let me start out by sharing some of MY favorite resolutions.  I was never one to make New Year’s resolutions until one of my kids was doing a school paper on the great Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards. As I was helping her do some research, I read a part of Edwards’ dairy that included the following resolutions: 

He said,
"Resolved, to live with all my might while I do live;

Resolved, never to lose one moment of time, but improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can;

Resolved, never to do anything which I should despise or think meanly of in another;

Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge;

Resolved, never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life."

Now, those are some powerful, life-changing resolutions.

These words of a great man have inspired and challenged me to set goals for myself to live at a higher level with each year that passes.  I may not always achieve my goals, but I have, at least, set a target I can hope to hit.

 My very first resolution I made and kept several years ago was simple—I resolved to stop running yellow traffic lights.  The act of writing it down seemed to imprint the idea on my heart and mind and caused a simple but lasting and needed change in my life.

Since then I’ve made resolutions for every new year in the manner of Rev. Edwards, beginning with the word “Resolved:…”   I enjoy looking back at the end of the year and seeing how I’ve done, even if I wasn’t particularly successful.  The chance to evaluate your goals and your attempts to achieve them is a gift only you can give yourself.  Please consider giving it a try this year.

As with any endeavor of this sort is it best to begin with prayer.  The New Year is a great time start out relying even more on the grace and mercy of our gracious Heavenly Father.

“Dear God, I want the new year to be different for me…” 
Now spell out in your prayer and on your own “Resolutions for 2011” page some of the changes you’d like to see in your life. 

End your prayer this way: 
“Lord Jesus, I know that I’m going to need a lot of help for this.  So right now I place myself in your hands.  Help me to rely on and receive your strength. Amen.”*

Very good.

Now you’ve got a much better chance of a
Happy New Year.

Gail P. Smith


  1. Excellent post, Gail. You've given us a lot to think about.

  2. Found a great quote I just had to share. I think it captures my feelings about New Year's Resolutions and why I make them.
    "The reason of a resolution is more to be considered than the resolution itself."
    Sir John Holt

    And a second,
    "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day."
    Edith Lovejoy Pierce