As we prepare to go headlong into the new year, there are a few traditions to be observed. Aside from fireworks and watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve and collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, there is the matter of New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ve never been really big on resolutions. I much prefer the black-eyed pea tradition (with cornbread and onions, thanks) to both goal-setting and collards. Usually, I just try to do what is good and right throughout the year rather than waiting until January 1 to correct my mistakes.
However, the start of a new year represents a psychological barrier in which we put off the old and start fresh. As such, it can be a good time to break bad habits and replace them with better ones. In that spirit, I do have a couple of changes that I’d like to make in 2020.
My first change is to put down the screens more. Handheld devices have become ubiquitous. I’m not a Luddite who is against new technology in general but even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Technology can connect us with friends and family far away but, all too often, it is at the cost of disconnecting us with those close by. While we chat with those across the country, we ignore those down the street, in the same house, and in the same room.
As a parent, I only have a precious few years with my kids. Do I want to look back and realize that I spent their formative years on Twitter and Facebook? Would my marriage be richer if we did more things together instead of looking at our phones while we sit in proximity to each other? (And, yes, I realize the irony of complaining about screentime while tapping away at a laptop.)
One of the things that I could and should be doing with some of the time that I spend online is my second intended change. I don’t spend nearly enough time reading and studying the Bible. An email or app with the verse of the day is better than nothing but does not enrich like deliberate study.
I’m not proud to say that I received an advance copy of Jonathan Cahn’s “Book of Mysteries” back in 2016 and I still haven’t finished it. I’d like to do that in 2020.
Not finishing the book is no judgment on Cahn’s writing. His daily devotionals based on the original Hebrew meaning of Biblical words and passages are fascinating. The deeper meaning of passages that I’ve read in English a hundred times lends credence to the idea that we are continuing along a course that God planned before the beginning of time. I recommend the book without reservation.
In my defense, a daily devotion book is different than reading a novel. If it was a narrative, I would have finished it years ago, but the book is not written to be read in large chunks. It is meant to be read and reflected upon.
The problem is that life gets in the way. The erratic schedule and time away from home due to my primary job is partly to blame. I usually leave the book at home when I travel and some days, even when I’m not on the road, I just never get around to picking it up.
The problem is priorities. Despite the importance of God, I have the human tendency to procrastinate and think that I have the rest of my life to think about God. However, studying the Bible is not only for my own benefit, it sets a good example for my kids as well. Christianity is not just about Sunday church.
So, I’m going to start off 2020 with an attempt to reduce some bad habits and improve myself. The wonderful thing about New Year’s Resolutions is that you don’t have to fulfill them perfectly in order to win. You make yourself a better person simply by improving over what you did last year.
Do you plan to make any New Year’s Resolutions? Let us know in the comments.