resolutions

Not many people are satisfied with their diet, exercise, finances, family relationships, or spiritual disciplines, so plenty of New Year’s resolutions target these areas. That’s great, but that isn’t what this article isn’t about. I’m all for the usual ones, but these listed below are often overlooked, and I'm pretty convinced they will change your life dramatically. It isn't a comprehensive list; it may even seem a little random. Even so, I'm determined to make and keep these resolutions this year:

1. Ask God daily for ideas, inspiration, energy, creativity, and truth. Those aren’t the only things we should ask him, of course. We have lots of needs at every level—spiritual, physical, relational, situational, and more. But these are things most of us neglect because they can’t be described with clear-cut objectives. You may think your life goals are defined by what you produce or who you impact, but productivity and impact are fueled by a lot of intangibles. These are the key ones. They aren’t measurable, but they are extremely valuable. Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Steve Jobs said, “Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect.” They were right. Ask God for divine insights into every area of life.

2. Read more stories. More and more studies reveal how powerfully stories can affect our thinking—far more than propositional truth. (Which is why God inspired a Bible full of stories and experiences with him rather than a textbook on systematic theology.) Stories convey truths that explanations can’t. They also activate our brains in ways that benefit other areas of our lives. Many people think they are wasting their time by reading fiction and biographies. Actually, they are wasting brainpower by avoiding them—and missing key spiritual insights in the process.

3. Do less multitasking. I’ve strongly believed in the power of multitasking. It’s more productive, right? Actually, no. I’ve been wrong. God designed our brains to focus on only one thing at a time. It can shift from thing to thing really quickly, making it seem like we’re doing two things at once. But really we’re doing those two things less efficiently. There may be times when distributing your focus is necessary, but if you really want to live life efficiently, focus on one thing at a time. Be fully engaged in that one thing, and do it well. Then move to the next. “Don’t text and drive” isn’t just good advice behind the wheel. It’s a good illustration for everyday life.

4. Take care of yourself. I know, that seems selfish and positively unchristian, doesn’t it? Well, look at it this way: everyone around you will benefit if you take care of yourself—spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc.—and will suffer if you don’t. Like the airplane video says, put the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others. Why? Because if you’ve passed out, you can’t help others. Same thing applies in life outside the airplane. Don’t pamper yourself selfishly, of course, but as someone who is called to offer yourself to others, make sure you’re offering something worthwhile. If you need a Bible verse to help you feel legitimate about this, here’s one: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:40; Mark 12:31). Jesus didn’t say love others and neglect yourself. He said to love others in the same way you love yourself. You have to love yourself in order to do that well.

5. Don’t worry, be happy. Yeah, that sounds pretty unchristian too, doesn’t it? Let’s put it in biblical terms: “Be anxious for nothing,” and, “In everything, rejoice.” (I know there’s technically a difference between joy and happiness, but you get my point.) The way many people do this is unbiblical, amounting to nothing more than irresponsibility and hedonism. But take the biblical version seriously. Anxiety and joylessness are not only bad for you, they are contrary to God’s will for your life. Most of us have brains that are not well trained in positive ways of thinking. Yet God is relentlessly positive toward his children. Make it a point this year to live in that place of rest in him—free from anxiety and persistently joyful.

These aren’t the only five resolutions you should make, or even necessarily the top five; you can probably think of others to add. But like I said, these are often neglected. Do them well, and next year is bound to be an improvement over the last one.

Click to tweet: Everyone around you will benefit if you take care of yourself and will suffer if you don’t.

Click to tweetMost of us have brains that are not well trained in positive ways of thinking. Yet God is relentlessly positive toward his children.

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©2013-19 by chris tiegreen