JAN 17, 2019 Devotional: “Resolutions and Guardrails”

Yesterday morning’s run was a chilly one!  29 degress at the start, but a “dry” cold so (I’m told) it didn’t actually feel as cold as the temperature might convey.  Still it was brisk and our pace was equally revved up to account for the weather.  Great run to start off the new WAWA season.

As we gathered after the run, I shared with the group two thoughts:  Resolutions and Guardrails.

First, when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, studies have revealed that 80% of those who make resolutions in the new calendar year, break them before January 15th.  So it was no secret that I wanted to talk about our fitness commitments yesterday morning.  I congratulated the runners, since it was January 16th!  They were already part of a select group of “twenty-percent-ers”!

Why is it that people break their resolutions?  They are certainly good intentions, right?  So why do they go awry?   I reached for some answers and came across one site that gave ten reasons why.  I won’t list all ten, but a few are worth mentioning.

Reason 1:  Going at it alone.  

I translate this to mean there’s no accountability.  When left alone, we tend to choose the easier path.  Not being critical.  I’ve been there and am still there many days now!

Reason 2:  Giving up too easily. 

Raise your hand if you have many other things going on in your life?  Family, work, community, church….?  We’ve all got conflicting priorities.  So when we allow a restructuring of our priorities, those resolutions fall deeper down the line, until they’re non-existent altogether.

Reason 3:  Wrong perspective.

This same study refers to this as focusing on things that aren’t going right when we should be focusing on what’s going well.

Reason 4:  Not believing in ourselves.

Like many other aspects of our lives, goals are a journey…not a quick solution.  We have to recognize that the end may not always be immediately in sight…but trust that it is down the road.

Now while these are all great points as to why many break their fitness resolutions, one can argue that they are also aligned to why we break our Christian resolutions.  Go back to those four reasons above and align them against similar reasons why we fall off spiritual paths.  Maybe, like me, you’ll see that the reasons are nearly identical.

But while all four are reminders, to me the most important is Reason #1:  Going at it along.  And that leads me to the second word for this week’s devotional:  Guardrails.  What do I mean by that?

A few years ago, I was asked to give a testimony about my spiritual walk of faith to a men’s group in Atlanta.  The audience was about 100 men….and while I readily accepted, I had butterflies on the morning of the speech.  I shared stories of ups and downs.  And I focused the other men by saying, “my life is not a story of someone who was away from Christ, found Christ, and now lives a model Christian life.”  I emphasized that I am constantly riding the roller-coaster that perhaps many of you can say the same.

By “guardrails” I am referring to the people and things in my life that help me try to stay on the path of my own Christian resolutions.  These resolutions are not something to be renewed every year but kept in place each and every day.  I surround myself and involve myself in people and groups to serve as constant reminders of those resolutions.  I call them my “guardrails”.  And without them, I am more likely to weave off the road and down the cliff.

It’s not easy.  And it can often times be exhausting.  And maybe some of you don’t need those types of guardrails in your lives.  For those in that category, I say “congratulations”.  But for the rest of us….perhaps more than just the fitness “twenty percent-ers”, I invite you to join me.

It’s a new year and a new chance to focus on a loving, Heavenly Father.  My prayer today is that we find the necessary guardrails for ourselves and those around up.  Keep marching towards our Christian resolutions.  Don’t go at it alone.

Peace!