The power of resolutions

Every new year I get asked the same question. Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? Up until 2012 I would’ve probably said no, but if you would ask me today I would tell you hell yeah I believe in them!

Many people laugh at my response and follow it up with saying, “You’re going to wake up in the morning facing the same problems you did yesterday.” Although this is true, there is something special about waking up to the first day, of the first month, of a new year. It’s like losing  your last life in your favorite arcade game, but you enter another quarter in the machine so you get a new set of lives. You’re still going to face the same level you lost on, but you get to start over. You have experience from your previous failures and you can create a new game plan to help you succeed in the future.

A common mistake that most people make with their resolutions is selling themselves short. People laughed at me when I made a resolution to lose 80 pounds, but here I am 5 years later writing this post 100 pounds lighter. I knew I was overweight and I didn’t decide to try and lose 10, 20, or 30 pounds. I decided to lose all of it.

If there’s one thing I hope you to take from this post it’s to dream big, take risks, and be relentless. My life was transformed 4 years ago and it started with a simple resolution. It started with a decision to say enough was enough and not being scared to fail along the way. It will be hard, you will fail at some point, but it will be extremely rewarding once you achieve your goal.

So if someone has the courage to be vulnerable with you and they decide to share their resolutions, don’t laugh at them or roll your eyes, because that could be the day they change their life for the better. That could be the day they decided to make the rest of their life, the best of their life! Your response can be remembered as support at the beginning of a new journey or it can serve as a source of motivation due to your lack of faith in one’s ability to achieve their dreams. It’s your choice.

So here’s to the new year, a fresh start, and to the remarkable things you will accomplish along the way!

Cheers,

Emilio

A Father’s Love

Being a resident advisor (RA) in the freshman dorms has been one of the most challenging leadership positions I’ve ever held. My successes and failures in this position have greatly contributed to my understanding of this simple, yet important saying my Dad has always told us. “I love you and Jesus loves you too.” Simple right? It’s so simple that I have overlooked the meaning for all 22 years of my life. Growing up I knew my Dad loved me and all the weekends of Sunday school my parents MADE me go to, I heard from plenty of teachers that Jesus loved me as well. I’m a little ashamed that it took me this long to grasp this concept, but as I finish up my senior year of college I finally understand.

At one point this semester I was completely drained. Some of my residents were doing the wrong things, I was struggling in my classes, my friends were distant, and my roommate was constantly doing everything I told him not to. The stress from all these situations gradually crept in. This sense of loneliness came over me and I began to believe I was in this mess by myself.

My Dad texted me earlier that day, but I forgot to text back so I decided to call him on my way to the gym. As I started explaining my situation over the phone, a mix of emotions came over me and once I reached the front doors I couldn’t hold back the tears that had been waiting to come out since my dad said, “ Hello?”  I cried in front of the gym for a solid 20 minutes. At that point, my Dad dropped everything he was doing and began to pray for me. When he finished praying he repeated the same saying he has told me my entire life. At that moment I finally realized why he exposed me to this idea of love each and every day we talked.

When we fail in life whether that be in school, in the workplace, or in our walks with Christ we sometimes forget that our Father loves us. We forget that God sent his son down to die for our sins and that the Father knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8). We forget that we are never alone and nothing can ever separate us from God (Romans 8: 38-39).

When I went home that night I immediately fell on my knees and screamed, “Abba, Father!” All the stress slowly left my body, because I knew He was in control. I was overwhelmed in this moment because we get to have such a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe that we can refer to Him as Daddy (Romans 8:15). I felt loved, worthy, capable, and most of all thankful.

Thankful for a father who dragged me to church when my faith was weary.

Thankful for a father who drives to Downtown Los Angeles every week to provide for our family.

Thankful for a father who created a simple saying, so I can experience the greatest love you can ever find on this earth.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is…

I love you, Dad. Jesus loves you too.

Your son,

Mili