“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."
[Quoting Reverend Phillips Brooks]
― John F. Kennedy
In just a few weeks we will be welcoming in a brand new, shiny year and archiving that worn out old year in the attic of our past where it belongs. The closer it approaches the more we hear those not so new phrases peppered throughout conversation.
"New year, new me."
"A fresh start."
"2017, this is going to be my year."
"The best is yet to come."
It's not breaking news however, that the resolutions we set for the upcoming year tend to be left unfulfilled before we even store our winter jackets away. According to a 2013 article in Forbes, over 40% of Americans set New Year resolutions but only 8% keep them throughout the year. While that winning number is small, that doesn't stop most of us from starting all over again at the top of 2017. It's just too enticing to not give it a shot. I have made a mess of this year and so out it goes along with my 2016 calendars. I am going to make a brand new me.
The thing is, while our intentions and ambitions are held high at first, our flesh is weak and our time is precious. So excuses and well worn habits sneak back in until we can easily find ourselves in a discouraging loop of goals and failures.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
12 I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us
Paul too struggled with being a better person, but he knew in order to even get near perfection he had to set his aim towards the perfect one, Jesus. It takes constant daily communication, where we find ourselves getting to know the voice of the one who gave us life. A deeper prayer life than we've ever known before that is taking us away from those paths of destruction and opening up opportunities of not only blessings but strength during our trials. It's a basic thought but it's a thought that can break the loop of failed resolutions.
A better you doesn't have to be limited to January first, it doesn't have to be sought after in self improvement books or podcasts. It can start right now with a deeper commitment to your relationship with Jesus.
Let's find the best version of ourselves through prayer in 2017.
Sister Amber Klein