How to be a New Person This Year

Now is the time. I’m jumping on the bandwagon. It’s the million dollar question the whole world is asking themselves right now:

How am I going to change this year? What will I do to fulfill my dreams? How will 2019 be a ‘new year’ for me?

And great questions they are: hence the tidal wave of new year resolution quotes and blogs filling up your social media feed - like this one. Except I have a different take for you.

Forget trying. You’ll never do it.

Actually you can’t. To most of the population I’ve just committed social blasphemy, but hang with me. I’m right in there with wanting a changed life. I’m all down for personal transformation and becoming the best version of myself. It’s just… I’ve discovered that striving doesn’t achieve it.

Resting does.

Striving doesn't achieve change. Resting does

If you’re tired of annually pumping yourself up only to get your motivational balloon burst, usually by your worst enemy - yourself - then maybe it’s time for a new approach? One that works. And this one comes from a real Stayer. A reliable source of transformation for millions of people over thousands of years. Ready?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus Christ
— Matthew 11:28-9

A Year to Rest

I am convinced this is the year many of you need to rest. You need to hear this invitation like water to a thirsty soul. But your head is so full of ‘should's’ that you won’t - can’t - let yourself slow down. I’ve got to work harder, I’ve got to do more. I’ve got to keep improving, keep aiming high, keep growing. Hey, amen to that - we all need to grow. That’s the way the earth was created after all. Eden was a garden. Life doesn’t fall to us on platters. Money doesn’t grow on trees. No pain, no gain. The early bird gets the worm. Go hard or go home… (insert your inspirational platitude of choice here).

So maybe it’s just me, or perhaps because this is my 50th year on the planet and I’m becoming more melancholic, I don’t know. But I’ve tried the frantic/striving path. And I want to share a secret with you. It doesn’t work. Who wants a diet that starves you of everything delicious but doesn’t make you healthier? You may as well go back to eating chocolate. Likewise, if the way you’re trying to improve your internal life is not lasting, then maybe the method you’re using is broken?

A better Program

Guys, there’s a better method out there to becoming new people. It’s a scandalous one. It’s radical; yet it’s stood the test of time. The name of this program is called friendship with God. The entrance into the program is through a person, and that person’s name is Jesus. Paul, a self-described ‘murderer and hater’ described his own personal transformation like this:

If anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation:
the old has gone, the new is here!
— 2 Cor 5:17

Weren’t you saying you wanted a new start, a new beginning? A new chapter of your life to be written, a new page to unfold? When I accepted Jesus as the overall leader of my life, that’s literally what happened. For a long time I was frustrated with myself for not being able to be the ‘new person’ I wanted to become. But when I started leaning into Christ for personal change, it became less about me and more about Him. I began to rely less on my own strength and more on His strength. And guess what? The change I was hoping for began to happen. Crazy right? But that’s the gospel. It’s all about receiving things for free which we can’t earn. Like forgiveness. And second chances. The program of the gospel is upside down to the world.

So if you want to be a new person in 2019 look no further. God the Father - the patient transformer of lives - is waiting for you, with open arms. Will this be the year you give up striving and rest? Will you relax into God’s steady hands, or keep pushing yourself up the hill of self-achievement in your own strength?

It’s your call. But my experience says that one of those paths is SO much better than the other.

Happy new year!