Pastor Blake Williams
Missions & Outreach Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
We’re just over a week into 2018, how are you doing with your resolutions? Many people
don’t even make them anymore because of the high probability of failure that they have
grown accustomed to. Statistically only 40% of people make New Years resolutions and
over 82% of those resolutions fail. So how do you succeed? What are the things you can do to be part of the 18%?
Recently I read a book by Jon Acuff called “Finish- Give Yourself the Gift of Done.” In the
book he gives some tips for how you can actually complete some of your goals and it’s
worth the read, so pick it up. Or if you are part of the majority in America that only reads 1 book per year, then get the audiobook, it still counts. If you don’t want to pay for the
audiobook, get a library card, download the Overdrive app, and listen to it for free.
You see what just happened? I started answering some of the objections that you came up with for why you couldn’t do that. The ask that I made of you would cost you maybe $10-15 and 3 hours of your time, but our immediate response is typically: I can’t, won’t, don’t want to, etc. We’re afraid to try because we’re afraid to fail. If you read that book and the Bible you would not only double the number of books the average American reads but you’d prove something to yourself, you can do more than you think. Reading the Bible seems daunting and overwhelming for most; however, by reading 15 minutes a day you could knock the Bible out in a year. 15 minutes a day!!! Talk about an incredible investment and return on investment.
Here’s another thing, if you miss a day, just pick up the next day. If you miss a week, pick it back up the next day and start where you left off. If you don’t finish the Bible in a year, but you finish 75% of it, that’s fantastic! I would so much rather someone read 75% of God’s Word in a year than give up when they got into Leviticus because it was hard. Here’s a crazy thought, don’t read it like a book, you’re allowed to bounce around. When I was a 13 year old at summer camp we were on a hike and one of my counselors saw me reading my Bible and asked what I was reading. I told him Numbers. You would’ve thought I grew a toe out of my forehead while saying that. He was gracious and in the nicest way possible and asked, why?
What did he do next? He told me to read the Sermon on the Mount and shockingly the Bible got a whole lot more interesting. So read the New Testament first, and save the more difficult reads for later. Maybe even watch the Read Scripture videos on each book to help you understand the book. You want another crazy thought? It doesn’t have to be in a one- year period. Keep trucking through and if it takes you a few years, do it.
So far all I’ve talked about is reading, but there are plenty of other worthwhile goals and
endeavors that people undertake each year. Another common goal or resolution is to lose weight. If you set a goal to lose 50lbs, start your goal by cutting that number in half. One of the worst things that can happen to us is that we set too ambitious of a goal and if we fall short, we focus more on not hitting our goal than the progress we made. If you set a goal for 50lbs and lost 25lbs, is that a bad thing? Of course not!
Culturally we fell in love with this idea of the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and forgot what it means to succeed incrementally. Trust the process. As with any goal, it will take time, and more often than not, it will take more time than you think or plan for. There is a study that was put out that asked grad students to project how long it would take them to complete their final thesis and then measured the results of how long it actually took. Almost every one of them spent longer on the project than their worst case scenario. Give yourself more time, cut down your goals, and trust that over the course of time you’ll get where you want to go.
My prayer for you is that at the end of 2018, you can look back and see that you stuck to the things you resolved better than in years past. It’s not too late to start something either. Don’t put it off, set some goals, figure out how to do it, and go after it.