Welcome 2015: It may be two steps forward, one step back, but here’s what matters



Today, January 1, 2015 is the very first day of a brand new year. And for many that means renewed efforts at a fresh start. New Year’s resolutions, we call them.

This is the year. It all starts now. We resolve to turn over a new leaf-and this time we’re serious. This time we’re really going to try, we’re not going to quit. We promise ourselves that we’re going to quit bad habits and start good ones. We’re going to get in shape, eat better, be more content, more disciplined, more intentional. We’re going to be better husbands, wives, fathers, mothers. We’re going to work harder, serve more, plan more, give more, read more. We’re going to finally be all that we can be. No more messing around.

Well…I say try. Seriously, try.

You might make some great strides this year. I’m hoping to. There are a lot of improvements I’m hoping to make over the next 12 months. But don’t be surprised a year from now when you realize that you’ve fallen short…again.

New Year’s Resolutions are a burdensome attempt to fix ourselves and make ourselves more lovable. But (and here’s the good news), God loves us as we are, not as we should be.

For those who try and try, year after year, again and again, to get better and better, only to take three steps forward then two steps back, one step forward then three steps back…I have good news for you: you’re in good company!

Everybody I have ever talked to sounds just like me over the years. Try and fail. Fail then try. Try and succeed. Succeed then fail. Two steps forward. One step back. One step forward. Three steps back. Every year I get better at some things, worse at others.

For example, this past year I’ve become more patient with my children — more tolerant of their mishaps. Therefore, I’ve been enjoying them more and micromanaging them less (one step forward). But, due to a lack of discipline on my part, I’ve also allowed myself to be stretched too thin this past year and as a result, those I love most have suffered (one step back).

Furthermore, no matter how hard I try—no matter how serious I am about resolving to change—I still get frustrated by the same things that frustrated me 20 years ago: traffic jams, unexpected interruptions, long lines, feeling misunderstood, and so on and so forth.

You get the idea. In some ways we get better. In some ways we get worse. And in other ways we basically stay the same. Whoever told us that the experience of life was one of escalating progress lied to us. Most of the time it feels rather static, doesn’t it?

New Year’s Resolutions are a burdensome attempt to fix ourselves and make ourselves more lovable. But (and here’s the good news), God loves us as we are, not as we should be.

God’s love for me, approval of me, and commitment to me does not ride on my resolve but on God’s resolve for me.

The good news that gets me through bad times is that God’s devotion to me is not dependant on my devotion. Knowing that God always meets my messes with his mercy, my failures with his forgiveness, and my guilt with his grace, helps me survive my daily disappointments with me.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news to those who’ve been crushed by unmet expectations of life—it announces that because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose; because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak; because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary; because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail.

So, as this new year gets under way, I’ll still going to try and get better at things, but it’s so much more restful to know that I live my life from love rather than for it.

Thank God!

Happy New Year!


Tullian Tchividjian is the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, and the grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. His new book, “It is Finished: 365 Days of Good News” (David C. Cook) will be released on January 1, 2015.

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