Start Again, but THIS time ...

To be honest, I stopped making New Year's resolutions years ago. My hashtag now is #NewYearResolutionsNOT.

But that doesn't mean I don't take time to stop and reflect, observe and correct—and pursue a fresh start in so many areas of my life.

I like goals... not resolutions.

But that doesn't mean I can't approach those goals with resolution! And that doesn't mean I can't take those goals to the Lord every day and admit my total dependence on Him.

It's taken me many years to even begin realizing: Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing! (John 15:5)

I have no doubt many things would change if I would remember that every single day.

It's not so much about making huge changes in my life as it is listening to the Lord, learning from my mistakes and tweaking my choices to better serve God, others, and even my own legitimate needs.

For example:

1. This year, I'm starting my Bible reading plan again; but this time I'm forgetting about all the "shoulds" and focusing on delighting in and pleasing the Lord as I read. It's too easy for me to get caught up in perfectionism and make my reading a matter of performance and "checking it off my list.

So what is my reading plan for 2018? Keep moving forward on what I started last year. Be faithful.

2. This year, I'm noticing what hindered my health choices in 2017; but this time I'm challenging myself to slay those dragons, or at least locked them up and give the Lord the key.

For me, it's all about daily surrender so the Lord can conquer my gluttony addiction.

3. This year, I'm finally writing a book. I thought about this for years, but this time I'm actually setting in motion a plan of action for bite-sized productivity. 

The truth is, I've been a great starter for years. And a lousy finisher. So this time, to help me facilitate my goals, last week I started reading Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff.

That one choice was amazing, eye-opening and motivating.
So ... my New Year's advice for my friends?
If you don't do anything else in the New Year, get Finish and read it. Don't quit the book until you finish it (HA!). And put what you read into action!
I think that will help you with whatever else you decide to do in 2018.

If we don't stop, be still and consider 
what hindered us last year, 
and ponder what needs to change, 
we'll likely repeat last year's poor choices.

I don't want that. You probably don't either.

Finishing should not be a foreign topic for Christians.
  • Paul urges us to "press on toward the goal" for our reward (Philippians 3:14).
  • He also says, don't grow weary of doing good so you can reap at the right time (Galatians 6:9).
  • We must count the cost for pursuing our goal (Luke 14:28-30).
  • And throw off hindrances and sins that hold us back from the "finish line" (Hebrews 12:1).
  • The good news is, we can trust the Lord to complete His work in us, one day at a time (Philippians 1:6).
  • But we're not to become lazy. We need to put forth our very best effort—cooperating with the Lord and striving to please Him! (Colossians 3:23)
It's almost 2018. And it's never too early to say, "Finish well!"

What will you do differently THIS time?

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