We should actually anticipate, when we first make our spiritual resolutions, we should anticipate that we’re going to have challenges and temptations, and that we’re going to fail at some point, but that we’ll grow in our commitment to get back on the horse, so to speak. Adele M Gill on Spiritual Resolutions
Adele M. Gill is a retired RN and a charter member of the American Board of Disability Analysts, pioneer of ‘The Mind-Body-Faith Phenomenon,’ and author of 3 books including her new book, ‘From Broken to Blest: Embracing the Healing that Awaits You.’
In this New Year episode, I talk to Chaplain Adele about fulfilling our spiritual resolutions with God’s help. She speaks about:
-Whether it’s normal to repeatedly fail
-How can we keep persisting?
-How to face obstacles and overcome discouragement?
For our listeners who’d prefer to read, here’s the transcript :
Adele: My name is Chaplain Adele Gill, and I am a lifelong Catholic. I’m a wife and mother. I’m a retired registered nurse living in Maryland, and I am the author of three books. The latest book is called, “From Broken to Blessed: Embracing the Healing that Awaits You”, and that’s available on Amazon.
Pamela: In ministry work like writing, as a nurse, you’ve been in ministry for a long time, right? And you’re probably familiar with making spiritual resolutions, are you?
Adele: Oh, my goodness, yes. One of my spiritual resolutions is to be sure and write even more articles for Catholic Online. I’m a contributing writer with them and yes, spiritual resolutions are very, very important for all of us.
Pamela: And how successful have you been you know, over all these years? Just give us a breakdown, 50/50, 60/40? I mean, how successful have you been with keeping them?
Adele: I would say 50/50.
Pamela: Okay, great. Okay, that’s a lot more than most of us, but yeah, okay. Have you fallen off the bandwagon then, in some cases?
Adele: Certainly, certainly have. You know, I look at spiritual resolutions through the eye of the first…the fruit of the Spirit. You know, very often, and you know, scripture is beautiful in telling us what those fruit are. I wanna grow in love and joy and peace and forbearance and kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those are the nine fruit of the Spirit, and I think whenever I make a resolution, a spiritual resolution, I base it on that criteria.
Pamela: Is it normal to fail in our spiritual resolutions, or is it abnormal that we fail so often, and we fail such a lot when it comes to making them?
Adele: I think that we should actually anticipate, when we first make our spiritual resolutions, we should anticipate that we’re going to have challenges and temptations, and that we’re going to fail at some point, but that we’ll grow in our commitment to get back on the horse, so to speak. To ask God for His help to get back on track.
Pamela: Some people who are worried…like, I’ve done this every single year. Like, I decided that I’m gonna go to Mass every Sunday or you know, I’m gonna pray X amount every day, it’s normal to me, like, to fall off that thing, right? And what are the [crosstalk 00:02:35] reasons why some of the times why people actually fail? I mean, there are some common reasons and then there are some things that are really difficult to do. So, why do people fail when it comes to their spiritual resolutions, not as much as weight loss, or, you know, other things that they commit to?
Adele: I think, frankly, sometimes you forget. You forget your goal. Yes, I think that part of it is, it’s when you’re tempted by something, whether it’s to be unkind, or to gossip, or you know, any number of things that you would try to resolve not to do, or to do. Sometimes you resolve that you’re going to join a ministry, or you’re gonna help other people more, or be kinder or gentler. It’s in our humanness. We forget, and we need to remind ourselves, we need to…sometimes you need to write yourself a little note and put it in your office to remember, or on the refrigerator. And you know, I know that weight loss is a very common one. That’s actually one of mine, but…resolutions, although, generally, it’s not a spiritual resolution, gluttony is something that would be a spiritual resolution to resolve.
Pamela: Yeah, you talk about all these…you know, “with God all things are possible.” That was one of your posts that I read online, you know, so how would you say, how should people partner with God when it comes to their spiritual resolutions, and is everything possible with God when you make spiritual resolutions?
