How To Have The Best Year Of Your Life

I’m not great with beginnings. I mean, to be clear: I’m even worse with endings, and I’m actually pretty fantastic with middles, but beginnings have just never really been my thing. Growing up, I dreaded the first day of school. I took no pleasure in shopping for school supplies or being fitted for new shoes or getting my traditional back-to-school haircut. It’s not that I didn’t like school. In fact, I loved it. But still, coming out of summer vacation, my mind was always consumed with the same troubling thoughts: Will my friends be in my class? Is fourth grade going to be as good as third grade? Will we have a class pet? Will it be a lizard? If it’s a lizard, will it be the kind of lizard that bites?

Beginnings are hard. They are often heavy with the weight of our anxieties and our expectations.That is what makes this time of year so interesting. The New Year is all about beginnings. We tend to see this season as a fresh start, a sort of baptism into a better life. We clean out our closets, buy dumbbells, create lists, and make bold declarations about how different things will be. On one hand, the New Year seems to be a time of rejuvenation and change. But as we know all too well, it can quickly become a time of unrest. With so much uncertainty about the future, it’s easy to start asking those frightening questions that accompany new beginnings: 

Will it really be different this time? Am I actually ready to make these changes? What if I fail? How can I truly make sure that 2015 is better than 2014? 

It’s tempting to place a lot of stock in what the year will bring, but it can also be dangerous. While we can (and should) plan to create positive habits in our lives, the simple truth is this: 2015 will not be the perfect year. It will have moments of disappointment, heartache, and pain. Perhaps it already has. Life is full of unforeseen calamity, poor judgment, and broken promises. We are not strangers to this truth.

Knowing this, however, maybe it’s time to start looking at our year through a different lens. Instead of racking our brains for how to take control of our year, perhaps we should be asking ourselves a different question.

What does God want from me this year? 

In Proverbs, we are told, “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” In short: we are free to set goals for the year ahead, but ultimately God’s desires are what carry true significance.

And what exactly is it that God desires?

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3-5

God desires us -- our trust, our joy, our hearts. He seeks to meet with us in our brokenness and fulfill our desires.

An interesting thing happens, though, when we align our will with God’s: our desires change. Instead of our own glory, we desire the glory of the one who saves us. Instead of our own riches, we desire to share our wealth with the people He loves. Instead of fulfillment in fruitless things, we desire a relationship with a God who loves us to the ends of the very earth He created.

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If you are craving a new start, take joy in knowing that God has already given it to you. Through His son, Jesus, you have been given redemption, a new beginning that far surpasses anything you could create for yourself.

So let’s plan on making this a great year. Let’s set goals and have hopes for the days ahead. But in all of that, may we also remember that we have a God who walks beside us when our plans fall apart – and by the way, they will fall apart – and who meets us in our brokenness to give us new life. Every year. Every day. Every minute.

Amen.

Submitted by Christy O'Shoney, Midtown Parish Member

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