Embracing the New Year

It’s January 1, 2011.  As I write this, I contemplate the significance of a new year.  I struggle to leave behind my regrets and to relish the victories of 2010.  As a result, mixed emotions battle to take first place in my aspirations for the future.  How about you?  What does the thought of a new year conjure up for you?  Perhaps you can identify with some of my own conclusions. 

  • A Fresh, New Beginning –   I like this one; it’s enticing to me.  I remember relishing the idea of an empty calendar that came with our 20+ moves.  After all, it was an opportunity to blaze new trails, choose my commitments more wisely, and handle my responsibilities more astutely. 
  • Fear and Trepidation –   The question is, have I learned from my mistakes in the past and taken advantage of my clean slate?  Perhaps, to a degree, but nothing like I wish I had.   If the definition of insanity is continuing to do things the same way and getting the same results year after year, then I truly belong in the loony bin.
  • Hope – As I consider the joys and victories of the past year, they far outweigh the disappointments and shortcomings.  I realize you may be looking back on a year filled with heartache and struggles.  I’m referring not to the extent of difficulties we face, but to the depth of God’s grace as He carries us through the tough times.  I once heard a speaker say, “The mark of a Christian is not how well he is doing, but how he is doing when he’s not doing well.”  And I’m reminded that my hope is built not on my circumstances or my abilities.  My hope is built on God’s faithfulness, regardless of my circumstances and inadequacies.
  • Motivation – The definition for motive is “something, as a reason or desire, acting as a spur to action.” What is your desire for the coming year?  Is it to lose thirty pounds?  Is it to make better use of your time and to accomplish something bigger than you with the gifts and talents God has give you?  Or perhaps it is to walk more closely to God on a moment-by-moment basis.  In case you haven’t guessed it, those are my desires.  But you can share them if you like.    

Whatever your desires are for the coming year, what is it that spurs you to action?  I spent the year 2007 writing a book.  That year, I proved to myself that lack of discipline was not my greatest challenge.  What I really needed was motivation.  Rightly motivated, we can do anything God wants us to do. 

I don’t know about you, but encouragement motivates me more than anything.  I’ve discovered when we give God first place in our life priorities, He will encourage us through circumstances, people, and His Word.   And then, as we walk by faith moment by moment and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our steps, we can be assured that God will grant us the desires of our hearts.  How do we know this?  If we put Him first and delight in Him, God will conform our desires to His will.  And then He will give those desires to us.  It’s a promise!   (See Psalm 37:4 and I John 5:14)

Will you join me in this pursuit for 2011? –Let’s agree to make it a priority to delight in the Lord, to weigh our desires according to His will, and then to take the steps to allow Him to work in and through us.  Friends, this is the stuff dreams are made of and more than likely, this is the way God fulfills them!

For 2011, I pray for you (and for myself) II Thessalonians 2:16-17.             

                                                           “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Have A Happy, Wholesome, and Productive 2011!

                                                                                                            

Note:  Remember to check out the Crumbs section where you’ll find various quotes and promises to claim for 2011.

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Comments
4 Responses to “Embracing the New Year”
  1. Sandy Aasen says:

    Liz: These thoughts are wonderful. In fact they fit so perfectly with what I was going to say today at a small group (First Place 4 Health) that I think I’ll print it out and bring it along for them to read. I have felt God leading me, motivating me, to start up the Stephen Ministry at our church but these precious ladies in First Place won’t have a leader if I change paths. Pray with me that one of them will be lead (motivated by God) to take over leading.
    Love you girlfriend!
    Sandy.

    • Thanks, Sandy. I’m so pleased to know you were blessed by it and have the opportunity to pass it on. I will pray for you. The Stephen Ministry sounds like a perfect fit for you. I will pray that God raises up a leader for the other group. Thanks again for connecting with me. Liz

  2. Mary Beth Welsh says:

    I am not so glad to not be with you as I was the last two weeks but it is a joy to have you back as part of my Thursday mornng devotional time. I love spending that time with you and I love you.

  3. harriett salley says:

    You hve made a good start!!! encouragement for all of us! Harriett

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