Around this time of the year, I get caught up in what I like to call “the magic of new beginnings.” With the beginning of the new year comes a wind full of hope, and God only knows we could all use a little more hope in our lives. There is something captivating when I think of the start of the new year, I get excited just thinking of the amount of possibilities that will come with each new year and that the new year is a blank story, just begging for God to write a new, better story.
At the same time, there is one part of the new year that I generally have not been able to get behind: new year’s resolutions. To me, these resolutions have always been a vague attempt to fix a problem that has been there the entirety of the previous year. I have always thought, “You should not wait for an arbitrary date to start bettering yourself.” If you see a problem with the way you are living, don’t wait until next year to do something about it. Do it now. However, God has been changing my heart toward them this year. New year’s resolutions can be fiercely beautiful when you make them with God’s heart for you in mind.
It’s easier for me to look ahead at what can be done better or how I can be better (shout out to all my Enneagram 3s out there). It’s much harder for me to look at the here and now and how I can celebrate the person I am right now. One of my favorite Biblical characters is Peter. Peter was a bit of a loose cannon and made his decisions based on his emotions and what was convenient at the time. Yet, Jesus called out the greatness that he saw in Peter when Peter did not know what was inside of him.
“But you-who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked.
Simon Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Anointed One, the Son of the living God!”
Jesus replied, “You are favored and privileged Simon, son of Jonah!
For you didn’t discover this on your own, but my Father in heaven has supernaturally revealed it to you.
I give you the name Peter, a stone.
And this truth of who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church-my legislative assembly, and the power of death will not be able to overpower it!
I will give you the keys of heaven’s kingdom realm to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release on earth that which is released in heaven.” –Matthew 16:15-19
The crazy thing is that the last mention of Peter before this is him asking Jesus to reveal the meaning of a parable and before then Peter trying to walk on water. Both times, Jesus rebuked Peter in some capacity for his lack of understanding and lack of faith. Directly after this story, Jesus even called Peter Satan. What a turnaround!! One minute Peter was the rock that Jesus would build his church upon and the next, he is Satan!
The common thread in all the stories about Peter is that he is looking at it from man’s viewpoint, not God’s. I am convinced that we can only move forward toward the identity, the calling, and the purpose that God has for us by looking at Jesus and hearing what He has to say about us. There are a lot of voices around you, telling us how we can be better, and as we make resolutions, we are too often consumed with the image that we portray to the world. The greatest concept to think about though is that God loves the you that you so desperately try to hide away behind an image.
God’s viewpoint is the only thing that can inspire change. God’s heart is the only thing that will motivate us to truly move from a place that we enjoy to a place that is better for our souls. One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is 2 Corinthians 3:18 where Paul says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” God transforms us. The only way we move from glory to glory is by looking at the one who defines glory.
Embracing that change is the best thing possible for you only happens when you realize the Father only has your best intentions. You will never know with 100% certainty that the best thing for you may be the scariest, but I’ve learned something in my 21 years of life: the voice of excitement inside of you is going to seem like a whisper compared to the agonizing yell of fear. Make the intentional choice to believe excitement over fear. God only calls out the best in you, even when you can’t see it. It is your responsibility to lean into the change that God is already doing.
God has never let you down, and he won’t start now. I am fully confident in that the best is ALWAYS yet to come with God, because that’s how God works. As you look into the new year and think of what resolutions to take on, I pray that your resolutions center around your relationship with God and the freedom that God is fighting for you to have. God has been championing your freedom from the dawn of time, make the choice to fight with him this year. The only way to figure out what’s best for your future is to look at the one who’s working on your behalf. The future, whether it’s the next year or the next four, can be the most terrifying or the most exciting concept possible. Lean into your fears and trust that God will hold your hand the entire way through them.
Author | Cristina Rosiles