Are you a New Year’s Resolution person? Do you start every year with a list of things you’re set on doing, books to read, places to go, goals to accomplish, vices to quit, challenges to conquer, and adventures to start?
Or are you one of those people who hates resolutions and so your New Year’s Resolution list goes like this: “1. No making resolutions. The end.”?
I get why. We start out so gung-ho and positive and by about mid-January… Oh, whatever! Resolution-schmezolution! I’m calling in sick, eating a frozen pizza, a pan of brownies, two bowls of Captain Crunch, and a six-pack of Dr. Pepper, shopping online, and watching a Magnum, P.I. marathon by myself in my room. In pajamas. All day.
And once we fall off the proverbial wagon, we tend to feel like a big old quitting Quitter. LOOO-ZER!
Let’s get this out in the open, people: You’re going to blow it. I’m going to blow it.
But, do we really need to be so terribly hard on ourselves? I don’t know about you, but there’s no one in my life who’s as hard on me as I am! (At least I hope there isn’t!) And, it’s not helpful!
Once we start banging our heads against a wall, so stinking mad that we blew it again, it’s hard to not quit! But, one of the marks of people who do life well is that they get back up! They keep going! They start again!
I have a confession: On Christmas Day, as my name-twin, my dear friend Laurie said, I was a Cheater Cheater Roast Beast Eater! I ate a slice of my mama’s Christmas Roast Beef and some scrumdiddlyumptious potatoes. And it was deeeelicious! But then the full weight of Catholic guilt fell upon my head. And I’m Protestant!
I blew it. But, this time, I stopped myself at one meal, reminded myself not to freak out and feel like a quitting Quitter, talked with one of my wonderful friends who cheered me on, and started over again! (So, if you’ve blown it, too, I’ve got your back. We can do this!)
What’s on your New Year’s Resolution list?
Does it look something like this?
- Lose weight
- Stop eating junk
- Get to the gym
- Get out of debt
- Save money
- Quit smoking
- Get a better job
- Be a better spouse
- Start a new ministry
- Read the Bible cover to cover
- Finally potty-train the youngest
- Enjoy more adventures with the kids
- Start a new business
- Go back to school
- Spend more time with friends and family
- Spend less time on Facebook
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. — Philippians 4:13
I’m an all-in person. I’m a front-rower and I buy and wear the t-shirt. I’m die-hard list maker, a chart maker, a graph maker, a Post-It countdown-and-peel-off-the-days notepad maker. Don’t be scared, but along with The Daniel Plan Journal, I have an “Edit” spreadsheet on my computer where I record goals, the date, my weight, foods I ate, exercise, and notes to myself like “18 Days left! Go for it!” and “Get off your computer, lady, and go get sweaty!” I know, slightly obsessive. I can’t help it. It’s my spiritual gift. Did you know that there are actually apps to help you keep your resolutions? You’d better believe I’m all over that!
I am awesome at starting with a bang… not so awesome at finishing… and I hate feeling like a quitting Quitter.
Anytime we get discouraged about how we mess up in life, or fail at something, or really stink it up, we can read about Jesus’ disciples and be so encouraged.
Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon, Judas, and Bartholomew — these disciples were just ordinary guys who messed up all the time. (And, since I homeschooled for 14 years, yes, I did just sing The Disciples Song I taught my kids when they were little. It’s to the tune of Happy Birthday and it’s highly stick-in-your-head-able, so I’m apologize if you’re still humming it at 2 am.)
I love that Jesus chose real, normal, flawed people to be His closest friends and the first leaders of the Church. None were scholars. None were superstars at what they did. They were pretty much a raucous band of hooligans.
There was passionate Peter, his less foot-in-mouth brother Andrew, James and John who were nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus. They had fire in their blood. They were brawlers. When they saw Samaritans rejecting Jesus, they wanted to call down FIRE from Heaven on them! (Luke 9:54). Awesome. I have cousins like that! John was also the intolerant, braggadocious one who I’m sure just drove the others crazy calling himself the one that Jesus loved. Tell me that wouldn’t have gotten on your nerves!
Matthew (Levi), the thieving tax collector, hated by all Jews. Pessimistic Philip. Simon the fanatical Nationalist. Doubting Thomas who was also prone to extremes. These disciples were just guys. They argued. They annoyed each other. They had big dreams of big self-glory. They were accused of partying too much, hanging with the wrong types, and breaking the Torah laws.
And then, of course, there was Judas, one of Jesus’ dear friends, a trusted confidant and compadré. At some point along the way, Judas decided Jesus wasn’t giving him what he deserved. Judas wasn’t going to get the payoff he expected and he became embittered and betrayed his Friend for 30 piece of silver.
Jesus understands what it’s like to be betrayed by someone you love.
