For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot! The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38–39 (NLV)
Last year, my only New Year’s resolution was to feel closer to Jesus. I signed up to read the Bible in a year, joined several email devotionals, was in two small groups., started a prayer journal, did a marriage study, joined a new spiritual practice group, and more. I followed through on maybe 70 percent of it all.
In the popular view, I failed. In a 2019 article, Forbes shared that 80 percent of resolutions fail, mainly because our minds don’t make the change before our behavior does. I mostly agree but I also believe that even one small course change outside of the big goal can be powerful. I think about flight or travel by boat—minor course miscalculations can land you hundreds of miles off course. In the same way, one or two small changes—even my 70 percent—can yield a positive return.
Though I didn’t complete everything I tried, here’s what I learned:
- If all I do is show up and be present in a small group, it’s still powerful.
- Hearing others’ faith stories is catalytic for my own faith journey.
- I don’t enjoy journaling, but simply writing down prayers became a way to connect with the people I prayed for.
- Intentionality matters. Though we didn’t complete the whole marriage study, my husband and I have ongoing conversations we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
I’m grateful to have grown closer to my community and Jesus, not by the measure of my effort but because of who God is. When Romans 8:38 says, “… any other power cannot …,” I count myself as any other power. And even I can’t get in the way of God’s love for me.
This year, my resolution is the same: to get closer to Jesus. I won’t be perfect, but I have a feeling Jesus will be with me 100 percent.
- Think about making a small change that can draw you closer to Jesus—saying a short prayer on the way to work or subscribing to a Scripture app.
- Consider committing to a bigger change like finding a small group or diving into a new spiritual practice. Click here for more on small groups, and come back tomorrow to learn the Prayer of Recollection, a meditative way to approach Scripture.