Questions for the New Year

The topic of the season is resolutions.
We’ve all made them. And we’ve all broken them… on January 2nd. Whether you choose to exercise more, save some money, eat healthier, read more books, or even learn a craft, January brings a time of new beginnings for so many.
History lessons for you folks! 
Years ago, the Romans would make promises to their god, Janus, (think January) at the beginning of the year. The Babylonians would start their new year by repaying debts that they owed and returning borrowed goods. Medieval knights would reaffirm their vows right at the beginning of each year.
Resolutions are in our past and I am sure they are in many of our futures.
If I could list for you all the things I have promised to do on January 1st, you would laugh. I’ve lost thousands of pounds, at least it would have been so if I stuck it out. I would have about 4 college degrees. And let me tell you, I could knit a sweater like no other if I would have just stuck with it.
But the reality is, nothing ever stuck until I started to ask God what He desired for the coming year.
Now, I have no problems with resolutions. But when we don’t prayerfully consider the year we are completing and seek God on where He wants us to go, then everything is done in vain.
If the plan we follow is not His plan, then it will not succeed. 
I thought I would share some of the things that I consider as I step into a new year. Questions I ask myself, and God. Things I pray over and really meditate on before I make any decisions.

1. Where have I come from this year?

Well, if I was going to answer for this year, I would say it was a year of survival. More so, it was a year of finally understanding that God is not disappointed in us when we do something for ourselves. Not everything needs to be self-sacrificing. If I need to say “no” to protect my heart and mind, then that is OK.

 “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power , unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness;”

~Colossians 1:10-11

I learned this year that if I am to increase my knowledge in Him, then I must allow myself the time to get to know Him. Patience is necessary when God is doing a work in our hearts and lives. Sometimes, in order for a change to occur, some quiet must come. Fast paced crazy never got anyone anywhere, at least not anywhere worth going to.

2. Where am I going?

Ah, yes. This one is a little bit harder to answer because I just can’t see the future. And if 2014 and 2015 was not a lesson in curve balls being thrown, then I don’t know what was.
Only the One that holds tomorrow can answer this question. But I have found that when I have asked him every year, during my evaluation time, He’s always ready to answer. Of course He doesn’t give me specifics, but He is good at sticking a theme in my heart for the year that ends up being the roots I need to endure what is ahead.

3. What saps my energy? What makes me feel rejuvenated?

These are great questions to ask at the end of the year so that a purge can be done in our lives. Things that sap our energy are not necessarily the things that make us tired. Raising babies is tiring, but that doesn’t mean God wants us to quit doing it. Going to work Monday through Friday is exhausting, but the bills need to be paid.
So what do I mean by sapping your energy?
The best way to find the answer is to think of the things you tend to procrastinate on. Or the things you get cranky about before doing.
For me, I learned a long time ago that crafting, no matter how great of a woman I may feel when doing it, is not for me. Decorating beautiful Christmas tables or having holiday decor all over the house just stresses me out and I get no joy from it. I don’t even do Pinterest. And I am 100% OK with that.
But you know what really gets my blood pumping and excited? Sharing God’s Word. Talking to ladies about what God wants for them in their lives. Listening to stories and encouraging others. I just get such a surge when I walk away from a speaking engagement or Bible study knowing that God was there and He used me to be a help and a blessing.
4. Are there any unhealthy relationships  that I need to readjust or eliminate? 
This is a tricky one, but absolutely essential to the spiritual growth that I desire each year. I am the very last person to bring up unpleasantness in any relationship. I loathe conflict and avoid it at all cost. But this gets me into trouble when I find myself compromising my convictions, tastes, and sanity for the sake of a friend that is just not on the same page as I am. A full on amputation is not always necessary. Sometimes, it just takes an honest conversation to get things set straight. But other times it may take a temporary or even permanent break. Letting God lead here is crucial.
I just remind myself that “Iron sharpeneth Iron” and if this friend is not able to challenge me to be a better person, then they may not be the best person to be around all the time.

5. What verse will set the tone for the year?

I try to pick a verse or passage to memorize and meditate upon for the year. I’m not always successful on the memorization part. This is definitely an area I struggle with. But when I set my heart on mind on a theme from God’s Word that is the very area He is pushing me in, then I am strengthened and resolved to continue forward on the path of change that He has for me that year.
In 2014, the year Molly was diagnosed, can you believe I had 6 months to mediate and study on faith?! God had placed that in my heart and boy did the lessons I learn from Him really help when June 17th rolled around and we heard of Molly’s diagnosis.
One year, I had the theme of restoration. It was necessary for me to learn about restoring myself to God and restoring relationships that have gone wrong.
This year, well, I haven’t figured it all out yet. There are a billion little things swirling around in my brain, but God is continuing to narrow it down to a few choice things that He wants me to learn. I don’t HAVE to have them all set in stone by January 1. The point is that I come with a willing heart, mind, and soul. When that happens, then God can do the impossible. I know this because I have experienced it many a time. And I so look forward in seeing Him do it again in 2017.

So what about you? Are you ready for another year? Are you ready to examine 2016 and see where you need to go in 2017?
Just remember, God never disappoints when asked to supply, never gives anything but good, and always knows the future.

So I am raising my coffee cup in a toast to you. May 2017 bring life to your heart and soul. May you walk taller, smile brighter, and love harder as you slowly transform a little more into the beautiful person the Lord designed you to be.
Happy 2017!

Posted December 29, 2016

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