There's something immensely joyous and hopeful about a new year - something appealing about a fresh start, a new opportunity to be brave and step out in courage. Something so satisfying about a new journal, waiting to be filled with stories of adventures and time spent with loved ones and brave journeys of starting new things. Something motivating about leaving the past behind and stepping into a blank page of possibilities.
But the flip side of this is that we are constantly bombarded by resolutions to help ourselves. New Year, New You! Lose weight! Drink more water! Work smarter! Eat less! Exercise more! Watch less Netflix! Eat more celery! Sort yourself out. Get it together.
And then by the middle of January, we feel despondent because we've let ourselves down again and January is dark and hard and you spent all your money on stollen and Christmas presents and what's the point in even trying when all you want to do is crawl under a duvet and wait for Spring?
The Apostle Paul had it nailed in 1 Corinthians 2:2 -
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."
As Christians, the only thing we need to focus our hearts and minds on in 2018 is knowing the Lord Jesus Christ - the enthralling, captivating Centre of all reality who came in flesh to save us. Our Brother, our Friend, our Mediator. It sure takes the pressure off and fills the new year with grace and excitement! What can we find out about our wonderful Jesus in the next 365 days? How can we share His life with those around us? What will He reveal to us by His Spirit? This might be the year He comes back for us! This might be the year we hear the Father's voice singing over us in the new creation.
Lots of us have goals and intentions for the year ahead, but we can hold them lightly and feel freedom in Christ instead of feeling crushed by expectations and the fear of failure.
And now, knowing that at the heart of everything we do, our prayer is that the face of Christ would be seen in everything we do, we thought it would be fun to hear from some of the Cheerfully Given sellers about their goals and intentions this year - because even though we shouldn't be hanging all our hopes and dreams for 2018 on them, they're fun to have and certainly help us crystallise our priorities for the coming weeks and months!
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Judy Bainbridge from Judy B Designs
Since I spend a lot of time sitting and or staring at screens, I have made a resolution to get outdoors more and be more active... Starting with an extremely wet and muddy walk yesterday! Maybe less mud on future walks, since I don't want to spend half of 2018 washing clothes!
Jules Loveland from GingerTwentyTwo
This year I am considering all areas of health. Physical health - eating well, exercising, getting outside. Mental health - making good choices, mindfulness, slowing down, being more thankful and more present in the moment. Spiritual health - more consistent regular time hanging out with my Papa, Bible in a Year, intentionally checking how well I am doing when it comes to the fruits of the spirit and 1 Corinthians 13 (Love is patient...)
And then looking at things like running a healthy business, being mature in my thought life and behaviour, being a healthy leader, etc.
Becky Stewart from Watts Illustration
I do try and think of a New Year's resolution (not the ‘new year new me’ thing because I like me!), but more projects to push myself. This year I’m setting goals with reading, and I'm going to attempt a 365-day drawing project to teach myself to be better in this discipline.
Hilary Kemp from Chassy Calligraphy
Definitely wanting to up my physical health and get out of the house a bit more, and not just for dog walks! Volunteering more (because I'm in charge of my own time now!), going swimming, etc. I went from a super physical, super interactive job to working from home and the sudden change has been a bit of a shock.
Also being able to commit my business to Jesus and not worry too much about it, to see what God has to say about what makes a successful business and not just take the world's opinion on it, because that can be very stressful and let's face it, by those standards we're never good enough!
Zoe Powell from Zoeprose
My biggest goal is to read the Bible in a Year again. There are other things I want to be more intentional about, like having people over for meals/ games/ play dates, but I feel like most other uses of my time should come from having better priorities, i.e. the priority of time in the Word more than anything!
Hannah Allwright from Creative Bea
We split ours into 4 areas: Children, Marriage, House, and Life.There is some overlap in the categories, and we have 4-5 points in each. It worked really well for us last year.
Alice Pirrie from Alice and the Mustard Seed
I'm setting myself a crazy challenge (for financial, environmental and ethical reasons) to not buy any NEW clothes (with the exception of underwear, since I'm pregnant!). I'm allowed to buy from charity shops or second-hand from eBay etc. when I need new clothes but that's it. I did it during Lent a few years ago and by the end I was thinking much more carefully about how to steward my pennies and about the difference between what I *want* and what I *need*. Who knows if I'll last the whole year, but I'm going to give it my best shot!
Jenna McKechnie from Joy Jenna Made
I'm not setting any resolutions, but I'm picking a word instead as a bit of an "intention for the year". I did it last year with the word ‘depth’, and it’s funny how almost prophetic it’s been. It was a really helpful word to start with when reflecting and assessing throughout the year.
My word for 2018 will be Enjoy! I have some stuff ahead this year that I already know is going to be a big challenge, amongst lots of other lovely bits of course. I don’t want to blindly rush my way through it all just to get to the end though. I want to do each part as well as I possibly can, but also enjoy it all as much as possible too!
April Banton from AprilMADE
I’m doing the usual ones of eating more balanced and working out more - losing the baby weight! [April had baby Jonathan this summer!]
But new to this year is the challenge not to buy anything for myself for six months and then review. I have SO many craft supplies and projects to do and yet I continue to buy more! So I’m going to work through them all, try out new things (I have dressmaking and pyrography to do!) and learn to enjoy and create with what I have rather than always trying to have the latest thing.
You might have noticed a bit of a theme: lots of us are trying to be more intentional about getting outside - there's nothing like working from home to dramatically reduce the amount of fresh air you get each day! There are also a few of us who are using the Bible in One Year App to read through the Bible this year - it comes with audio, so it means we can also have the dulcet tones of David Suchet reading the Bible to us while we're working or walking.
We can work faithfully in the season God has called us to this year knowing that every single day is a fresh new year with Christ - the old is gone, the new is here! We can take that anticipation, that excitement, that motivation, and apply it to each new dawn, knowing that the Living God has gifted us with every blessing in His precious Son.
Happy New Year, dear friends. Let's capture every day of 2018 for our King!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”