Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Non-Resolution

Many good things are accomplished as a result of New Year’s resolutions. Over the past several days I’ve read the resolutions of many of my friends, and I admire them for thoughtfully constructing their resolutions and then setting to work carrying them out. I’m even more impressed by those who successfully keep them throughout the year.

My hesitancy to make my own New Year’s resolutions comes from knowing that I’ve rarely seen one through the end of January. It’s my own fault, of course; nevertheless, that’s one reason for avoidance.

I’m also a bit of a rebel when it comes to time. Don’t get me wrong…time is a good thing; it gives order and direction to our days. But I refuse to give the clock or the calendar more power than necessary. If I’m forced into a commitment simply because January first pops up on the calendar, chances are it will be self-imposed, its execution dependent on self-effort, and its results destined for failure. This much I’ve learned about myself.

Still, as I’ve read others’ resolutions it has caused me to pause and reflect. How did I arrive at this place in my life? Where am I going from here?

A friend, Laura Lee Shaw, challenged me through an article she recently posted to ask the Lord for a verse for the coming year instead of making another resolution I won’t fulfill. It didn’t take me long to settle on this one:

Psalm 27:14 (NIV) “Wait for the lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

You see, a few years ago (in September, not January) God put it on my heart to begin writing. I have been writing regularly ever since. Writing has brought so many blessings into my own life, and I’ve had the privilege of sharing my writing with others, too. Then God put it on my heart to cut back on my teaching responsibilities. That was a harder thing to do because I love teaching, but I knew I needed to obey. Finally, this past year, the perfect opportunity arose, and I cut back to part-time in August.

So many have asked, “What are you doing with your extra time?” Well, I’m writing more and taking better care of myself and my family, but mostly I’m waiting for God’s direction. That’s a hard thing to do sometimes.

One good friend recently finished her master’s degree. Several of my friends are putting the finishing touches on books they are writing. I would love to tell you that I’m embarking on or completing a spectacular project, but I’m not. God hasn’t put anything like that on my heart. And so I’m waiting…waiting to hear what He wants from me next.

I have been reading Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost For His Highest (I began in August, not January). On January 4th I was delighted to read, “There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

This gift of extra time in my life is much too precious to waste by filling it up with new commitments and projects, especially without clear direction from the God who brought me to this place. And so in 2009 I will take heart, stay strong, and wait.

Please take a moment to tell me your thoughts about the new year or share a verse that God is using to speak to you.

(You can read Laura's post on Laura Lee's Lifesong by clicking on the title to this post.)


  1. what a great verse, Sharlyn. And how wise you are to wait on the Lord's timing and follow HIS plan and direction for your life. YOu are so right. There is nothing magical about the calendar changing years...the only thing that matters is the Lord changing our hearts--and I don't think that comes when we expect it.

    Your blog looks great, and I'm so glad you're entering blog land.

  2. Sharlyn,

    I LOVE your blog post! I couldn't put these sentiments any better myself! They are beautiful and they echo the cry of my heart, as well.

    The Lord has laid Psalm 46:10 on my heart: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

    I have been (in the past) notorious for filling my time with "good" things. Last year, God gave me three specific things I was to concentrate on, and I used them to measure my commitments throughout the year. It was great to know, when asked to do something, that if I told someone "no," it was okay.

    Currently, I am in the process of evaluating what He wants me to concentrate on for 2009.

    Love your blog!


  3. The Lord gave me Psalm 91:11 - "He will command His angels concerning you to guide you in all your ways."

    I've grown in the past year - matured in Christ. This verse tells me to keep reaching out this year, keep going, taking chances, stepping out of my comfort zone, because He has commanded His angels where I'm concerned. He's commanded them to guide me in every endeavor I embark on for His Kingdom.

  4. I used to have a hard time with resolutions, too, but last year God dealt with me about one of my every-year resolutions: discipline. I'm not where I want to be yet, but I'm getting there. Which will help me with THIS year's resolutions. :-)

    The word I keep hearing from God is "Stretch," which is pretty cool but also scares me to death! But I know I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strenth. It may also mean that I need to do some stretching of my own - as in, stretching my hands - up to him and out to others.

    Love these verses: Hebrews 13:20, 21
    "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


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