It’s a new year, and I’ve just passed a milestone—my fortieth birthday. I’ve made thirty or so resolutions for myself in years past. As early as about ten years old, I was setting a resolution to keep my grades up in school. But as you grow older, your resolutions get more serious.
I think making resolutions is a serious topic, indeed. The older I get, the more I feel the clock of the world ticking. The ever-louder ringing of life goals chimes in my ear, and resolutions are the arms steadily swinging around the clock. Have you accomplished it yet? Have you reached your goals? Are you fulfilling your God-given purpose?
My resolutions have always had roadblocks. What is it that works against me every time I set my mind to accomplish all God has created for me to do and be? Fear! My arch nemesis is constantly working to keep pace with me. Could it be that Fear has a New Year’s resolution too? Think about it.
Year after year, Fear firmly decides to stop me, by any means necessary, from doing what I am purposed to do. How have I missed this?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).
In all my getting and setting resolutions, I have failed to remain in the vine. I admit my to-do list gets a little long, and sometimes I pray for God to bless my plans after I’ve made them. I even get frustrated when I don’t see the results I want. When my plans have failed, I’ve even screamed the words “Why me?” into the four walls of my bathroom, only to sink to the floor in tears. Fear is a master manipulator of the truth. Fear will cause you to say, “Why Me?” when Faith is screaming, “Why not you?” Fear will have you focused on self-preservation, self-control, self-worth, self-doubt.
Can you see the pattern? Fear causes us to fail because we focus on ourselves, and the moment things get hard or we have to confront our weaknesses, we back down. I know I’m guilty of this. We’re the most powerful and unafraid when we’re not focused on ourselves.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).
Some translations of this verse say God has not given us a spirit of fear. That is the truth of God’s Word; he hasn’t given you or me a spirit of fear. We are not to be timid. When we make resolutions and determine to do something or not to do something, we must take action with power, love, and self-discipline.
My little cousin didn’t want to ride her bike around the block again for fear a neighborhood bully would pick on her again. I went with her out of love, but the courage I found when I had to confront this bully, who was bigger and stronger than me, came from somewhere deeper. I had no concern for my own safety.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV).
Fear is used to distract us from the truth that God never leaves us or forsakes us. I believe if we remain in him (Jesus) and we remember that greater is he who is in us than anything we will face in this world, we will bear more fruit. Instead of screaming “Why me?” again this year, I will say “Why not me?” Why not be the one to make the resolution—the decision—to resolve a problem, to settle a matter in this contentious world?
My resolution is to walk by faith and not by sight, and to be the light of Jesus reflected in me.
Tasha Hart grew up in a small town that taught her to love people and the little things in life. Although born in Indiana, she has experienced life in various places. She is comfortable coloring outside the lines and frequently writes beyond the margins. Tasha blogs at tashartlife.com.
Photograph © Caju Gomes, used with permission