Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, Make One Great Lifetime Commitment

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              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography


     How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City


Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, Make One Great Lifetime Commitment

Last week I read a newspaper editorial about New Year’s resolutions. The writer’s basic point was that most people make New Year’s resolutions which they don’t keep. The reason they don’t keep them is that they are not realistic. The reason they are not realistic is that they require some kind of change in their lives and most of us don’t really like change. The end result is that for a few days or even weeks we might try keeping our resolutions, but we find that this takes time and effort away from other activities (or inactivity) we are used to and would rather continue. So it comes to an end. Maybe we’ll try again next year.

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, the writer says we should make New Year’s commitments. These commitments might very well be the same as our resolutions, but we are more likely to fulfill them because a commitment is something that is important, worthwhile, and even essential. My reaction to this was that it sounded like we would be trying to fool ourselves with terminology. Commitment instead of resolution. Would anything really be different? I don’t think so.

Maybe there is another reason that so many people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions or commitments (or whatever you want to call them). Maybe it has to do with who they are directing their resolutions or commitments to.  Usually it is to themselves or some friend or family member.  The problem is that you can’t rely on that approach as a motivating force.

The truth is that I don’t remember ever making New Year’s resolutions. However, at some point in my life I began to make a number of commitments throughout the year. I still do that. These commitments are ultimately based on one great lifetime commitment, which I renew every year. I direct this one great commitment not to myself or any other human being. My commitment is directed to God, because my personal experience and that of others I know or have heard about, has been that if I have faith in in God (which I do), then God will assure that I fulfill that one great commitment.

This one great lifetime commitment, renewed year after year, is that I will spend whatever time is necessary discerning God’s will for me as I go through the year – every year. The first step in the discernment process is to ask what God wants me to be doing with my life. Or what God wants to do with my life. The second step is to wait for God’s answer(s), which might be given to me almost immediately or any time in the near or distant future. The third step is to say “yes” to God, and make a commitment to do whatever God wants me to be and to do. I make these commitments, believing that God will give me all the grace (whatever I need) to do my part in fulfilling them. The fifth step is to proceed with God in working toward their fulfillment.

Based on my experience with God in the past and present, I have found that if I have discerned God’s will correctly, these God-given commitments will become my God-given hopes for the future. The future  can be the next day, week, month, year, or some undetermined period of time. Because these are God-given hopes, I believe  that God will assure that they are fulfilled, in God’s way and God’s time. If I didn’t correctly discern God’s will for me, I know that God will find the right way and the right time to set me straight.

As I move into the new year, I have renewed my one great commitment. I am in the process of discerning God’s will for me (a just turned age 75 retired pastor). I don’t believe I have heard everything that God plans to say to me for this year, but  I do believe I have correctly discerned that it is God’s will that I focus on my writing career, which includes this Ray of Hope Ministries website and other outlets, as a way of sharing some of my hopes that God has already fulfilled, some which are in the process of being fulfilled, and still others which are yet to be fulfilled, in God’s way and God’s time. If you have experienced some hopes which have been fulfilled, that  you would like to share with our readers, my friend and partner in Ray of Hope Ministries, Patty Perez,  invite you to send  us your story to consider for publication.

Grace and peace, Ray


Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.

Patty Perez and Ray Gough

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