For me, 2013 ended on such a horrible note. I was in a very dark mental space. On New Years Day, I decided that I wanted 2014 to be different. My mindset needed to change drastically. Last year was a roller coaster. It seemed as though it was two years bunch up into one. So many trips, events, lots of excitement, laughter, and some tears. But most importantly I feel like God really stretched me this year as far as changing my perception. I hope what I’ve learned can encourage you to leave your old mindset behind and move forward in what God has for you this year.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
1.God Will Do Anything to Get Your Attention
I started January 2014 with an admittance to a college and suddenly registration failing terribly. It was tough because I really wanted to go back to school and graduate. I would have to sit out another semester. God showed me in 2014 that He will do anything just to get your attention. If you do not learn the lessons He is trying to teach, you will be retested until you do. I understood that I had put a majority of my focus on my school and job instead of my relationship with God and relationships with people. My focus was on getting ahead but my personal life was moving backward. I wasn’t dealing with the issues and things that mattered the most. The stuff that I really needed to sort out. If God is trying to get your attention just surrender to his will. It makes learning the lesson a much easier process.
2. Forget What You Heard: Backstage Work Trumps Front Stage
You see a lot of celebrity pastors, authors writing clever books, people leading non-profits and you are stuck in a menial job with no rewards. You ask God for His will to be done in your life but only bad things seem to happen. But don’t be fooled. God is working on one of the most important seasons in your life. It’s called behind the scenes work. This process is required and is vital to your purpose and calling. It’s probably much more valuable than anything that you do in the front stage. Backstage work molds you into who God truly created you to be. We know that proper preparation is more key than presenting the finished product. The struggle and trials in the mundane parts of life make your dependence on God very loud and clear. He becomes the cornerstone of everything that you say and do. In these times is where He shows himself to be sovereign over every future decision. I’ve learned last year that even though things are difficult, they are not allowed in vain. Begin to see the beauty in the backstage area and see all that God can do in you.
3. You Can Learn Something From Any Situation if You Want To
Complaining and Worrying has never gotten anyone out of a situation in the right manner. In life, your perception is everything. The way you think defines your life and everything you do. When you can take any situation and analyze it for the better, none of it can hold you back. This year was hard in the sense that some relationships and opportunities fell off track but God really pushed me to change my perception about it. Nothing is deemed a waste of time if you learned something through it. If you are in an unfortunate situation, commit yourself to healing and reflection. These circumstances may take a week or four months but try to do your best to take care of yourself. I think we move forward in life too fast as soon as sad things happen to reach that next high instead of thoughtfully slowing down. We need to wisely practice solidarity with God and others in order to sometimes put the pieces of life back together. Only then is God able to use everything in your life for your good.
4. Did You Try Until You Said You Did All You Could?
I guess you can say this has been my “mantra” for 2014. God is in control of everything but that is no excuse to be lazy. Every time I had a disagreement with someone or was afraid of doing something, this thought would pop into my head. There are things that we simply have no control over the outcome. But could you truly walk away from a specific situation saying that you did all you could before giving the rest to God? It’s an important question to ponder on before you walk away from a relationship, an event or circumstance. Most of the time I asked myself this question there was still work to be done on my behalf. This led me to confront and act on exactly what I was fearful of. I am very introverted and shy so I usually have no willingness to try to do things that require much energy or less comfort. As soon as I thought of this question it made me accountable to what was still pending in my life. There is nothing more unattractive than someone who doesn’t finish what they started.
5. Somewhere, Someone is Praying for What You Have
My family makes fun of the fact that I always say “Well what about children in Africa?” when they complain. I acknowledge that some children in Africa are in better monetary conditions than myself but it is still the most impoverished continent on this planet. Your situation may suck but somewhere someone would rather be in your situation than theirs. Is your wife or your husband not attending to your specific needs? Well, at least, he/she’s committed to you. There’s so many people that are praying for the spouse that you have been blessed with. Have a crappy 9 to 5? There are people in undeveloped countries with 18-hour shifts and zero benefits. People including myself don’t like to be met with the reality that we are truly blessed in America. Despite our circumstances which are sometimes difficult, there are much dying every day over something as simple as starvation. The reminder that someone is praying for something you already have helps us not to lose focus on what really matters. Your portion which includes your problems is what we all should learn to appreciate in full.
6. There is A Right Way To Do New Years Resolutions
I always focused on just making resolutions on New Year’s Day and then pinned them to the next year when I couldn’t complete any of them. Such a waste of time and energy. Don’t believe the lie that goals can only be developed and achieved in the new year. Start your goal making in June if you have too. I have learned this year that goal achievement starts small and builds up until it is completed. Begin focusing on the basic priorities of your life and be very specific about your aspirations within these commitments. Write them down and post them somewhere visible. Break up your big goals into smaller tasks each month and you will have a better chance of completing your goals by the year end. Reflect on your performance at the beginning of every month and re-evaluate how you can do better. I always failed at goal achievement because I found the task planning part tiring. But planning your actions definitely motivates you to successfully accomplished what you have already made a reality. Goal achievement in 2014 for me was as simple as that. Success requires focus, planning and commitment. I have learned last year that planning is a key element in succeeding in anything you do. Also, above all pray over your goals and dreams. God will give you wisdom and strength to do what is impossible on your own.