The beginning of 2023 ushered in unseasonably warm weather in the Midwest, and I was more than willing to take full advantage of the blessing. My family spent our New Year's Day worshiping at morning church service, laughing together while enjoying yummy brunch at a local eatery, and heading back home to spend the rest of our Sabbath as a family.
As the afternoon moved along, we thought a quiet hike in our woods would perfectly complement the warm weather and sunshine. Our family has deep love and appreciation for the outdoors; it speaks to and fills our hearts powerfully. In the comfort of our backyard, it is a short walk to escape into the woods on our property. This particular day, I found myself with a bird's eye view of the stillness of the world around me as I watched my son excitedly dig into the dirt. It almost seemed nature couldn't quite figure out if it was supposed to wake up from the chill, one we all felt just weeks before underneath layers of snowy ice and harsh winter winds. As I sat soaking in that burst of sunshine, I closed my eyes and began to sink into prayer.
The New Year has long been a time in many of our lives when we start toying with our resolutions, goals we may have for ourselves or things we want to commit to doing more or less of. It's become an opportunity to reflect on where we have been and, looking forward, where we want to go. Admittedly, I've had my fair share of "New Year Resolutions" that included a lot of what I desired for myself, soaking up the opportunity for change and newness –and omitted the consistency of God in MY plans. If we are pursuing God's plans versus our own, we must seek God's will and then take ACTION to glorify Him in all that we do; what a beautiful way to honor God with our spiritual resolutions.
While sitting in our woods, I began praising God for the beauty of the day unfolding. I let my heart tumble into a call to action for myself to be accountable to what God desired in this new year, that I would be open to His will and for peace in callings that might be uncomfortable or outside the scope of my understanding. As I finished my quiet time in the sunshine of those woods, I relished the moment my son was watching quietly, each move I was making, each prayer I was whispering, and each praise I was lifting. It opened up a beautiful opportunity for my husband, son, and me to join together and share our "spiritual resolutions" for ourselves. I watched God move in our "resolutions," knowing we had just created a solid tradition to start each new year.
What might a spiritual resolution be in your life in this new year?
Commit to getting in God's word daily
Pray. Start a daily prayer or gratitude journal
Volunteer at your church or within a local ministry organization
Be a reflection of God and His love — within your home, your workplace, your friend group, in your daily interactions, and sharing your faith. "But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed's peace (the peace you were called to as one body) and be thankful." — Colossians 3:14-15
As you are moving through the start of this new year, I hope you start a new tradition, carry on a long-standing one, or get back into making spiritual resolutions a cornerstone. I've collected scriptures that speak directly towards our desire for resolutions – make a firm decision to commit to God's desires for your life and heart. You will find no greater resolution to commit to than the ones found chasing after the calling, provision, and eternity God has promised.
BONUS: Shaunna's Top 5 Scriptures to help guide Spiritual Resolutions
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. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. — Philippians 3:13-15
"But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. — Isaiah 43:18-19