I saw a post the other day about New Year Goals/Resolutions that really resonated with me. I can’t remember who the writer was, but they pointed out that perhaps one reason we often “fail” at our New Year resolutions or goals is because of the way we are framing them. A goal implies some tangible benchmark that can be achieved and checked off, but personal or spiritual growth is not linear in that way. We say that we would like to show more patience with our family, for instance. This is a worthy goal, but it’s not realistic that there will be a day when we are perfectly satisfied with our level of patience. Each of us is a perpetual work in progress.

So my list of “goals” for 2022 is a bit different this year with that bit of wisdom tucked in the back of my mind. Rather than setting goals that I expect myself to achieve and check off my list, I’m reflecting on guideposts. What are the guideposts that I would like to bear in mind as I take on yet another year of this global pandemic? What are the hopes that I have for my family’s growth and flourishing?

A focus on peace

Our family’s focus verse for the new year is Romans 12:18, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” There has been so much strife in the world around us in recent history – we ache for peace. My hope is that our family will live in such a way that we have peace within ourselves, and that we are peacemakers within our social circles.

An important lesson I’ve learned in the past year is how much of my peace I forfeit when I think of myself too highly. When I see myself as the only one who can do a certain task, when I carry the weight of the world, when I refuse to rest – I am choosing to forfeit that peace. My hope this year is to be humble enough to admit my limits and prioritize my human need for rest.

A focus on growth

The last couple of years we have spent a lot of time camped out in Romans, especially in Romans 12:2. We had reached a point in our spiritual lives where we felt like we were becoming stagnant. We needed transformation. This is a lifelong truth, but it’s been lifegiving to see the growth that has occurred with this in focus. This year I hope that we continue to find that renewal. I hope our family stays focused on learning Scripture well. I hope that I will personally grow in wonder and curiosity.

My hope is also that as we grow and learn, we will also grow in our ability to be a source of joy and comfort to others. I hope to intentionally live in the moment and cherish the memories we are making even in the mundane. I hope to see the beauty in library trips, grocery store runs, and washing the dishes.

The last couple of years have been so hard for so many. We’ve faced struggles in our communities, nation, and world that are unlike anything else we’ve seen in our lifetime. But I’ve found truth in the words of Scripture that our endurance through hard times strengthens our character and brings hope (Romans 5:1-5). May we carry that hope into this new year, and may we grow in all the good things.

“This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 5:5