"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it."
Luke 14:28 (NIV)
So, how are you doing on your New Year's Resolutions? If you are like many of us, frustration has set in. Maybe you are already behind on your read-through-the-Bible-in-a-ye
ar plan. Are the numbers on the scale increasing, rather than decreasing? Did that goal to reduce television watching stop when American Idol started?
While we love to set goals, and dream of becoming a slimmed down, spiritually mature and more well-read version of ourselves, the living out of those goals is infinitely more challenging.
That's because every time we set a goal for ourselves, a more appealing alternative is presented. Have you noticed this phenomenon? Just as you decide to diet, someone brings you a plate of brownies they "baked just for you." As soon as you decide to get up early and pray, the cold weather makes it much more appealing to stay in bed. And that decision to stop gossiping gets challenged when some interesting news about your boss finds its way to your inbox.
Every good intention will be met with a challenge at some point. Without a plan, most of us will abandon those intentions, telling ourselves we knew we couldn't _________ (fill in the blank).
The reason this happens is we overlook the fact that every "yes" we say, requires a "no" to something else. Without that understanding, we operate outside of how life works, and underestimate the cost of achieving our goals.
Here's an example of what I mean. When you say "yes" to reading your Bible every day, you have to say "no" to the morning news or your favorite novel. If you say "yes" to teaching a small group of women, you'll say "no" to your favorite Tuesday night tv show, plus free time to prepare.
There will always be a sacrifice of something when we desire to move forward in an area of our lives. Goals are exciting. Possibility of change is alluring. Sacrifice is hard, but worth it in the big picture of our lives. In fact, it's the road Jesus called His followers to walk daily.
The resolutions you set at the beginning of the year have great value if they are helping you grow into a more disciplined, mature follower of Christ. However, if you feel like you've reached a plateau, or hit a dead end, perhaps it's time to evaluate if you've said enough "no's."
I invite you to remove the "New Year's" label, and reevaluate the goals you set in January. Recommit to them and consider what you'll have to sacrifice to make them happen. The good news about sacrifice is we serve a Lord who lived it out on our behalf. When we are frustrated with the cost of achieving our goals, we can always turn to the One who understands.
Dear Lord, I praise You and thank You for sacrificing Your son, Jesus, so I could live forever with You. In light of that, help me keep my sacrifices in perspective. I ask for Your strength to fulfill the dreams and goals You have placed in my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Identify one goal you have for yourself. What do you need to say "no" to for that to happen? Write down the "no's" for future reference when you get off track.
What mental battles happen when you decide to sacrifice one thing for another?
What are some ways you can keep your commitment to your goals fresh and realistic?
Luke 9:23, "Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (NIV)
Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (NIV)