Adele: Absolutely, but you need to bring Him in. You need to invite Him in, through the power of the Holy Spirit. You need to…I believe that you need to commit your goal, your spiritual resolution goal, to God before you even start. In the very beginning, when you say to yourself or to your spouse or to a friend, “I want to do…”, whatever it is you want to do. Even before you talk to them, I think it’s best if you pray and ask God for His help, because that’s where your help is gonna come from, when it gets really tough.
Pamela: What exactly would…I know this is not part of what we agreed on, on our questions, but what exactly can people do? I mean, when you say commit before you think of, you know, X, Y and Z, how would you commit? I mean, is it a prayer, or is it a lamentation, or is it thinking about it?
Adele: I think it’s, you think about it and then you pray. You think about what would make you a better person? What would enhance your relationship with God? How will you serve Him better, I think is what the process is, that I use. And when you pray, you just ask Him, you lay it in His hands and you ask for His help. And then you have to trust and that’s the tough part. I don’t know about you, Pamela, but I give it to God, and then sometimes I take it back. And that, you know, sometimes we have to get out of God’s way, so He can do His finest work.
Pamela: Yeah, that’s true, that’s true. So, how can we keep going at it when the going gets really tough? You know, especially when we’re seeing that, suppose we’re battling with addiction, or battling problems with relationships and then we spiritually resolve to do something and then we fail. So how can we keep at it when there’s confusion and there are problems and there are obstacles?
Adele: There are several things, and the first thing that I have noted is that, as I said, before you start, you need to recognize that all things are possible with God. If you start out trying to help a relationship and you don’t believe that God can help you, you are not going to succeed. You’re just not. And the scripture that goes with that, that we’re talking about is Matthew 19:26 in the New International Version. “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.'” And I think that speaks to our humanness. We need to understand that we are fully human, and He is not. When Jesus was here, he was human but he was not. And we want to emulate Jesus, but we’re not him. We have our failings.
The second thing that I would suggest is that understand ahead of time that you will meet challenges in your spiritual resolve. They’re simply unwelcome obstacles along your journey. They’re just a part of life.
The third thing is that we need to remember that we all fall short of God, of God’s way. However, we serve a loving, forgiving God. You know, you can promise Him, saying, “I am going to treat so-and-so better. I am going to read the Bible every day, no matter what. I’m gonna pray to You every day, regardless of how busy I am.” But because of our humanness, we do fall short at times, and when we believe that He’s a loving God and a forgiving God, it helps us get back on track, just by asking Him to help us get back on track sometimes.
We also need…the fourth thing is we need to trust that God will help us, that He is present to us in a very personal way. We don’t serve a God who’s way out there in the galaxy. He’s right here with us, helping us every step of the way, and I have a scripture, two scriptures, that really speak to that. Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and shield. My heart trusts in Him and He helps me.” The other one is Psalm 37:5, “Commit your way to the Lord, and trust that He will act.” When you pray and trust in God, He will show up, over and over and over again.
Pamela: It sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Adele: It does. It sounds so simple. I think a lot of it, Pamela, is trust.
Pamela: Yeah, yeah. Which is why…
Adele: We do walk by faith, not by sight. I think sometimes if you tell someone who’s close to you, your husband, your closest friends, tell them what your spiritual resolution is. It helps keep you accountable.
Pamela: It does, yeah.
Adele: So, when they hear you gossip, or they hear you be unkind, or you’re not doing ministry, they’ll tell you.
Pamela: How is this different from discouragement? Like, when you have…of course, you have people holding you accountable but then what about discouragement, especially from other people and mostly from family?
Adele: Yes, yes, “You’re eating that sweet roll again?” You know, I think that when you invite people in and you’re accountable, you try…you don’t want to look badly in front of them. I hate to say that, but it is an extra safeguard for your preventing discouragement. But I keep going back to our humanness because we are fallen people, you know? You can have the best intentions and just not quite be able to do it. With God’s help, it’s not impossible, but on your own, when you stray from God and from His ways, you know, when you turn your back on the fruit of the Holy Spirit, that’s when discouragement can set in. And for some people that are prone to depression, it can become despair. And for them, I think the best thing is…like, if you have a friend who is moving into despair, beyond discouragement, you need to…we need to encourage each other always. We need to encourage each other in the way that we’re going and encourage each other… You know, when you have Christian friends, it’s not uncommon for them to say, “I’ll pray for you.” And you can believe that they will. So, there’s faith in numbers, and it’s very helpful to have people praying for you as you’re embarking on your journey.
