Self-Improvement from my Disabled, Christian Perspective

Hi, friends. I have read at least 25 posts about New Year’s resolutions this year, and I feel inspired by your words. Of course, I should expect no less from the community of lovely, intelligent, honest people here.

In various ways, many of you made a poignant point–we should reassess how we think of New Year’s resolutions.

What Is Self-Improvement?

For most people, New Year’s resolutions revolve around self-improvement (or “bucket list” goals). The average list of resolutions might read:

  • Cut down on sugar
  • Eat more veggies
  • Start using my gym membership (lol)
  • Save up for a certain trip
  • Try a new hobby
  • Do more of (insert productive task like reading or cooking)

These are good goals. But in contemplating the idea of self-improvement, the question arises–how does one actually define self-improvement? Are there ways of improving the self that delve deeper or reach farther than “living my best life?”

Disabled Self-Improvement

Being disabled makes the concept of self-improvement interesting.

On the one hand, I’m thrown into a situation where I can fight or lie down in defeat. In practical terms, I can exercise frequently (despite how hard it is) and maintain muscle strength despite my deteriorating coordination, or I can decide to do nothing while using my condition as the justification, atrophying into an immobile sack of potatoes. My choice to fight requires a lot of self-discipline, which is the incentive needed for most resolutions. I already have that trait because of my long-term response to the cards I was dealt in life. [Obligatory side note that I do not always apply that trait to every area I should, haha.]

On the other hand, I must grapple with the fact that my condition will progress with time. Year after year, people look to make the next one bigger and better, while I know things will only get tougher year after year, despite the fact that I’m just 25 years old.

I’m in a weird spot–not needing one of the most common resolutions (Start Exercising) yet knowing self-improvement only goes so far for me. But here is where my faith plays into the picture and gives me a fresh perspective on the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions.

Christian Self-Improvement

Christian self-improvement is almost an oxymoron. Self-improvement is all about control, but discipleship in Christ means relinquishing control to walk in Jesus’s footsteps and trust God.

This year, I want to make resolutions that improve the self in a Christian sense with habits and activities that draw me closer to God or serve humanity, His beloved creations. In the Christian sense of self-improvement, my disability is irrelevant.

The trait of self-discipline I referenced earlier has also helped me form the habit of reading scripture consistently (though the magnetic force of the Word drawing me back again and again can’t be overestimated). Once again, a popular resolution–Read the Bible–doesn’t apply to me. I must push myself in other ways to seek the will and heart of God.

Here are a few of my 2019 resolutions so far:

  • Pray before getting out of bed in the morning
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about my faith with non-Christians
  • Donate $100 or more to a charity at least once
  • Speak to strangers more often
  • See the needs of people around me
  • Swallow sarcastic or hateful comments
  • Start compiling a resource page on my second NT re-read, perhaps listing predominant themes, connections between different books, note-worthy verses, etc.

Thanks for reading! Do you have some resolutions that you’d like to share or suggestions for my list? Let me know in the comments.

80 comments

  1. Your resolutions are very selfless, and I respect and admire that. On new year’s eve I did a brainstorm of what I’d like to focus on in 2019. My main thing is my new book, but also cutting down on the amount of Coke I drink (!), reducing my mental health medication a little, and a few other things. I want to be more generous in the time I give to other people, and I’ve been praying that God helps me to work on my character so I can be more patient with others.

    I hope you will keep up your blog in 2019, I love your posts and you’re such an inspiration. God bless! ❤️

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Those are some great resolutions! I definitely understand praying for patience, haha. Just keep in mind that they say if you pray for patience, God gives you more opportunities to exercise patience, haha.

