How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

blog-reflection-with-wordsI hate New Year’s resolutions. I start out with great intentions, but they rarely stick past the first few weeks. So several years ago I quit making resolutions. Instead, I began asking God for a New Year’s Revelation—a word directly from His heart to mine. A word that would empower me to new heights in Him, a word that would give me strength and direction to face the challenges of the New Year.

This year, I began praying in November and asking Him for a word. I got hints, but nothing that made me shiver. Nothing that resonated within my soul. Nothing that made me holler, “YES! That’s it.” All I got were hints. Whispers that left me doubting I heard anything at all, or worse yet, that I was trying to make something up.

In desperation, I leaned in closer, longing to hear. But in all my pressing in, the doubts continued to pile up.

An image of the widow woman pouring out oil into jars flashed across my mind one day.

Pour out. Is that my word, Lord?

No answer. Just silence.

My husband got his word by Thanksgiving. Balance. He was confident. He had direction for the new year.

“What’s your word?” he kept asking?

“I’m not sure yet,” I must have replied to his thousand inquiries.

Had I prayed hard enough? Why wasn’t I hearing for sure? Why wasn’t I as confident as John was? Am I even saved?

Christmas came and went. Still no word. Then the last week of 2016 trickled by in continued silence.

Why was God taking so long? Did He not know what time it was?

The doorbell rang as I placed the final touches on the table for our New Year’s Eve party.

table-2-crop-2

Laughter spilled out into the night as we took pictures with party hats and a glittery backdrop (yes, I really did create a photo booth) and played Lolz, a game torturing dentists no doubt created.

collage-3As midnight approached, I distributed shofars for each of us to blow. Ok, don’t get too impressed. They were faux shofars—paper party horns with gold tinsel. Party Galaxy’s finest. It was the best I could do.

I rang a bell to quiet the crowd. We gathered around our kitchen island and I asked each guest to write down their prayer and vision for the new year. Then we tucked them inside our horns in preparation to blow them at the stroke of midnight. As we shared our hopes for the new year, my friend, Bea Jai, began to reflect and pray.

bea-jaiI don’t know what else she said, but the words, “God is pouring out…” pierced my ears.

I really need to know…FOR SURE…is that my word, Lord?

“…..”

Silence again? Why wasn’t He answering me? Doesn’t He know what day it is?

The clock struck midnight and the sounds of our synthetic shofars filled the air.

It was officially 2017 and I still didn’t have my word.

The next morning I was late for service. I’m never late for church, but I had a very important errand to run that morning. Ok, that’s not entirely true. Dillards had their annual clearance sale and it started at 10:00. I had to see if the last remaining silver cloche was still available.

clocheIt was marked down the other day, but I had a hard time justifying the purchase so close after Christmas.

“If it’s still here on January 1,” the salesclerk mentioned, “it will be marked down another fifty percent.”

“Is this the only one you have in stock?”

“Yes, it’s the last one, but the sale is only three days away. You’ll have to get here early though. We open at 10:00 and it gets super crazy. The lines start forming at 9:00.”

“You open at 10:00 on a Sunday?”

“Not normally, but just for our annual New Year’s sale.”

Hmmm. How am I going to be pull this off? Church starts at 10:30. I thought about hiding the cloche under a pile of bath mats, but I refrained. Clearly, however, this excuse was worthy of being late for church.

I gathered at the entrance with the thousands of others waiting for the doors to open. Five Dillard’s security guards surveyed the crowd from the other side of the glass doors with walkie talkies in hand. Fearing I might get trampled, when security slid the doors open I sprinted as casually as I could past the men’s fragrance counter to the escalator. Then all grace left me and I ran full speed to the housewares department.

And there it was!

The last silver cloche sparkled on the shelf. I snatched it up and ran to the register before the mile-long line began to form.

Clutching my prize I dashed to my car. Moments later, I slid into my seat at church and glanced at the time. Only 25 minutes late. At least worship wasn’t over yet.

Singing the familiar words, a wave of contentment washed over me.

Yes, Lord, you are great! Thank you for saving the cloche for three more days just for me.

The band repeated the chorus a couple more times.

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise

I was so focused on my new decorating treasure that it took me until the end of the song to realize what I was singing.

Pour out

God was no longer whispering. He was speaking loud and clear: Pour Out!

There was no denying it now. Although I got frustrated with the wait, the wait was worth it.

In truth, I love how God speaks. Little by little He reveals things. At first, it’s a whisper. Like a hushed secret unfolded in bits and pieces. Something we don’t quite understand at first, so it keeps us focused, intentionally longing to hear more. We’re on high alert, hoping to hear the rest. And finally, He speaks. Even when we have to wait, His truth is always right on time.

Even when we show up late.

 

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2 Responses to How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

  1. Carol Cutler January 5, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Christy, Thank you for pouring out to us the truth!! We do walk (sometimes limp and wait) by faith!!! Since I know you, I enjoyed seeing you on the escalator leaving all grace behind!! I laughed!! The Spirit of the Lord encouraged me! Happy New Year with high hopes of seeing you in person around my table!!

    • Christy Johnson January 5, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

      Glad I wore my tennis shoes. I was prepped before hand by veteran Dillard’s sale shoppers. No coat, no big purse to carry (I was actually told to wear a fanny pack, but I sold mine at a garage sale 20 years ago:) I was also instructed to head straight for the luggage department to get a suitcase to load all my purchases in. It was quite the ordeal!

      Love you bunches Carol!

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