“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way” Mt 2:12
By Lauren Heaton
8 January 2019
Ah, New Year’s resolutions. The world first tells us to make them, promising success if we purchase this, this, and this. Then the world likes to rub it in our faces so that by day 6 most of us have given up. Day 6! Not even a full week.
I’d like to propose another way.
Let’s look at New Year’s resolutions through the eyes of faith specifically with a focus on the 3 Wise Men taking an alternate route after meeting Jesus. Perhaps you started this new year with gusto and determination to achieve, but now find yourself discouraged. Take heart! Have you considered taking an alternate route to achieve the same goal? Or have you sunk into the quicksand that is discouragement?
In the beginning of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” there is a striking line as two angels talk about George Bailey. The line goes like this:
“Is he sick?” “No, Worse. He’s discouraged.”
Worse than being sick is being discouraged! And isn’t discouragement why we give up on our goals? We can’t see the improvement or changes we are hoping for, we learn that changing habits is difficult and perhaps we begin to feel as though we can’t go on.
Discouragement is one of the devil’s favorite tools to get under our skin and make us believe we are not worthy of the call Christ has given us. We need to fight the temptation to give in to feelings of despair and discouragement. We are all on this crazy journey together! Here is how the 3 Wise men may have found their alternate route and how you can apply it to your New Years goals.
- Consult the Map: Steep yourself in the truth, the Word of God. Discouragement is from the devil and is a lie. A lie about who you are and about what you are capable of. We need to surround ourselves with the truth of Christ and root our identity in him. Check out some bible verses to encourage you this new year.
- Ask for directions: Pray! Invite God to give you strength as you pursue your goals. After all, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not Fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
- Find a walking partner: Ask others to pray for you! Find at least one other person to encourage you on this journey. Some call this having an “accountability partner”. A study from The American Society of Training and Development found that you are 65% more likely to achieve a goal if you commit to another person and 95% more likely to achieve if you meet / speak to them regularly about your goal. (I like those odds). What if you don’t have someone around you to be that voice of encouragement? Well, one of my personal favorite things about being a Catholic is our communion of saints. Why not ask a saint who struggled with something similar to intercede for you? Best part—they already overcame their struggles by leaning on Christ and achieved the greatest goal: they are in Heaven with Jesus himself. Sounds like a pretty nice accountability partner to me… Check out a list of patron saints by topic here.
Be like the three wise men and go another way. The way of the world is not what we are called to. It is easy to give up on your goals because you slipped up once or you aren’t seeing the changes you’d like. They say it takes 21 days to really change a habit so get out there, pray with your patron saint and if you fall get back up again. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
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Lauren Heaton is a graduate of Colorado Mesa University with a BBA in marketing. She loves working with high schoolers and leads a high school youth group and bible study, in addition to singing at church. Lauren is a modest fashion enthusiast, pancake connoisseur, promoter of faith and fitness, and lover of all things family oriented.