      I love reading your posts, too, and am glad to have blogging friends like you! God bless you. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. God is certainly giving me opportunities to exercise patience at the moment, so you could be right about that 😂

        Thanks so much, I’m very grateful to be blogging buddies with you! Take care and God bless you too 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. We must be thinking along similar lines this year, although for very different reasons. I don’t make resolutions but do try to assess how God sees our relationship. He has been showing me things such as a need to love Him deeper so as to love others as He does; to continue on the path of learning to pray(which will follow loving others and God as I should), and seeing the blessing that comes with good and bad times. I hope to serve you better through prayers and maybe a bit of encouragement through what I write. God bless you as you continue to seek Him. May this year bring you nearer to Him than ever before. I know He is your strength. It is seen in your writing. Your perseverance is an encouraging testimony to me from our God. Thank you.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It is always helpful to self reflect on our relationship with God and how we live for Him. I hope you also grow in your spiritual walk this year and look forward to reading your posts in 2019! May God be the one we all draw strength from in 2019. ♥

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You are still very pretty! Your smile brightens the room. And your new “adult” haircut is so becoming. I am constantly amazed at your writing. I made no resolutions for 2019 or 2018 or 2017. Just be the best me I can be and as your great,great grandmother (Lillie) always said ” if you see someone without a smile,give them one of yours.”*

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Wow! What an inspiring post. I love your goals; very genuine and selfless indeed. I love how specific you are in listing them. I may actually write some of them down in my journal to help me specify mine. Thank you for sharing. This is a beautiful post.

    I have pretty good self discipline too but like you, sometimes it is not in the area it should be. Being goal oriented and writing them out specifically helps me (sounds like the same for you) just for some reason, I have yet to write mine out for this year – specifically. {oops}

    I can’t imagine the posititivity and strong mindset that you have to have each day with your disability. You are very inspiring. Thank you again for sharing!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lindsay! (Apologies if it’s Lindsey–I understand the struggle of people spelling your name wrong)

      It is helpful to jot them down specifically to get a more concrete feel on how I want to grow this year. I didn’t plan to make resolutions at all until I read people’s posts about rethinking resolutions! I realized that resolutions could be about more than self-improvement and be about growth and serving others.

      I have my moments of resentment and self-pity, but overall, my attitude is positive. God has blessed me with a family, a church family, this blogging community, and a fighting spirit. Thanks again for dropping by. I find your posts inspiring as well–I can only imagine how motherhood is its own struggle, but you view life with kind eyes. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Just seeing this, sorry. It is Lindsay – either way, good memory! You are so right, it is more than self-improvement. ❤ We all are so blessed. Keep up the positivity and spread it around like glitter as you love and serve throughout your year! I plan to attempt doing the same 🙂
        Thank you for the sweet words as well. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, some of my resolutions (to add/share) for last year and this are to be more intentional/present. Pray more intently (for my marriage and children esp.). Let my words be valuable to others and to myself. And gratefulness. ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  6. You inspire and amaze me! If I try to imitate some of your good habits and your aspirations, please be flattered. Also, side note: what’s with this self-deprecating comment about ” I used to look so pretty” ??? Girl, you are flat-out gorgeous without make-up !!!! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Nodding my head. Yes yes and yes!! I totally got you. I have disabilities myself ( although mine are manageable) but I’d rather set self improvement goals instead of cliched resolutions. I was literally nodding my head as you were talking self improved for not only disabilities but spirtual self improvement. I want to move closer to God and have more faith in him. I want to read the bible more and go to church on Sundays. I want to use my experiences to help others. You really hit the nail on the head with this post. Freakin Amazing. I hope this is a great year for you. Reblogged!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We are kindred spirits, David! You touch so many hearts already, and I look forward to reading your posts this year. Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope we both grow spiritually and continue conquering our disabilities!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aww this comment made my whole morning. Maybe we are kindred spirits. Sometimes I don’t realize that my posts are affecting people in such way because I am simply writing how I feel. Yes I hope we both grow as writers, advocates and empathetic beings this year. You rock!!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Your perspective is refreshing. Most Americans don’t know how little is holding them back from fitness goals and don’t consider that obstacles could be greater in regards to health resolutions.

