The best resolutions are elastic, they cannot be broken with a single act. If you swear never to touch red meat, one burger ruins the resolution. If, on the other hand, you pledge to eat healthier food, each day you have a chance to fulfil the resolution anew.
Below are five elastic spiritual resolutions that can carry you throughout the year.
1. Engage with people more than pixels
Looking at a phone is quick and undemanding. Texting is easier than talking – it gives you intimacy without danger. This year, resolve to spend more time looking into someone’s eyes when you communicate with them. Replace an extended exchange on text with a meeting for coffee. Make a promise of presence.
2. Take your soul seriously
It is easy to pretend that what we watch and how we speak have no effects on us. But the constant pounding of hatreds and dehumanisation that marks so much of our media have consequences for our character. Part of who you are is the sum of the influences you choose: what you watch, who you associate with, how you speak about others both publicly and privately. Life is a continuous journey of soul shaping, and this year, resolve to keep your deep journey in mind. Turn away from something seductive but corrosive – Twitter rants full of bile, or people who continually insult those around them, or depictions of violence that take savage delight in suffering. You only get one soul; don’t squander it in things unworthy of its majesty.
3. Increase your Kindness
If you wish to feel kind, do something good. The great secret of moral growth is that it often begins from the outside. Rather than your joy leading you to smile, your smile can lead you to joy. Behave generously even when you do not feel like it and the habit will grow as will your innate quality of kindness. The act can be small or large; it can be a charitable contribution or a gentle word or help with a heavy bag on an airplane. Do it.
4. Choose someone to forgive
All of us have legitimate grievances in our lives. Some people are very hard to forgive but you need not begin with the toughest cases. Small acts of grace will grow. Forgive the guy who cut you off in the street; after all, you have cut people off as well, on purpose or inadvertently. Forgive the person who made an unkind remark about you. Choose a place to begin. The more you forgive, the less the world can injure you; forgiveness is a soft shield for your soul.
5. In forgiving, include yourself
Fight against perfectionism. Leave a dropped stitch in the knitting of your life. There will always be more possibilities to get something wrong than to get it right. Allow yourself the latitude of mistakes, without self-punishing. God is supposed to be perfect, not human beings. Have expectations of yourself, but don’t enforce them with a hammer.
As we have begun the journey of 2022, I love this celebrated poem “Change me Lord”;
CHANGE ME LORD
Change me Lord and make me whole,
Renew my body, mind and soul,
Create in me, a brand new thing,
Wash me on the inside and make me clean.
Take out the junk that’s in my heart,
Please Heavenly father, give me a brand new start,
I have always tried doing it my own way,
But dear Jesus I surrender to you my all today.
Change me Lord, my all to you I give,
In your word I truly want to live,
I want your spirit in everything I do,
I want to be more like you
I want your spirit to dwell deep inside of me,
I no longer want to be bound, but I want to be totally free,
All things must come to an end,
And I refuse to let the devil win
I want to eat of your word morning, noon and night,
Lord, I want to be pleasing in your sight,
It takes commitment, fasting and prayer,
With a sincere heart, you will be there.
Change me father from the inside out,
Serving you is what it’s all about,
Use me Lord, let me be heard,
I want to help spread your holy word.
On bended knees and a humble heart,
Change me Lord, even if you have to take me apart,
Change me Lord, my body, mind and soul,
I am ready to be made whole.