I recently read someone refer to their new goals for 2018 as “New Year’s Intentions” instead of “New Year’s Resolutions.” This small alteration fit perfectly with what I had written about in my prayer journal earlier – New Year’s Prayers instead of Resolutions. If 2017 taught me anything, it is that Resolve can be a dangerous thing…
Resolve /rəˈzälv/ verb
- To settle or find a solution
- To decide firmly on a course of action
- A firm determination to do something
I am really good at resolving. I can find a solution to almost any problem given enough time & a good internet connection. There is no one more stubborn than me when I decide firmly on a course of action. My determination is uncanny. I am so good at resolving that my mind silences the still, small Voice in my spirit. Too often, in my own strength, I claim God’s promises from the Bible, ask in full faith for the things I have resolved for, & expect God to bring it to pass. Wait…did I say God, or Genie?
If 2017 taught me anything, it is that God’s will is sovereign and always better than mine. When God grants my desires, which are in line with His, they are perfect. Setting our hearts on earthly things & pursuing them in our own strength can only lead to heartbreak & spiritual confusion. My birth story was beautiful, but it was also an example of this difficult truth.
Setting our hearts on earthly things & pursuing them in our own strength can only lead to heartbreak & spiritual confusion.
So how about we all become Intentional this year, instead of Resolute. Prayerful instead of Willful. Humble instead of Stubborn. Our faith in the Lord should be the unwavering thing, not our resolve to have things our way.
Intentional /in-ˈtench-nəl/ adjective
- Done by intention or design
- Of or relating to epistemological intention (based on knowledge and belief systems)
- Having external reference
Yes, I compared a verb to an adjective. That’s because I’m proposing that instead of doing, we should just be. Let’s just be & let God do. Let’s merely be a descriptor for His holy actions.
Sure, we all need goals. Not everything we purpose in our minds has to be crossing a spiritual line. For example, one of my NYI’s is to read a book a month. I also intend to write diligently now that I have new motivation & more time in my home. I’ll pray for the discipline to follow through with these goals & the world won’t crumble if I don’t achieve perfection! But I’m also praying for the discipline to be intentional about seeking God’s will, not thrusting my own upon Him in the guise of Full Faith & Claiming-Biblical-Promises-So-He-Has-To-Grant-My-Wishes (though asking in full faith and claiming His promises is very powerful when our intentions are pure). Discernment to know when I need to let go of my desires that don’t align with His. I’m nervous about the Refining Process this may bring & excited about the prospect of getting to know my Savior more in 2018.
What are your New Year’s Intentions & Prayers? Have you been resolved to achieve something that may not be within His will for you?
Lord, please let your Holy Spirit teach ours discernment when choosing our desires. Help us to humble ourselves & rely on Your strength instead of our own. Remind us of Your great Love for us & Your resolve to only give us what is best. Grant us the discipline to be intentional in every aspect of our lives so that Your glory shines through us & back to you, a description of Your goodness for all to see. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.