2020

It’s a new decade. It’s hard to believe. It seemed so far away a few years ago.

The New Year is prime time to make resolutions. Most are the same year after year: Lose weight, get in shape, be more organized, spend less and save more, get out of debt.

The problem is, we break them almost as fast as we make them. The typical lifespan of a resolution is about the same as an ant—12 days. One woman defined New Year’s resolutions as “a casual promise to myself that I’m under no legal obligation to fulfill.”

Still, those who make resolutions accomplish more than those who don’t.

Maybe it’s time to shake things up with different, doable resolutions that may make a difference. Decide that 2020 will not be the year of talking, wishing, wanting or whining. It can be the year that changes everything.

If you don’t know where to start, here are a few suggestions. If you can only accomplish one, make it the first one.

>Make 2020 about Jesus. Let’s resolve to get to know Him better. However tough life is right now, He is there. He cares for the struggler, for those who fail time and time again. His love never depends on our performance.

No sickness, sin, failure or heartache—nothing—is greater than the grace and mercy of Jesus. Make 2020 more about Him and less about drama, selfishness, complaining, bitterness, gossip, pride or anger.

>Let nothing steal your “hallelujah.” Worship is not just something you do in church.

Perhaps A.W. Tozer said it best: “We carry our sanctuary with us wherever we go.”

Let nothing steal your joy. Look for blessings. Believe God has your back.

>Be uncomfortable in 2020. Do something every day that scares you, no matter how big or small. We’re good at aiming for comfort, stability, maintaining the status quo and reducing risk. But easy packs its own breed of danger: Missing out on life’s most teachable moments.

African villages, crowded, hazy cities in Asia, desert heat and tundra cold are all uncomfortable but beautiful and life-changing.

Pastor and author Francis Chan put it this way: “God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

>Pray every morning before your feet hit the floor. Pray big and bold. Pray about the impossible. God shows us that nothing is impossible with Him, ever.

>Open the front door and love your neighbor. Sure, it takes time and energy to love people well. But can you imagine a world where everyone loved their neighbor as themselves?

>Know that it’s never too late. This can be the year to turn around a marriage, end an addiction, forgive an enemy or turn the page on bitterness and anger. God is always ready to redeem and restore. He never gives up on us.

>Look for chances to tell your story. Your testimony is the story of your encounter with God and the role He plays in your life. That’s impossible to debate or deny. Look for chances to brag about Him.

>Memorize one Bible verse a week. Post it on a chalkboard or your bathroom mirror. Write it on a sticky note for your computer or dashboard. Don’t just read it, pray it. Write it down as many times, in as many places as you have to. Pray it will become part of your life as you think through the words.

>Start a 2020 bucket list. What have you always wanted to do? Volunteer? Go on a mission trip? Try something different? Take a risk? When hospice nurse Bronnie Ware recorded the regrets of her patients, many talked of dreams unfulfilled—the things they didn’t do. Pick one and make it happen.

>Choose a word for the year. Is this your year to be brave? Determined? Is peace your word for the year? Surrender? Faith? Trust? Pick a word and pray for God to grow you in it. Read Scriptures about it. Intentionally live it out.

Ruth Schenk is a member of Southeast Christian Church and a contributing writer for The Outlook.