Why I’m opting out this New Year’s…Maybe you should too?


Baby New Year is four days old and I’m considering the annual traditions that I have in the past embraced:


  • Resolutions
  • One Words
  • 31 Day Series
  • Read through the Bible in a Year plans
  • New health regimen
  • Promises to self to make this the Best. Year. Yet!

An opting out of all of them.

No, I’m not throwing away my Bible, or deciding to stop moving my life forward in the best possible way, but I am ditching what I find to be encumbrances and routine contrivances.

Instead by God’s grace and with every breath I take may I be the change I would like to see in the world. That I just do it instead of talking or writing about it! That every step — every thought, word, and action of mine — moves me closer to my ultimate objective in life.

To live and love like Jesus Christ.

Simple. Real. True. And earth-shattering once finally achieved.


Because the way I see it if I focus on this One then everything else falls in line. My utter abandonment and obedience to God is key to good living that fulfills the plans He has for me, makes Him smile, blesses those around me and gives me peace, hope and happiness.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:15

Jesus’ succinct sentence is more loaded than we realize having read it year after year, yet perhaps not doing it?

Keeping my focus straightforward and simple alleviates the self-imposed stress I have in the past experienced as my resolutions fell far short by year’s end — or maybe at the end of January?

I grew discouraged over my lack of stick-to-it-tiveness, feeling defeated.

But by putting first things first everyday, as a way of life, by choosing to follow God more closely than I did yesterday or last year, the objectives that elude my best laid plans and resolutions come true. Believing, trusting and obeying God whole-heartedly brings blessings that last, making my life better one day at a time: stronger marriage, better relationships, balanced finances, increased peace, pure joy. And even improved health.

My heartfelt prayer for you, my very dear friend, is that you may be as healthy and prosperous in every way are you are in soul. I was delighted when the brothers arrived and spoke so highly of the sincerity of your life—obviously you are living in the truth. Nothing brings me greater joy nowadays than hearing that “my children” are living “in the truth”.
3 John 2, J.B. Phillips New Testament


My soul is my will, my mind, my emotions. I can faithfully hike, do yoga daily and eat a Paleo diet, but if my soul is sick my life, and the lives of my loved ones, suffers. So I start by choosing to obey especially when. it. is. hard! Not just when everything is going well. And my mind is a major battlefield where obedience is first won or lost. My waking thoughts setting the tone of my day.

We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
2 Corinthians 10:5 The Message

So may I choose thoughts carefully, rejecting all the fear-filled negative notions and reframing situations as much as possible in a more positive light.

From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8

And from here following all the other Commands of Christ. Each morning, as part of our couple devotions, my Michael reads us one of the page-long selections from this invaluable book in addition to scripture from our current reading of William Barclay’s Gospel of Mark. Both brother-authors encourage our obedience as they bring fresh insights to time-worn truths.


So whether it is January 4 or July 18 or December 31 we stay the course. Day in. Day out. In big and little matters no matter that we may stumble a time or two, or the news keeps me up all night, or the enemy employs lies that for a moment set me on edge.

There is One truth that never changes from January 1 to December 31 each and every year. Year after year after year…

Jesus Christ is always the same, yesterday, today and for ever. Do not be swept off your feet by various peculiar teachings. Spiritual stability depends on the grace of God, and not on rules of diet—which after all have not spiritually benefited those who have made a speciality of that kind of thing. God sent Jesus to show us Himself and forgives and takes away our sins making new life possible.
Hebrews 13:8, J. B. Phillips

One True North Light to the good life…

 Sheila Signature Reduced

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22 thoughts on “Why I’m opting out this New Year’s…Maybe you should too?

  1. I overheard a similar conversation this morning at Walmart (minus the spiritual overtones, ha). One co-worker was telling another that he doesn’t do resolutions; he just is. There’s a lot to be said for that (and you said it much more eloquently). I know God will bless your year!

    • Thanks, Lisa. 🙂 And I believe God will continue blesses all of us in each new day, in big and little ways, and sometimes in ways that dont seem very much like “blessings” but in eternity’s view absolutely are. Hugs to you, my friend, for a very productive year as you WELCOME all that God has for you 🙂

  2. Sheila, I love your thoughts (and images!) here. And far from opting out, I see you as opting in to pursue the better way for your soul, and that’s good news! This time of year presents us with several choices and fresh opportunity to begin again. To make this: “To live and love like Jesus Christ” the deciding factor for this year (and indeed the foundation of your life) is admirable and eminently good for the soul in every way. I love Ann Voskamp’s emphasis on SOULutions rather than resolutions. Her purposing inspires me as I seek to make ‘love’ the defining focus of 2016. Every blessing, lovely friend. Xox 🙂

    • Thank you, dear Joy. The photos are from our Christmas morning hike overlooking the Hudson River. It was such a glorious morning, warmish too, and we even saw a robin!! Poor, confused creature. Yes, LOVE is the answer to all we long for. LOVE is the most powerful healing agent in the universe. LOVE is what unites and brings peace. May we all learn to LOVE and LIVE like JESUS. Blessings and hugs to you! xxoo

  3. I love seeing your beautiful, smiling face! When I read this: “That I just do it instead of talking or writing about it!” I had to say, “amen!” out loud! I haven’t named my year or any resolutions or even formulated a definite plan in my mind about how I’d like things to go in the new year, except to live better for Christ. That means moment to moment, day-to-day making better decisions and trusting in God’s providence. Your words resonate, my friend. Sending so much love your way as you step into a new year.

    • Awww, thanks so much, Laura, for your kind and generous words. I really appreciate hearing from you! And I am glad the words resonate with you. We can prayerfully hold each other up in the new year to “be” Jesus in the coming hours, days, forever…And it is a moment by moment CHOICE and sometimes I choose selfishly, BUT GOD and His grace and Him always, always helping us back to our feet, sometimes with a gentle pat on the bottom, reminding us to stay the course and of how much He loves us. Always and forever, staying…LOVE and HUGS right back at you for a wonderful year of all that God has in store for you and your loved ones. xxoo

  4. Stopping by from Tell Us A Story. I would love for you to share with us on Wednesdays at Sitting Among Friends. I host it at http://youresewtrendy.blogspot.com. We are always looking for friends with inspiring biblical views to sit down with us.
    I was humored as I read his post because I have wrote a post for tomorrow that talks about my “one word” (which I have never done before) being Jesus because I need Him to be my word. Look forward to connecting with you more.

  5. So happy to be your neighbor at Holley’s today. Your word to walk in obedience to Christ one day at a time is what God has been speaking to my heart as well. We too often put off our resolutions to tomorrow or after some big event. Taking one day at a time, living in the present, is key.

  6. Being tied into something can be irritating. I too try to avoid those who schedule for me what I am supposed to do. Is that rebellion or just – a desire to see what God says about it and a need to follow His direction. I appreciate your wise words here and thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

  7. I’m so thankful that One Truth never changes. You are right. The most important thing we can do is live and love like Jesus Christ.
    Thank you for linking up with Grace and Truth!