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Stop Trying

January 4, 2016

Now that 2016 is underway (the fourth already…really?), I’ve been finishing up my goal setting and self-evaluation from last year. I have to say I hate the term “resolution” because that sounds like a nice way of saying, “these are all the things that I say that I’m going to do just because that’s what I’m supposed to do at New Year and then in a few weeks, I’ll go back to my normal existence.”

I just don’t do resolutions.

In my  mind, I think resolution and I think of the thousands of dollars in gym memberships that are made at the beginning of the year. People who swear that this will be the year that they lose the weight or get in shape or whatever term they come up with, and then they decide they don’t want to let go of their fast food and they throw in the towel.

What is it about the beginning of the year that makes us think that we have to make a big change anyway? Is it because it feels like a truly fresh start since an entire year is behind us? Is it the number thing-1/1 like we are starting at the beginning numerically? I have heard it said so many times, by so many people that

There is nothing special about January 1.

It’s simply another symbol that we etch in our minds as the New Year being more significant than the beginning of any other month of the year. We (universal we) like to hype it up because it makes us feel good to feel like we are starting over and starting fresh. Unfortunately, real change doesn’t happen without effort and effort doesn’t come without work and we (again with the universal we) just don’t like to do the work.

We get in our minds that for whatever reason this not really special in any way specific day is going to be the change all for us. That this will be the year that it’s all going to be different. So, we make the resolutions. We join the gyms and toss the junk food and whatever else we decide we are going to do and dive in head first.

And then life happens.

And the thing we wanted so badly to do gets hard.

And we get lazy.

So, we go back to the same old habits. The same tired routines. The same “man I wish my life was different” mentality without ever really deciding that we want to change. Then we wonder why when another year goes by we are in the same exact place that we were 365 days ago.

I’ve been there and done that friends. Made the same resolutions. The same promises to myself that THIS year, I was going to do different…be different…than the year before. I was going to kick this habit or nix that habit. But, two weeks in, I was in the same spot.

Do you know that it takes 21-30 days to form a habit?

The problem is, most of us give up on things when we don’t get immediate results. We want it quick; we want it big and we want it NOW. But we want it without the effort. We want it without the work. We want it for free.

I think what I have found most interesting when I sit and think about that mentality is that we don’t want to work for petty things on this Earth…weight loss, nixing smoking/drinking/etc. habits, get out of debt…because it requires something from us. But so many of us still have the mentality that we can work to earn our salvation.

The things that we could actually change…the things that are feasible on this small, insignificant speck of existence on Earth…we don’t want to change. We are lazy. We are tired. We are comfortable. But the thing that matters the most….the thing that we really CAN NOT EARN through any amount of effort on our part…we will fight for.

Stop Trying via @CourtneyKirklnd

And while this post really has no “answer” as to why, I just want to throw that question out there.


Why are we working so hard for something that has already been given to us freely? Why arevwe lazy in our worldly habits, the ones that we could actually see a difference in, but we miss the mark when it comes to eternity?

I don’t know where you are spiritually friend…whoever you are out there that may be reading this…but just stop. Stop working for something that you can’t reach. You can’t reach eternity by trying. You can make all of the resolutions you want. Promise yourself-and God-a million times over that you will do something differently to try to find favor. But it will never work. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never get there. You’ll never be able to work your way to heaven. You’ll never “change” your way into eternity.

There’s only one way there. And He doesn’t change.

Instead of trying to earn a spot that you could never earn, make some shifts that matter:

  • Spend more time on your knees in prayer
  • Spend more time in the Word each day…not in 5 minute increments as a way of checking your “I’m a Christian” box. But in real, deep study of God’s word. (If you don’t know how to do that, I recommend this book by Jen Wilkin and this study by Jane Johnson.)
  • Demonstrate love to those who truly need it by simply showing kindness.
  • You can’t BE God…but you can strive to be like Jesus. There’s a difference. Work on figuring that out.
  • Follow the commands that you know God is giving you. Your conscience is there for a reason. Listen to it.

As much as we would like to, getting to the other side of eternity isn’t something we can do ourselves.

This year, let’s resolve to stop trying.

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Courtney Kirkland is a Sacramento, California photography and design business. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, meaningful documentary-style photography and intentional, high-quality design.  Value and celebrate the beautiful, messy, and uniquely-special moments of everyday living.