As our sons grew into teenagers, they each went through a cycle of lashing out at me, usually after a long day at school when they were hungry and tired. I quickly learned to have them take time in their room to cool down or take a short nap while I also cooled down and prepared a snack.

For them the time in their room was excruciating but the time away was just long enough to calm down. By the time I arrived with food in hand and an offer to ‘find solutions together’ we were usually more relaxed, ready for apologies and problem solving. The forced time out helping to refocus and redirect their actions towards being more productive and happier.

It is interesting to look at the top 10 most popular New Year’s Resolutions. They include: “Exercise more”, “Lose weight”, “Get organized”, “Learn a new skill or hobby”, “Live life to the fullest”, “Save more/spend less”, “Quit smoking”, “More time with family and friends”, “Travel more” and “Read more”. The list seems valuable and important but may not solve the underlying reasons for feeling we need resolutions in the first place.

The one resolution that is missing from the list, that will have a far greater impact than all your other resolutions combined is “Finding God” in what you are doing. If you are wondering why is this one so important, let me illustrate it first with a verse.

“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer...Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed…We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:1-9 (NLT)

My boys are not the only ones that have needed to take some time out in ‘their room’. Over the years I’ve noticed that most of us have a habit of making plans without involving God. Doing this usually leads to feeling cornered, unfulfilled or frustrated with life, veering off course from where God wants you to be. Eventually God pulls us aside to refocus, refresh and turn our actions towards His purposes…so why not start there first?

As you begin to tackle your resolutions, start by putting “finding God” first before you make your plans. Put this resolution at the top of your list and watch as He gives the right answers, determines your next steps, and makes your plans succeed!

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. “And … you will be my people, and I will be your God.” – Ezekiel 36:26-28