"New Year's Eve" by Ally Mittleider

It's New Year's Eve and in just a few hours we will be counting down the minutes to celebrate the end of 2015 and the start of a completely new year. A lot of times this calls for New Year Resolutions - promises to change or be better during the next year. Resolutions to lose a certain amount of weight, eat healthier, read more, watch less television, so on and so forth. Being at the gym you can tell those whose resolution was to start working out more. After the first of the year the gym is packed full of new faces. They last for a few weeks, the best ones are there for a few months, but ultimately they fade away before six months is up and the gym is back to its normal capacity.

I go back and forth about New Year's resolutions. I can see how they bring hope to those who may have ended the year on a hopeless note. I understand that writing down or verbalizing those goals legitimizes them in our mind. Discussing New Year's resolutions also makes for a great conversation! At the same time- I don't think it takes such a big event to realize that change needs to happen. I think the types of change that people are trying to make with their resolutions are ones that need to happen within the heart first. They are the type that take a lot of reflection and time - not one that can be made on a "in-the-moment" whim or feeling. That is why the gym empties out by April.

I'm not one that quotes scripture as well as I probably could, but I do know that in many instances in the Bible, the Lord works directly through the heart. I also know that in my own life, the Lord works directly through my heart. Throughout the past few months I have felt him working in my life and, as Pastor Dusty puts it, sticking his finger in areas of my life that make me say, "Ouch!" I've always been my biggest critic, the one that is the hardest on myself, but with the help of God and a few important people in my life, I've realized that there are areas in my life that need some tweaking. It's as ifthe radio station isn't quite on the right channel and there is a slight static keeping it from coming in clear. My life has been dulled with this static that kept me from hearing God's voice and focusing on the important things.

These changes I want to make aren't the New Year's resolution-type changes. These are the deep, heart and soul type changes. The ones that are pretty hard to make. The process isn't easy and I might take some tumbles along the way but I know that with the help of those who love me and the strength that only comes from God, I can do it. I can refocus on the amazing things that are coming up in 2016! I can find that channel that is coming in clear and hear God's plans for my life clearly. This New Year's Eve, I am more excited than usual and it is a great feeling! So make those New Year's Resolutions - but make sure your "in-the-moment" decision to change a certain area of your life has also happened within your heart.