New Year, Old Me

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today every website, magazine, and newspaper is selling January 1st-dated potential with headlines like “New Year, New You” or “Ten Ways to Lose Weight/Get Rich/Find Love/Be the Best Person Ever in 2016.” And, hey, if that kind of inspiration works for you, more power to you. Go with it. May 2016 be your best year ever.

But New Year’s Day, and the companion resolution-making process, has never worked for me. I’ve made resolutions but, truth be told, I’ve never really felt all that motivated to keep them. I used to think that was a character flaw. Now I think that maybe resolutions tied to the date of January 1st just aren’t right for me.

The best things in my life have come to me gradually. I didn’t become a Christian by “making a decision for Christ.” I became one because gradually I was drawn by the story of Christ and I wanted to follow him. I can’t tell you the date that happened, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t January 1st. It wasn’t any one day.

The thing about God’s grace, and the changes that it causes us to make, is that it rarely comes on our own schedules. My guess is that it even less rarely comes on a date that has rather arbitrarily, at this place and this time in the whole of history, come to be the start of a new year.

If something big happens in my life this year, it will come because of God’s grace, and it will likely come some random unexpected time, maybe all at once, or maybe little by slow.

So, this year I’m not making resolutions. I’ve decided I don’t want a “new year, new me.” Really, it’s taken a lifetime to get to this “me,” and I’m pretty happy with who I am and all the little graces that have made me me. My hope is next year at this time I’ll be pretty happy to be me, too.

This year I’m going to do something different. I’m going to list the things that I randomly started doing at some point this year that I’ve decided to keep doing. They’ve made my year better. My only hope is that 2016 will add to this list. Either way, I think it’s going to be a good year.


O God, that you for making us the people who we are today. Amen. 

dd-emilyheath.jpgAbout the Author
Emily C. Heath is Senior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire, a frequent Huffington Post blogger and a regular contributor to the UCC’s NewSacred.