It's roughly the middle of the calendar year, a great time to compare your current situation with the grandiose plans you set before yourself at the cusp of 2017. You're thinner, right? Your budget is regularly maintained and meticulously followed! Your children are better behaved, thanks to that chore chart you printed off the internet. You get more sleep, and you're less stressed than you were in 2016. The sun is brighter, and your shoes are more comfortable.
Or, like last year, you sit on the couch watching TV late into the night while shamelessly shoveling chips into your mouth and bemoaning the job promotion that never came. Now it's just a steady plow through the remaining months of the year until the next round of wishful thinking rolls around at the start of 2018.
New Year's resolutions have long soured by now, and a small percentage of people actually follow through with them. More likely, some of your plans for 2017 have been unseated by unforeseen circumstances or simply by your overestimation of personal willpower. No worries, dear reader, there is a way to salvage your year. It's an ancient secret, written about thousands of years ago. It's helped people redefine their goals and take practical steps to execute them. It's helped numerous individuals attain personal happiness without being gimmicky.
"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3
Curiously, the word used for "commit" here is often used in Scripture to describe the action of rolling a stone. Do you have concrete plans? Commit them to God and not to your own ambition, and watch the Creator of the universe build something great with them. Our goals - those that fall in line with God's will for our life - are heavy and often impossible by our own volition, but with God's power, we can see them realized.
To be a better parent, you can read all the self-help books and try to change your behavior, but nothing will truly change unless you let God direct you. There will always be circumstances you haven't prepared for, unseen obstacles that beset your plans. And when those happen, who better to guide you than the One who knows the future and has promised to establish your plans if you simply roll them over to His control?
In famed poet Robert Burns' poem "To A Mouse," he writes a bit of prose that aptly describes the fate of our human plans:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
He's right - even the most carefully planned goals are vulnerable to upset, but there is a God who loves us immensely and wants to give us success (Jeremiah 29:11) but in a way that draws us into an even closer relationship with Him.
You don't have to wait until 2018 to make a renewed commitment to God. It can happen now, this second. Simply roll those plans over to Him, and watch God work miracles in your life.
Email Jamie H. Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.