The new year’s posts start flooding our timelines right along with the memes criticizing those New Year, New Me posts. Let’s be honest, we don’t want to be “that person”. However, we all find ourselves sometimes wanting to change and we usually see a new year as one of the best times to start setting some new goals and working towards what it is we would like to change about ourselves or maintain. As humans we never want to actually be the same and we usually strive to improve. New starts that may prompt change in our lives may be:
- A new semester
- A new school year
- New year
The adrenaline from how “new” everything seems gets you excited and worked up. You make up in your mind to do things differently, to think differently, you set goals, you make vision boards, you make a plan to be more consistent, straight As, walking in your calling, new friends, cutting off toxic relationships, bringing in more income, etc…
And then April comes, then July, then October, and then 3..2…1.. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! You slowly realize that nothing has actually changed and you’re still struggling with the same sin, you are still lazy and uninspired, grades are subpar, working out (forget about it), time management and procrastination are still major issues, your money is still acting funny, and school is the “Same Ol Same Ol”. Hey, maybe everything around you couldn’t be better but have you changed internally? It’s 2017 but what’s going on in you hasn’t changed since 2015.
I’ve been there and in some ways I’m still there. That’s because you won’t magically wake up on April 19th with the same adrenaline and fervor that you had on January 1st. And for some of us nothing has changed but the date! The moment you realize something needs to change is the moment that you should start figuring out how to change it! A new date would probably motivate you for a little while, if at all, because it’s not a reliable thing to place your motivation in. Emotions and feelings are ever changing. You won’t always feel like doing something yet you know it has to be done. Honestly, most of the time when I act based on how I feel, I fail. Spiritually speaking, if I was still struggling with a certain sin in July when in January I vowed to never do it again, it was because (for the most part) I lacked consistency in my spiritual disciplines and I lacked consistency in making sure I was surrounded by Godly community. Why? Because I didn’t always want to read my bible, I didn’t always want to pray or want to go to church and whenever I felt that way, I acted accordingly. The fervor and passion to renew my mind and combat my thoughts was gone and eventually I ended up saying: “I’ll try again next year”. I would have been 87 years old STILL struggling with that mindset. In this case, I was also depending on my own ability and power to change and I couldn’t have done it. My flesh was weak and God alone had the power to make me overcome those sinful ways.
There are some people who are STILL on the fence about truly committing their lives to Christ because of their deceiving emotions and feelings. Giving up what they’re used to and the lifestyle known for all of their lives. To some, they don’t want to believe in a “God that allows bad things to happen in the world” (Btw, that’s a lie. Our own sinful nature has cost us that and if He were to wipe away every bad “thing” in the world we would go right along with them). As the Word of God says in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” That’s such a scary yet so true, truth. Think about it… If you’re a born again Christian then you know that Christ is not only the only way but the best way. Yet, not everyone understands that or has experienced it to know that. One reason is because of our deceitful and desperately wicked heart that Christ alone knows and changes. Not our emotions, not education, not money, not family, not friends, not community service, but Jesus Christ by faith.
As I examine the way that I was finally able to say no to my fleshly emotions even 4 months into the new year, I realize that less of my life has to do with how I feel and more of my life has to do with my faith. Being mad and upset that I was caught in the same cycle didn’t do anything different for me! Making fruitful decisions and actually working to do things differently from faith did! Scared to let go of your will and allow God to have complete control? Scared to let go of any toxic/unequally yolked relationship? Fear is an emotion that should be weakened and vanished in our lives with the truth of God’s word that says “He did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, AND of a sound mind!” Ultimately, we want to get into the habit of controlling our emotions and not allowing our emotions to control us. In every aspect of our lives.
So He says “Walk by The Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of your flesh” (Galatians 5:16). The more you take initiative in walking by the spirit by going to God in prayer, knowing His character and ways through The Word, getting in tune through worship and being held accountable through community, the more growth happens. A new date alone won’t make you into a new person but The Spirit of God can and He will AT ANY TIME! We don’t have to wait until 2 years down the road to be changed, Change can happen right now! Don’t allow your emotions to cloud your judgement because you will end up in 2018 with the same crippling mindset and the same crippling habits. If you walked into 2017 with a renewed mind, then continue to renew your mind. If you didn’t, don’t wait until next year. Do it now.