What If I Didn’t Set Any New Year Resolutions?
Updated: Jan 15
By Joanna Hor
“For those who have made new year resolution to spend more time with family, exercise more, cook more, read more...It all happened in 2020! What’s your new year resolution for 2021?” my friend posted on his Facebook status on the first day of 2021.
I couldn’t help but smile when I read his tongue-in-cheek update because it, in a way, reminded me that there was a silver lining amid a very dreary and gloomy 2020. Even though many of our plans were dashed by the sudden onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were actually able to achieve some things which we otherwise might not even have gotten down to doing.
But his second statement left me stumped. What’s your new year resolution for 2021? The fact was, I had absolutely none. For the first time ever.
Unlike at the close of 2019 where I had rallied a few friends to join me on a one year reading plan of the Bible commencing at the start of the new decade, I did nothing of that sort this time. Fitness goals, cooking goals, Bible-reading goals – none of these things made it to my digital planner this time.
Asking around, I realised I wasn’t the only one without any plans for the new year. A friend of mine even said that she wasn’t quite sure how to feel about 2021. Perhaps it’s because most of us are still reeling in shock from and dismayed by the events and losses of 2020. For some of us, the year 2020 has brought to life the truth of Proverbs 16:9 like never before, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” So we’ve learnt our lesson and decided not to hold too high hopes for 2021—lest we get disappointed, again.
As believers however, there is reason to hope. Not in the fact that things will get better this year (it might not!), but in the fact that we know that all things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). This “good”, as explained in the ESV Study Bible, refers to conformity to Christ, bearing good fruit for the kingdom and final glorification.
Whatever our resolutions, plans, or hopes for 2021—it could be changing jobs, starting a family, or even simply making a trip to visit our family overseas—we can take comfort in the fact that God is ultimately for us, and will graciously give us all that we need for our ultimate good (Rom 8:31-32). Even if nothing goes according to our plan, nothing happens outside of God’s plan which is always far better than what we can ever conceive or imagine.
So instead of worrying about the future, let’s cling to His word and use our time wisely, because, as Ephesians 5:15 tells us, the days are evil. Here are five lessons I’ve learnt from Ephesians 5:15-21:
1. Find opportunities to do what pleases God
Let’s use our time to do what is good, holy, and eternal instead of becoming preoccupied with what is earthly and temporal.
2. Follow God’s word
Let’s make time to read and meditate on His word and let His word direct our actions instead of relying on our own wisdom and worldly advice.
3. Fill ourselves with the Spirit
Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives and direct our paths, and not let any other “spirit” (alcohol) take that place in our lives.
4. Fellowship with other believers
Let’s carve out time to commune with other believers and share God’s truths with one another in our teaching, singing, and prayer.
5. … From the heart
Let’s rejoice, give thanks to God, and count our blessings regularly!
While we can’t control the future and the circumstances around us, we can certainly control our response and how we navigate the murky future ahead.
After all, even though we can’t know for sure what 2021 will bring, we know a God who does. Let’s resolve to fear Him and keep His commandments (Ecc 12:13).