    The main point is drawing near to Christ, as you said. I seek to try less and just be loved by God. God loves me and I simply try to accept this extravagant outpouring.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. So true, Sullivan! I understand that many are strapped on time, but many are lazy when you go to the root of it. I simply cannot afford to be lazy because I won’t be able to move around much if I am! That’s also a great point–sometimes, the problem is as simple as us not accepting the gifts of grace and peace that surpasses understanding and unconditional love that we are freely offered. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to accept that humans and me specifically are worthy to feel that joy and confidence.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Hello, my friend. I understand because my sister has a genetic disorder. She has a pancreatic bile duct that is twisted and did not present itself until 10 years ago. Just wanted to tell you that I will keep you in prayer.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Lily! Yes, yes, yes!! This is literally perfect!! This is the mindset that, I believe, all Christians should have. You have such a great perspective on this whole new-year-new-me-resolutions business. I was so encouraged by this! 😀

    I’m not really a “resolutions” person but more of a goal or checklist person. My goal for this year is to pray without ceasing. I want my relationship with God to be so deep and so personal that my heart and everything I do reflects it. I want to be in constant communication with Him where I am not the only one doing the talking. I want to pray every day, all day (or at least most of the day :D); consistently talking with my First Love.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Grace! Yes, I wish all Christians had a mindset geared for spiritual growth, rather than personal advancement! I love that your goal for this year is praying without ceasing. I want to do the same and feel a constant connection with the Holy Spirit so that the fruits of the Spirit pour out from me!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. First I want to tell you how proud I am of you my little sister. My autoimmune issues are different but I respect you so much for how you are approaching your condition. I feel blessed to follow your blog and read your posts.

    I relate with you on another level which is what is my resolution. I stopped making ones that seem pointless in eternity. I look to make changes that will help me grow more in Christ and help me reach others more effectively.

    Thank for your post my little sister in Jesus 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Hope 2019 will be a great year and you will achieve all your goals!
    Self-improvement concern both our physical and mental health…we must take care of our body and our soul as well, for me I always hated workout and in 2018 I was convinced that it should be a habit, a life style and so it was…But mental health is way much important and we should really take care of it and find the peace of mind we deserve…Being kind and loving and taking care of people needs is great as praying as well since I forgot how to pray and be close to God. Best of luck!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks for dropping by! That’s awesome that you started working out last year, and I hope you keep it up! You’re right that mental health is also important, and there’s no shame in needing help with mental illness. Love is the keyword in life.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Love this post. Plenty of things I want to do for the new year ! My new year resolution was going to be to stop drinking pop and coffee but it’s so hard considering I work at a daycare lol

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I think praying before getting out of bed is a good practice. My late friend, Mark, used to do this and he says it helped him calibrate his compass for the day ahead. Talking more to strangers is also a good one. We can make a big difference with a smile and a hello.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. If I’m at a gas station or somewhere and someone asks how I’m doing, I’ll say something like “today is a day the Lord has made. I’m rejoicing and being glad in it.” Just that opens doors to witnessing.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Great post! Is it too late to wish you A Happy New Year 😀

    What I’ve been doing and found so beneficial already this year is to focus upon who I am in Christ by thanking Him that I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, that He has chosen me to be holy … without blame before Him … to the praise of His glorious grace (Eph 1:3 ff). This has had a dramatic affect upon me so far!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Great goals to set Lily! My personal goals this year are to rediscover being in the peaceful, beautiful presence of God, and to not waste a second of this life I have been given. To really experience what Jesus defines as life in abundance! Wishing you every Blessing.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Your words are so enlightening. I’m a senior. Next month I’ll have orbited the sun 70 times. When you said, ” I’m thrown into a situation where I can fight or lie down in defeat.” I can really relate to that. My aging (and sometimes aching) body gives me a few challenges and being alone a lot does the same, but as you wisely say, it’s the Word that keeps us going.

    I often think of this verse when my body gets me down, 2Co 4:16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

    May the Lord bless and encourage you always. Stay as positive as you are, hon. The Lord truly adores you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Bill! Me neither! I am praying every morning before getting out of the bed and doing pretty well with swallowing hateful comments. I have probably donated over $100 to charitable causes over the months but still have not made a big donation all at once! I definitely need to write a post halfway through the year talking about how I’m doing with these, but I can hardly fathom the fact that we will be there in the blink of an eye.

      Liked by 2 people

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