New Year, Know You
By Amanda Detweiler
Happy New Year! The first week of 2018 is behind us and New Year’s resolutions are under way. I love this time of year because we are given a clean slate to set new goals for growth and improvement and to dream of the endless possibilities that a year can bring. Many of us have excitedly made resolutions to get more organized, invest more intentionally in our families and marriages, improve our relationships, change habits, read our Bible every day, and the most popular of all, get fit through a new diet and exercise plan. As we set our goals, our inboxes and newsfeeds are filled with suggested products and programs that promise to give us all we need to achieve those goals.
If you’re anything like me, though, a few days or weeks into the new year, I need a do-over on most of my resolutions because the demands of everyday life bump them to the side and can make them feel impossible. We feel like we’ve blown it because a few busy days go by and we weren’t able to spend quality time with our kids, we hit snooze too many times and didn’t read our Bible all day, we yelled at our spouses, a cheat day turned into a cheat week, and the list goes on. The feeling of failure and defeat swallows us up and the motivation and excitement we had disappears.
But, goal setting and growth are important and essential parts of becoming who God created us to be. So, how do we approach our goals in a way where we will truly be successful and overcome defeat?
Back in October the Lord challenged me in an area of my life that I had never, in 18 years, invited Him to speak into. As I lay in bed one night I felt Him gently whisper to my spirit, “When it comes to your health and fitness choices, you haven’t invited me in, yet." A veil fell off my eyes in that moment and I couldn’t believe that I had completely shut God out of a part of my life that I highly valued and truthfully, had allowed to become an obsession.
I started my journey in health and fitness when I was 13, built on an unhealthy foundation of belief that in order to be worthy of love and acceptance I had to have the perfect body and personality. This caused me to struggle with insecurity, fear, and my true identity up until just a few months ago. When I began exercising and making intentional eating choices I actually believed that I was in full control, but really, my goal to achieve love and acceptance in this way had control of me.
I reflected on what the Lord had said and quickly realized that what He had spoken to my heart was true and so a conversation began. I told Him that I was ready to surrender that area to Him and invited Him to guide me forward. I didn’t really know how to hand God control of something I didn’t have control of myself, so I asked the only question I could think of, What do You want me to do first? His answer was lavished in love and loaded with challenge.
He first opened my eyes to see the depth of control that my goals had on me by revealing that even after a miscarriage and the birth of my two sons I went right back to intense exercise, never giving my body the rest it needed and deserved because I feared that my altered post-baby body would cause me to be less-than in the eyes of others. I paid greatly for that decision feeling physically miserable for three years and losing a lot of time with my family. And then He gently whispered once more and said, “It’s time for you to get your rest. I want you to stop exercising and eat freely for the next six weeks.”
In all those years, I had never taken an intentional break from exercise. I was truly terrified about what the physical result of these six weeks would be, but after worrying day in and day out about what I was eating and revolving my entire schedule around getting my workout in, I was exhausted and desperate to be set free from this mind prison.
The next six weeks were incredibly challenging and at the beginning I struggled with trying to accomplish this new goal on my own and that only led to frustration. Then, during a ministry class I was attending the Lord spoke to me through the teacher as she shared Galatians 5:25, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” She went on to say, “You can’t/don’t have to force things to grow when you partner with the Holy Spirt. Living with Him is a process. When the Lord wants to work with you on something, He’s asking to partner with you—not for you to figure it out on your own.”
Isn’t God so good in how He gently brings us back into focus? That night was a light bulb moment and I realized God hadn’t given me a goal to achieve on my own, He exposed an area where freedom and growth needed to take place and was asking me to partner with Him.
Every day I had to choose again to be obedient to His calling and walk this out with Him. He honored that obedience and I learned and was set free from so much by the end of the six weeks.
Through Psalm 139 He revealed to me why it is essential to partner with Him in every area of our lives and in everything we set out to accomplish.
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.”
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:1,13,16- NIV)
We need His partnership in all we do because He made us, He knows us, and His timing is perfect (Ecclesiastes 3:1-NIV). He carefully and thoughtfully handcrafted each one of us to be unique in our body, mind, spirit, and the callings He has ordained for us. And because He formed all the intricacies of our being, He truly and deeply knows us even better than we know ourselves. He knows every experience we’ve had and will have, all that we need to be set free from, areas that we need to grow in, tools that we need to be equipped with over our lifetime, and the deepest desires of our hearts. So, He waits patiently for us to partner with Him so that we can set and achieve every goal in step with the One who knows us and covers us in His all sufficient grace for those moments of weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We were not meant to journey this life alone or in our own understanding, but in partnership with our Father who made us and knows us. I believe that God has so much in store for us all in 2018. So as you set your goals, invite the Lord to lead the process and speak His promises over them and in turn you will be given all you need to accomplish the plans and purposes you were created and designed for.
Meet the Author
Amanda is happily married to her wonderful husband, Josh, and is a mother to two amazing little boys. Together, Josh and she pastor a campus of Morningstar Fellowship in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and love being a part of that community.
This is Amanda’s first venture in writing, but it has been a desire of her heart for a long time so, she is thrilled to have this opportunity. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys listening to various messages to grow her relationship with the Lord and spending time with her family and friends.
You can read Amanda's Sunday Inspiration column the first Sunday each month here at Pandora' Box Gazette.