I have never been a huge fan of New Year's resolutions.
Not because I don't think they are a good thing- to quite smoking, spend more time volunteering, learn a new language: these are not bad pursuits. Indeed, it is not very often that someone is resolved to malevolent achievements.
It can be galvanising to start the new year with many aspirations about being a 'new you'. Thinking of all the changes you are going to make to your life. A fresh start. A new leaf. You're going to make 2018 the best year yet.
But how often do they stick? And how often do the changes reach a level which is satisfying and fulfilling? Do we only get the sense of change if our progress is posted regularly on Twitter or seen by others?
Looking back at the past year, it can be draining to revisit the heartaches, dis-quietening events and tragedies that we saw and lived through both personally and through the global platform. We can ask: Will 2018 be any better, or should be prepare ourselves for worse?
Should we anticipate challenges? Yes. A disappointment of how the human race (including ourselves) have responded to suffering and the needs of others? Probably. Is God going to sit this year out? No way.
I have not come to drag your anticipation of 2018 down into a stagnant tank of pessimism, but rather the opposite.
In Revelation 21:5, we read:
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
This is what the LORD says. He is going to make all things new, or even, He already has. We as the Church, are caught up in God's great redemption narrative, where the broken and worn down are uplifted and restored. Where the systems of injustice and selfishness are exposed and dismantled.
If you are starting this year with a feeling of powerlessness over your personal development, maybe that's a good thing. God, graciously through his Holy Spirit is committed to shaping us into the likeness of Christ. Day by day. By every Monday morning and step towards connection and unconditional love. Through the renewing of our minds, He is bringing us in line with His heart for the world.