He struggled with it emotionally and spiritually. He saw what needed to be done and sought God for wisdom. He went to the king with requests and got what he needed. He then set out on a journey to repair the wall. He established a plan of action, rallied the workers, and got the job done.
When I think of setting New Year’s resolutions I kind of laugh at myself because I know I’m fooling myself into thinking I’ll be able to do some of the things I think of.
However, I know I can accomplish a couple of the things if I put my mind to it.
We all have that don’t we? We all set out to accomplish something spectacular for ourselves, especially in the New Year. It might be weight loss, new career, starting our own business, exercising more, quitting a bad habit, etc.
The fact of the matter is, we set the goals and try really hard to accomplish them, but without the right safeguards in place or plan we will find ourselves struggling to maintain focus and slowly stop trying.
If I decide to try a new goal this year, and I emphasize if, I am going to look to Scripture for some help. I mean, I know I should be looking to God for help always, but I think God even cringes when He hears say, “This year, I’m exercising more!” because He knows that means He has to watch me run.
Anyway, Nehemiah is a great story to look to for encouragement when starting a seemingly impossible task, which most New Year’s resolutions are. They can be done, but it will be difficult.
Nehemiah, a cup bearer for the king, heard about the wall of Jerusalem being destroyed and his people being in danger.
During the process he had people trying to get him to stop. They challenged him and his God. They tried to make him doubt his ability to do the work. He didn’t let them distract him, but worked through it and finally finished the task he set out to do.
That is a condensed idea of the story, and if you haven’t already read it, you should.
So, when reading Nehemiah’s story, I came up with the 3 D’s of the New Year and making resolutions:
1) DETERMINE the issue that needs to be addressed. Nehemiah said a prayer before addressing the king. He confessed sins and glorified God. He made sure that his heart was focused on the right thing and turned his eyes and heart to God for help. You need to examine yourself. What is the problem you want to handle? Then, do a deeper check as to why that problem exists. What factors have led to you needing to “fix” this situation? Are there outside influences causing you to eat more, drink more, gain weight, lose weight, etc.? These are things that need to be determined before you can truly move forward with your resolution because the issues will continue to be there if they aren’t confronted.
2) DEVELOP a plan of action to address the desired outcome. For example, before jumping on a treadmill to lose weight, maybe we need to make sure that’s our issue in the first place. Perhaps we should go to the doctor and get a physical exam? Maybe, we’ll discover that we need to take it slow to get to the point of being able to do a treadmill. Find out if we’re in the right shape already to get into a heavy routine or maybe we need to do a gradual build up to something harder. You see, the plan of action will help us accomplish our goal in a more precise way. It may take a bit longer, but at least we won’t die out before we even get started. Nehemiah walked around the wall and found the spots that needed the work. He thought through what needed to happen. He made a plan and then began the work. He didn’t just start grabbing bricks and placing them around, he knew what he was going to do and did it. We need to plan our action before we rush into it.
3) DECIDE who we’re going to get involved with us. One of the biggest issues with resolutions is that we try to do it alone. We need community. We need a good group of people who will support us and hold us accountable. Nehemiah couldn’t build the wall on his own. He needed a group of people willing to work with him. Even if the people aren’t doing the workout or quitting with you, they are still working because they have to make sure you are doing it! If we really want to accomplish our goal, we need to find people to be with us on the journey. It is hard to go alone, next to impossible, but living in community really boosts our resolve to go forward.
New Year’s resolutions are fun. They are meant to be challenging. Maybe, if we follow these three D’s, we might have more success as the year goes on.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: Do you make resolutions? Why or why not?