Tuesday, January 4, 2011

HOPE FOR TODAY: A Resolution for Real Happiness

This year an estimated 139 million Americans will do some type of New Year’s resolution. That is about 45% of our population. By June, 92% will have failed to follow through while only 8% will make it to the finish line.

A resolution is a determination to make a change. It is a statement of purpose backed up with a sense of resolve and firmness, like “I make a resolution to lose 25 pounds this year.” Some of those changes are related to health, education, career, finances, relationships and habits.

What is the underlying reason for our resolutions? Likely, it is something deeper than just making changes. For some it could be because they are not happy with how things are going in their lives? Someone might have thought, “If I can just get this mountain of debt paid off I can be at peace with myself.”

With that in mind, consider this statement from author and motivational speaker, Stephen Shapiro. After reviewing the data from a major research project he said, “People who achieve their resolutions every year are NO happier than those who do not set resolutions or who are unsuccessful in achieving them.”

Personally, I found that surprising when I read it. However, after some further thought, it made sense to me. We can work hard at changing the outward circumstances of our lives thinking it will affect our inward restlessness. Yet, after some time has passed, no matter whether we were successful or not, that lack of happiness is still there.

Through sheer determination, self-will and a positive attitude we cannot control everything in our lives or world. We are not gods. We may be able to produce for ourselves happiness for a moment or a brief season of time, but we cannot produce anything that is for a lifetime that continues despite our circumstances from day to day.

There is only one God and He created us that we may know Him personally. Only through His Son, Jesus, can we find answers to the deep things of the heart and soul. In Him, we will discover that He is whom we have really needed all along. He once said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). When we come to Jesus and walk with Him in faithful obedience, we will find His indwelling presence always there providing all we need no matter the situation in our lives.

You will only find temporary happiness in your resolutions, but you will find lasting peace through Jesus. In Him is your hope for today.