Resolved to be Content in the New Year

phil 4 11And just like that another year is gone and a new year is here! Life is filled with new beginnings, isn’t it?  A new day, a new season, a new sunset, a new sunrise, a new school year, a new calendar year, a new life, etc.  New beginnings are God’s common grace to us all.  They’re like second chances.  They re-energize us and bring us hope.  Or, that’s at least how I view them anyway.  

I’ve been thinking and considering what I need to work on this New Year.  I set goals for myself almost on a quarterly basis.  I do!  I’m goofy that way.  They help me aim somewhere. Not to mention variety keeps me from getting bored. Each quarter I set new goals.  They can be practical, spiritual, or both.  They’re simple things like: I purpose to learn to cook something new, or to have people over at least once a month,  maybe read a “hard” book, or make room for Jon to spend time with each of the boys, or his friends.  I can’t do any of these things fully on an ongoing basis, but I’ve learned to take different seasons to do some of these things so that at least we devote some time rather than none at all.

Resolutions are different in my mind.  To be resolved to do something implies to be determined.  It requires conviction and commitment not just to start well but to end well.  To be resolved for a year to do something is long enough but also short enough to see the results, or to measure growth.  And ideally become part of one’s character long term.  By the way, this is why you will never hear me say, “I’m resolved to exercise.” Hahaha!  I’ll make that my goal for a season but that’s it.

Last summer I made one of those goals to read a hard book so I began reading “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs.  Well, I’m still reading it.  It isn’t difficult to read.  It’s just a dense book, full of rich truths at every turn of the page.   I need time to consider and digest what I’m reading. And other times, I just need a nap…(ha!)  I’m a slow reader and thinker.  It takes me time to mull over these things to make them my own.  But, when I put in the time, they stay with me for good.

Burroughs calls contentment a “sweet, inward heart-thing” and a “work of the Spirit indoors.”  I don’t know about you but I want to cultivate that sweetness.  I want the Holy Spirit to do that quiet work in me. I believe that this rare jewel of contentment is what gives fruit to a gentle and quiet spirit in us.  It is this contentment that results in us hoping and trusting in God when life is disappointing and our plans are derailed. So I’m determined to pursue contentment in the New Year.

But resolutions are not a passive thing.  It requires we continue to learn and purpose ourselves to do our commitment.  It requires self-discipline and the strength of the Lord; which is why I’m praying for future grace!  I am weak in every sense of the word.  And with each year that passes I’m all the more aware of my weaknesses.  It is my conviction, though, to grow in this area, and it is my desire to be able to declare, like Paul, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

Let us cultivate our godly convictions in the New Year and bring glory to our Lord, Jesus!