The New Year approaches! One of my favorite moments this Christmas came the day after. I sat for a few hours beside our Christmas tree. It was early morning. I found myself reflecting on the goodness of God in my life over this past year. I allowed those moments to surface in my memory- the times when He had protected me, given guidance to me, surprised me with His kindness or favor. How very, very good He has been!
Remembering His goodness in the past year
-How has God shown you His goodness this past year?
-When did you experience unusual kindness or grace?
-When did you sense His support, protection or presence in a unique way?
I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but I do appreciate the way it helps me keep in touch with people. That morning as I scrolled through my news feed, I was struck by how many smiling faces I saw…people wishing me a Merry Christmas…people who didn’t know about Jesus before our paths crossed. Now they were posting pictures and videos of Christmas gatherings, people dancing, preaching, celebrating the amazing story of the King of Kings born into this world. I saw pictures of spiritual grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My heart was warmed. Disciples were making disciples. His kingdom and His government had and were increasing. I had somehow played a part in that. What a blessing! What a gift!
-Who is celebrating Christmas this year who wouldn’t be, if it wasn’t for your witness?
-Who is passing on the gospel message to others because you were willing to live out the message before them?
As we reflect, painful feelings also surface. There are things we wished for but didn’t see accomplished. People we prayed for, who still seem so hard and closed. Times we hoped and fought for a miracle, but it didn’t happen like we expected. There might be memories of offense and disappointment you experienced. Heading into the New Year, RELEASE those things to God. Let go.
–What offense have you been carrying in your heart?
–Is there anyone you need to forgive?
–Are there any disappointments or losses you need to grieve then release to God?
One thing that helps me release the pain of the past is looking for my “takeaways.” There are lessons I’ve learned from the painful experiences of the past year. These can become building blocks for my future leadership and ministry. It is my choice if those painful memories will be burdens I drag with me into the New Year, or if I turn them into stepping-stones for something positive in my life.
I like stepping-stones better than burdens! How about you? 🙂
3. RENEW & SET GOALS. The New Year is a great time to both set and renew God-inspired goals. I am not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions. I definitely believe in practicing the habit of goal setting with God each year. Pause and listen at this time of year. Hear what God has on His heart and know what He is inviting you to do with Him in the New Year.
-What is God inviting you to do with Him this year?
-What Promise is He giving to you?
-Is there one thing He particularly wants you to focus on? Something that would make a significant difference in moving toward your God-given destiny?
-What promises from the past is He speaking again? What keys has He already given that He wants to show you how to use more effectively this year?
God has an incredible year planned! He invites us to join Him in establishing His Kingdom among the last, lost, least and lonely. There are some major miracles on His agenda. He is looking for those who will reach out in faith and take hold of His promises, for those who will dream with Him. It is going to be a year of expansion, a year of growth, a year of going deeper with God to see greater Kingdom fruit.
Take time today in the midst of the parties and activities to reflect, release and renew. Embrace the New Year and all God has ahead. It is going to be amazing!