Reflections By Pastor Marianne

Do you make New Year resolutions?

I was listening in my car to a radio interview on WHYY's Radio Times the other day. It was one of those driveway moments where I continued to listen even though I had reached my destination. The guest on the show was Wharton Professor Katy Milkman, who was researching what motivates people to make positive behavioral changes in their lives and stick to it. Her research focused on a study group of individuals who were tasked with increasing their daily physical activity as a way to a goal toward a healthier lifestyle. The study showed that even small rewards such as 22 cents a day added to an Amazon gift card was motivation enough for some folks to stick to their goals!

Asked about New Year resolutions by the host, Professor Milkman explained the psychology of keeping New Year resolutions. She spoke of how a New Year resolution is very much like those new goals we humans often make when we move to a new place, start a new job, or begin or end a relationship etc. She likened it to a sense of turning a chapter in our lives and committing to new and healthier habits.

Maybe it's just me but it seems that since COVID 19, and the upheaval in our lives as of recently, there has been a surge of studies on the science of motivation. Because don't we all just want to stay motivated when the ground is shifting below us and we need a little help and understanding about how to succeed in our goals?

After I listened to this informative interview with Professor Milkman, I thought about the possibility of cultivating new habits and/or a New Year resolution in our spiritual lives. Perhaps some of us would like to cultivate a deeper, more meaningful and regular prayer life; while some may seek being more intentional about serving the least of our brothers and sisters. For others it might be making weekly worship a priority or working towards tithing. For some it might be reading the Bible each morning. I know for myself I would like to recommit to reading a wonderful Christian devotion that is waiting for me each morning in my inbox. I enthusiastically signed up for it, but for some reason I never seem to find daily time to open and read those edifying and thought provoking essays on the Christian journey just waiting for me. I need to commit to setting aside time and I know my day will be better because of it. Do you have a spiritual New Year resolution--or anytime resolution--that will draw you nearer to Christ? What would motivate you to stick to it? Perhaps, carving out time in the morning or time before bedtime. Even lunchtime works for some.

Scripture tells us we worship a God of new beginnings. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads:

"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!"

We worship a God who is continually renewing and refining us. God created us to be moving toward something. What are you moving toward and what are your goals for drawing near to Jesus this year?

Peace and blessings,

Pastor Marianne