Simple Relationship Resolutions

When we were working on our “Simple Christmas” theme as a blog team, Laura journaled this definition of simplicity, and it seems like the best jumping off place to transition from the time of Christmas to New Year’s resolutions: “Part of the dictionary definition of simplicity is to be humble and unpretentious. Part of making room for humility and doing away with pretense is letting go of ourselves and putting others first.  Some people call that ‘dying to self.’”

If you have followed along with us this past month with #simpleChristmas, I hope you have felt a little more unpretentious and humble, in the best sense of the words.  When we say humility involves putting others first, it never means playing the martyr. I have made this mistake more times than I can count.

To me, authentic humility comes from dissolving our resolve to “be right and the best” in our own eyes or even the eyes of others.  Walking in true humility appears throughout the Bible, actually. Some of the verses about humility have become cliche, so I will share them below as a place for us to think about them with a fresh perspective.  

  • “God opposes the proud but gives grace and favor to the humble” (James 4:6 / 1 Peter 5:5, NIV).
  • “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).  

Rick Warren’s words ring true: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.”  I am so quick to put myself down rather than operate from an attitude of service when I feel stressed or overwhelmed. That’s not the way God sees me or wants me to act, especially as a mother.  So, my question as I prepare for 2019 is simple, yet it is easier said than done: What if this year we dissolve our resolve?  

What if we choose to seek only God’s approval, not our own approval or that of others? What if we stripped away the unnecessary layers surrounding our identities?

Here are some of the untrue layers I’ve added to my identity:

  • I’ll be good enough and worthy when I lose the weight.
  • I’ll be a better mom when I can keep the house clean.
  • I’ll be a good wife if I cook homemade seven nights a week.
  • I’ll be the best friend if I never miss an occasion or invitation.
  • I’ll be a good Christian when we are early and freshly pressed every Sunday, serving, and connected to multiple small groups.
  • I’m a good citizen if we volunteer regularly.

Those are all totally realistic. Let’s toast! ?

Not! All of these are my so-called standards of living and my measuring stick, my resolve.  When I operate from this ambitious frame of mind, I always end up tired and defeated. Always. Read that again. I am trying to save you some pain.  You know why I think it all causes pain? Because those typical resolutions operate out of IFs and WHENs. They are based on conditional acceptance, not unconditional love.

The truth is, Jesus came so we could dissolve our resolve.  He came as a baby to humbly serve and experience every human emotion.  He died and rose again so He could fulfill the name Emmanuel — God with us.  When I refocus my goals to be centered with God, I always feel victorious, even without making it to a certain place on my metaphorical measuring stick or conquering some tall order we have taken upon ourselves we could not possibly conquer alone.  When I invite God into my plans, my resolve dissolves into His ways, which are always better than mine (Isaiah 55:9).

So, what does it look like to dissolve the resolve in real life? Here are some rewritten resolutions based on the Bible’s standards of living, not my own.

“Dissolved” Simple Relationship Resolutions:

  1. My relationship with my body is to listen and pay attention to it, not shame it or ignore it; in all I eat, drink, or do, I will glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  2. My relationship with motherhood is to love my child(ren) unconditionally and serve faithfully, not perfectly, as I build my home (Proverbs 14:1).
  3. My relationship with my husband is based on unconditional love, not striving or working for approval (1 Corinthians 13:5).
  4. My relationships with my friends are to be equal and edifying, as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).
  5. My relationship with God and my church is to worship and be a good steward of my resources, sharing the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
  6. My relationship with my community is to be salt and light; nothing more, nothing less (Matthew 5:13-16).

New Year’s Prayers:

I pray as just as we leaned in for our New Year’s kisses, we take time to remember how blessed we are for these humans in our lives and see them as pure gifts from God, not sources of stress or crushing responsibilities.  When relationships do not look the way they “should,” I pray we find grace to forgive ourselves and those around us.

For all the single moms out there, my prayer is for you to especially be filled with the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7).  Overall, I pray for a renewed sense of simple purpose in every relationship we have in our lives: family, children, friends, coworkers, neighbors, strangers, everyone: to reflect God’s love (Mark 12:30-31)!  

Mamas, my prayer as we usher in 2019 is for us to simply focus on humility and letting go of any pretense in our relationships.  May we dissolve our resolve in the coming year; may we trade it in for a more humble pace of life centered on the unforced rhythms of grace (Matthew 11:28-30).  

?Written by Jo Perkins 

Soaking in the Truth

Scripture to encourage you:

  • “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9, NIV).  
  • “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1, NLT).
  • “Love the Lord your God with all your mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself ” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV).
  • “And don’t be called ‘Master,’ for only one is your master, even the Messiah.  The more lowly your service to others, the greater you are. To be the greatest, be a servant. But those who think themselves great shall be disappointed and humbled; and those who humble themselves shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:10-12, TLB).  
  • “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8).

Music to inspire you:

Readings and Resources to come alongside of you:

  • Dayspring’s One Word for 2019 Quiz
  • Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide for the New Year (2019 Link)
  • 24 Verses on Humility from Bible Study Tools
  • If you have no idea where to start with devotions, getting a daily email or bookmarking your favorite site can be a great place to start. Here are some I have used to jumpstart my quiet times:
    • Bookmark and also subscribe, of course!
    • Experiencing God Day by Day (Blackaby Ministries) has a daily devotional on their website or a flip calendar you can purchase. You just bookmark the page and scroll halfway down to see them for free.
    • In the actual Bible app, you can sign up for Devotional Plans! This is one I am working through called Sacred Holidays: New Year’s.  

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Living Out the Truth

Ideas to try:

  • Setting aside at-home happy hours with your spouse after everyone is settled for the night is fun!  My grandma gave me this idea when it was hard for me to find a babysitter or even time to schedule date night.  You just get some special snacks and drinks and make your kitchen table like a late night date bar spot…meet together at a special time (dressing up for the date is optional) and enjoy a little time just you two.
  • Use humor to diffuse an argument! I read this somewhere a few years ago when my husband and I were stressed to the max and he was struggling big time with anger.  When I started to see him flare up, I would literally tickle him or try to make a joke. It really does help lighten the mood but took practice for me.
  • Play Christian music or just happy upbeat music in your home instead of letting the TV run. I literally just changed the TV from “Loud House” reruns after I typed that line! We have DirectTV, so our music channels start in the 800s, but we also have an Echo Dot where we can ask Alexa to play music, an old school radio in the kitchen, and I know a lot of people hook up Spotify, Pandora, or Apple music through their TV/whole home sound systems.
  • What would YOU add?

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{These suggestions are ideas from novice moms. Sometimes our life situations need more. In that case, seeking out professional help is the right call.}


About Michelle Warner

The truth about me is that I love spending time with people–whether it be with moms in MOPS, students in writing camps, friends in my supper club, or family on our patio. And if you combine people and words, I am definitely in my happy place. One of my most favorite moments is sitting around a table with the people I love sharing deep conversations about life. Inviting people into our home and pulling out my fancy dishes invigorates me, though tackling the hand-wash pile in my sink does quite the opposite. (Sorry, Hubby. I’ll get to those soon!) I’m learning to enjoy the people in my life without feeling the need to prove myself or always make them happy. God continues to teach me that when I find what I need in Him rather than the perfectly-cooked chicken or the perfectly-timed word, I have a security that can’t be shaken. And that’s a good thing since my hard-working husband and I have two very determined little girls who keep us on our toes!