Tuesday, January 3

New year's resolutions: a word for the year

Everywhere I look these days I see the same messages:

Happy new year!
Time for a fresh start!
Out with the old, in with the new!
Choose a theme word for the new year!

And I look away. Or wince. Because I am the world's worst at making new year's resolutions. I stink at goal-setting. I'm awful at making plans. And if I'm completely truthful, I'll admit that I'm prone to dragging my heels when it comes to things with which I struggle so much.

Can you make a new year's resolution to get better at making resolutions? How does someone who's bad at goal-setting set a goal to get better at setting goals? How can I choose one theme word for the year when a thesaurus dances around in my mind?

I pondered this while I was taking a shower, which is where I do a lot of my pondering. As the water washed over me, I was reminded of one of my favorite psalms:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
(Psalm 51:1-3, ESVUK)

I've always loved that picture of being washed clean. So after I dried myself off, I looked up the 51st psalm and re-read the whole thing. This part caught my eye:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51:10-12, ESVUK)

And suddenly I, the horrible goal-setter, had my theme word for this year:


I doubt that I shall suddenly be transformed into an expert planner. I will probably not become an excellent goal-setter, much less a great goal-achiever. But the one thing I do want to be is willing to change. When I think about my situation honestly, I know that God doesn't want to change me into something I'm not meant to be. He created me to be Richella, not anyone else. But if I'll cooperate with Him, He's able to help me become the very best version of myself.

So there you have it. Not a new year's resolution, exactly, but a new year's prayer.

And just for grins--or maybe food for thought:

What about you? Do you have special hopes for this new year? Check out Layla's party for lots of inspiration!

The Lettered Cottage


  1. Beautiful words and insights! thanks for sharing your heart this morning...so many years I have started out defeated because I remembered the resolutions that I did not keep before! Every day, every moment can be a fresh start when we ask Him for it - what a gift!

  2. What a perfect theme word for all of us- WILLING. I think I'll pray that with you.

  3. Richella- I think that is THE best resolution ever- to be WILLING to change. That is the very first step we all need to take. It is easy to just drag our feet but to put out there that we are willing? Well, I do think God honors that. xo Diana

  4. Bravo!! Great post, Richella, and such a fitting Bible verse. :) So proud of you--I've got to remember to do more than just write about my goals--actually work on them!

  5. I have part of that psalm just under my header!

  6. Great word for the new year. One thing I like about your choice is its ending: ing. My word this year is: Becoming. Using a word ending with ing implies movement, energy. I think you have chosen well.

  7. Richella...I was just saying that I am not a good goal setter! I am one that doesn't usually make New Years resolutions.

    I am not very good at planning either...and I think that is because I grew up with a very spontaneous mom. She used to always say..."Lord willing...we will do... thus and such!" Our days are in the Lord's hands and she knew that, and she was always willing to give up her daily plans, and routines to help anyone, or to minister in unexpected places.

    She was easy going, and always took the time to open the door to a friend, and to listen to their problems. She would spend time on the phone with anyone who needed her too. They always knew she would stop everything and pray for them! She taught me how lean on the Lord, and to be a prayer warrior.

    She did all of the basics things in everyday life of course, and we had chores and stuff...but she was fun, and would sometimes surprise us by saying..."Let's drive down to the beach!" We would drop everything and take a little while to spend together at the beach. Or we would go to the park, or the museum, or the zoo.

    I was always that kind of mom too. I played with my kids and spent quality time with them. I wanted them to feel like I did growing up,... and to know that their mom was never so busy with plans and programs that she didn't have time for them.

    I love the 51st Psalm, and I do pray that I would have a willing spirit, and a clean heart. And that He would daily restore to me the joy of my salvation!

    By the way...I love to talk to the Lord in the shower, and to sing praises to Him! Such a good place to be renewed in my spirit...by The Spirit!

    Love, Linda

  8. i think your word is perfect. i'm in your same boat, my dear. afraid. of failing. and so i drag my feet, just like you. sometimes i wonder if i left them in last month...

    blessings for you and your family!

  9. Love that word. I need to be much more WILLING in so many things: willing to go with the flow if my plans don't materialize, willing to listen more, willing to try. Love those shower thoughts :)

  10. Would you be "willing" to share your word for the year with me? :-) It is truly so perfect and so similar to the thoughts which have run through my head this week. I don't make resolutions either but I do pray for God to reveal to me the ways in which He wants to use me. Thank you for inspiring me to pick a verse and word for myself to kick off this year!
    Blessings to you friend,

  11. Sounds like the perfect start to the new year. :-) Thank you for sharing these words & scripture. :-)

  12. I love your word Richella! I am not so great at making {or keeping} new year's resolutions either...but I really want to be different this year! I've been trying to come up with a word for this year, and the scriptures you shared today have inspired me!

  13. I meant to tell you thank you for this post sooner. My new year's "resolution" is to, if I have read a post, to actually comment on it, too.
    I told you this on FaceBook, but wanted to tell you here, too:
    I thought of this blog post this morning. When I was feeling angry and taken for granted by my family members who usually, but not always, clean up after themselves. I was working myself into quite a fit.
    Maybe you were talking abut simplifying and organizing, but that's not what my Leslie Heart heard.
    I heard that I needed a right spirit. Joy. And willingness to be restored to those things.
    Thank you. I am feeling better.
    I also am so glad to be blessed with your friendship and constant encouragement through your words.
    God is so good.
    I love ya!

  14. Love this, Richella, and your visuals are great too. Thanks for being such a supportive bloggy friend this past year. It's made my journey all the better. xoxo

  15. An absolute picture of grace and beauty be willing makes. Blessings on all your willing efforts in this new year.


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