But, Peter is my favorite. Pete was passionate! He was all-in. He was emotional, outspoken, impulsive, and exuberant. He’s the guy that jumped out of the boat in the storm to walk on water with Jesus, but then sank once he took his eyes off Him. (I sink when I take my eyes of Jesus, too.) When the God of the Universe stripped down to almost nothing and washed the disciples’ feet as a servant would have done, Peter’s the one that said, “NO! There’s no way you’re washing my feet!” But then when Jesus told him that if He didn’t, he couldn’t have any part of what Jesus was doing?.. “Hello! BATHE ME!”
Pete was famous for passionately promising never to reject Jesus no matter if all the others did, and then denying Jesus three times before the sun even rose on a new day. This is a man who knew all about extremes. He was my kind of people.
Peter recovered from his biggest failure, and he became one of the boldest evangelists. He was the ROCK upon which Christ built His Church. And when he was sentenced to die by crucifixion, Mr. Passionate asked to be hung on the cross upside down because he wasn’t worthy of dying the same death as Christ.
“F” for “Friends”
Remember that Jesus’ followers were sent out in TWOs!
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where he was about to go. — Luke 10:1
We’re not meant to do Christian life alone.
Years ago when I was realizing that my marriage was in deep trouble and I was seriously crumbling inside, I also discovered that I didn’t have the friends that I thought I did. I remember so well one of the first times I timidly told someone I considered to be a very good friend the truth about what was going on, my heartbreak, and my fears. Unfortunately, instead of supporting me, she chose to gossip to others which only caused so much more damage, and I learned to shut my mouth, hide my brokenness for several more years, and my bitterness at the Church started to grow.
The healing began when I had dinner with an old friend, who’d been through some of the worst stuff you’d ever want to imagine and came through shining like Jesus, who looked straight at me and said, Alright, tell me what’s really going on. And I got brave and told her.
And compassion poured out of her. She listened. Wept with me. Prayed. She babysat me at my lowest points. She let me be a mess and loved me right where I was. She mopped me up many, many times over the years. And, she helped me to stand back up and move forward.
That’s why we need friends!
“I never trust anyone who doesn’t walk with a limp.” ~ John Wimber
People are going to fail us. Friendships will fizzle. Marriages will implode. Churches will get ripped in half. People we’ve devoted our lives to will walk out on us or put us in a position where we have to put distance between us for safety and sanity’s sake. Our kids will disappoint us. And some will betray us even with a kiss, just as Judas did to Jesus, in the most profoundly painful ways, at the exact moment when we need them the most. Only those closest to us can do that kind of acute damage. And we will be devastated. Broken.
But, we can’t hole up and live life with any measure of success or joy without people. We need friends we can do life with. People who know our story, our baggage, our gifts and talents, dreams, hopes, fears, and our quirks and shockingly, they still love us! It’s one of the brilliant facets of The Daniel Plan — Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus & FRIENDS!
So here’s a great resolution to add to your list — Find your Friends!
Be brave. If you look around and find you don’t have the friends you need, go and find them so you can stay encouraged and keep going — with JOY and hope for the future!
My Progress Report
FAITH & FOCUS — The Daniel Plan Journal is a great way to keep focused. So are Post-It countdown-and-peel-off-the-days notepads. I’m just sayin’.
FOOD — Aside from my Christmas cheat, this week I dove into some new favorites: Roasted cauliflower with a little pepper & sea salt. Amazing. Quinoa made with low-sodium vegetable broth. Tasty. Surprise: Brussels Sprouts. Just trust me. Wash, cut into fourths, toss with pepper and drizzle with EVOO and bake at 350 until they’re almost burnt. Oh-em-gee, they are so good!
“Eating greens is a special treat. It makes loooong ears, and great big feet.” ~ Thumper
FITNESS & FRIENDS — I exercised 4 days last week, but I’m feeling myself slide back into the rut of boredom. Next week I plan on mixing it up with a little more fun.
FITNESS FRUSTRATION UPDATE — You know that thing when you’re eating greens and working out but the scale frustratingly won’t budge… Then BANG! You’re several pounds down? That’s my favorite moment. The weight plateau I was fighting finally broke so it was really exciting to see several more pounds drop off! Hooray!
Dear Lord, I love You. Thank You, Jesus, for strengthening me to do absolutely anything I need to do. I cannot do it on my own. I need You. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness when I screw up, when I fail, when I sin, and when I quit. God, please help me to get back up again and keep moving forward. Thank You for choosing messy, broken people just like me and using their lives for Your glory. Thank You, Abba, for the dear friends You’ve given me the privilege of doing life with. Help me to be a great friend to others as well. Help me to not judge, but to have compassion on others who fall down and get stuck in the same old junk. Help me to love them through their mess, and to help pick them up and give them courage and strength for another day. Help me to love others as I have been so loved!
Join the Conversation
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you hard on yourself, too? Do you feel like a quitting Quitter if you blow it? What do you look for in a friend? The Daniel Plan December buddies, how are you doing? If you haven’t already, join me! Those of you who are starting after the New Year, it’s time to stock your fridges with yummy veggies! Be sure to let me know you’re getting Daniel Strong! I’d love to cheer you on!
Please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!
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