How to “keep the peace” in 2017

Amidst the season of new beginnings, new regimens and resolutions, I thought it would only be fitting to address some of the most popular ones that many of us are hoping to achieve in 2017.

I won’t be tackling dieting, working out or getting healthy because quite frankly, I’m the one signing up to learn more about those practices.  I don’t think my 3 cups of coffee and smoothie  warrants some sort of expert post, although I suspect I’ll gain a few dozen new subscribers that rep protein supplements after this post goes live, lol.

But lets face it, 2016 was rough. R O U G H.  Challenging, enduring, grueling, lackluster…. isn’t it funny that we raced into 2016 with massive amounts of optimism; the enthusiasm of a college football team jumping up and down and knocking helmets before a game….

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 3.01.28 PM.png (photo credit @collegefootball.ap.org)

….only to post “kiss off” or “suck it” 2016 on New Years Eve as we count down the moments to another clean slate.  Each new year brings the opportunity to try again, hope again and for most, make a declaration that we are going to make a change in effort to produce a different outcome.  This time, for real, right?  😉

So we all head to the gym, pour our apple cider vinegar cocktails, trash out the hoards of indulgent purchases and organize our desks.  Maybe we sign up for a bible study, set up an auto transfer to savings and….. wait, I’m sharing MY to-do list.  (Just keeping it real.) Does it look anything like yours?  Maybe yours aren’t physical goals but you want to disengage from social media or spend more quality time with your kids.  Anyone resolve to argue less with their spouse?  How about earn more or save more?

I’m no sociologist nor can I see the future but I have a hunch of why the stats are so looming.  80% of us will fail at our TOP New Years resolution.  This might come as a welcome relief to those of you who are already wondering why you set a resolution in the first place but for most of us, it’s a daunting statistic that just makes us dig in our heels and proclaim “Not me… I won’t fall off the bandwagon.  I won’t become one of those gym drop-outs on March 11th like the article says.”

Here in lies the problem.

WE try to make the change.

WE dig our heels in and resolve to stick it out.

WE put the wrong person in control of our outcome.

When left to my own desire, I will break every single one of these resolutions and I can tell you, it’s well before March 11th.  Here’s the cycle:

  1.  Running onto the football field with enthusiasm.  Chest bump myself because gosh darn, it’s gonna be the best year ever and all new systems in place.
  2. First temptation to break the new habit/resolution.  Take a breath, suck it up, ignore the temptation.
  3. Repeat #2 until you are exhausted.
  4. Screw it, there’s always next year and embrace your old self with a bit of (insert your go-to negative emotion….shame, disappointment, guilt, denial, etc.)

autumn-fall-and-christmas-lights-girl-fashion-mood-picjumbo-com.jpg

Here’s where I’d like to offer you some practical advice.  I believe this will help all of us not only with achieving our goals of getting healthy in either our soul, mind or body but allow us to run the race with endurance and flourish with some (finally) peace while we do it.

Put God into the equation.

In the Bible, a scripture found in John 14:27 says “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Note that it is a peace that the world cannot give.  No plan.  No 5-step guide.  Not even the most brilliant post by yours truly will reveal how to achieve peace this year.  To be clear, I’m not talking about world peace.  I’m talking about the absence of inner turmoil, doubt or fear that settles down deep on our soul.  The one that keeps us from being fulfilled.  The one that keeps us slightly on guard, protected, or never fully at rest.

This inner peace lets God be God, which gives him the authority to create a change in us.

If He is the one changing us, then, we don’t have to strive so hard to change ourselves.

You see the cycle that I listed above puts all the responsibility, all the pressure, on us.  WE have to stick to the plan.  WE have to fight the temptation.  Well, I can only last 3-4 times walking past the girl scout cookie box before I give in, but if I let go and let God do the heavy lifting…then I can put him in control of the change.  (Revelation: He’s the one who created you in the first place so he’s going to have the best plan!)

Hoping I am not getting to deep here but really, my point can be summed up with this verse that comes from Ephesians 3:19:

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.

The reality is that without depending on Him, our human strength is going to run out quickly.  Knowing that we are not just “asking him for help,” but RELYING on His power to work in us, is the key to finally find that peace our souls are looking for.

Lets face it, most New Year’s resolutions are really just substitutes to make our human selves feel like we are a little bit more in control of the outcome.  I can spend all day eating healthy, organizing my sock pile, scrubbing my house down and catching up on my to-do list but the satisfaction is fleeting when I realize I have to do it all over again.

As cheesy as it sounds, true lasting peace means “letting go, and letting God.”

-Erin

(A few post-notes here… if you liked this post, send the love by commenting with your thoughts, “liking” or best yet, sharing the post.  Also, I’m currently booking my speaking engagements for 2017; as a mom of 3 active boys, I try to schedule my time in balance with my family.  If the timing is right, I’d love to come talk to your group- get more information or reach out on my “speaking” page at http://www.truegrace.life.)

 

 

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