Pamela: And I’d like to add to that, because I think it’s important to be surrounded by community when you have spiritual resolutions because other people might not understand the value of the meaning of a Christian resolution or a spiritual resolution. I mean, they might understand a physical and maybe wealth or financial, but not spiritual. I mean, they won’t even encourage you in that respect. So, I agree with you, when you have Christian friends, it makes a big difference to your resolutions.
Adele: It really does. It really does. And it’s…part of the beauty of being a Christian is that you do this for each other. You do this for each other and there is such…I did a radio show once on prayer. There is so much power in prayer. So much power in prayer. I have seen things happen. I know you don’t know me, but I have some medical issues and my hands had contractures in them. For six years I could hardly use my hands. Well, I started making rosaries and prayer shawls and if you saw my hands today, you would say, “What happened?” The doctors don’t know what to think about it. My hands are normal.
Pamela: Wow, praise God.
Adele: It is praise God. I have had more miracles than anybody I know but that’s just one example. But I had so many people praying for me, so many people.
Pamela: What other examples did you share with the radio show about the power of prayer?
Adele: We talked about how I used to lead a prayer network, and we would use the telephone. When people needed prayer, we would call each other and pray. We had a man that came who came to our attention who had a brain tumor. And there were about 20 of us, maybe 30 that were praying for him. When he went back for them to map out how they were gonna do his surgery, the brain tumor was gone.
Pamela: Oh, that is amazing.
Adele: That’s amazing, and the Lord does this over and over and over again. I think the belief in the person that prays and the person that’s being prayed for is so important, so important. But we…the power of prayer, I think that it is something that is really underestimated. You know, how often Pamela, how often have we said, all of us, “There’s nothing that we can do.”?
Adele: But we can pray. We can pray. And it doesn’t need to be eloquent speech. It can be as simple as, “Heaven help me.”
Pamela: Do you have any final words to say to anybody who’s making or starting on the first day of their spiritual resolutions?
Adele: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. I think that, first of all, we need to be proactive, as I said. We need to be sure and pray and invite God in before we embark on our journey. To keep our eyes on our goals, our spiritual resolutions, we need to have Him involved. He can’t be an afterthought. He needs to be the first thought. We also need to hand control over to Him. He is a loving God. He can handle anything that we bring Him. Anything. His strength is beyond anything we know. And there’s a scripture, Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” And I think that really says it. We’re strong because we put God first. The last thing is, Romans 8:28, “God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” When you believe in God, you also believe that He works all things for good. And it’s very comforting on your journey.
Pamela: Can you tell everybody a little bit about your book as well, so that, you know, they know…
Adele: Certainly. Certainly. The name of my book, our book, is “From Broken to Blessed: Embracing the Healing that Awaits You.” It’s my own story, my life story, so it’s a memoir. It’s an inspirational self-help book. It has a healing workshop in the back, and it’s about my journey going from broken to blessed. It’s available on Amazon.com, and it’s been out since September.
Pamela: So, if there’s one lesson that you could give people that you could share from your book, what would it be?
Adele: It would be that God has healing for all of us. He has healing for all of us. It might be as small as an attitude adjustment, how you look at your circumstance. But it could be as great as having a full healing. I am on a respirator 14 hours a day, and I walk with a walker and have a neuro-muscular condition. The Lord has healed me so many times with remissions over and over. I’ve had this condition for 35 years. But I have a really full life.
Pamela: You’re definitely a living testament.
Adele: But it’s just God. It’s all about Him.
Pamela: Where can people find you online via social media?
Adele: Yes, I have a website…actually, they can find me on Facebook under Adele M. Gill. They can find me on Goodreads or Amazon and, also, I have a website and that would be www. silverliningcommunications.net. And I have a blog called the inspirationcafeblog.net.
If you like our podcast then please share it with your friends or with those who you think might find it useful.
Happy New Year everyone!