What will you do with the next 365 days?
We are approaching one of my favorite days on the calendar; New Years Day. Along with football, food and family, there is something about the new year that brings hope and opportunity in unusual proportion. I have even learned to chart the Jewish calendar so that I can get a double dose of “newness.” However, New Years can also be a frustrating time for many. We sense a great unpreparedness don’t we? Our level of fear rises wondering if we will be able to finally keep our resolutions. When we are unprepared, new years can feel horribly hopeless and redundant.
We would do well to remember that Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom was called the Good “News.” In most cases news mandates newness. It says something is different today than it was yesterday. It goes with the territory of news. Good news takes this idea to a brand new level. Jesus was bringing a newness that was good. Something is good today the wasn’t as good yesterday. He said I bring you “good news.” The gospel invites us to start again and again…and again if necessary. It’s not about second chances, it’s about new beginnings. The ancient scriptures agree by stating; “Though a righteous man falls, seven times he gets back up.” Maybe it’s time to get back up and move forward into a newness. Allow me to lead you through five powerful questions that can help you be intentional with the next 365 days.
1. What are the non-negotiables? This is simply a question of values. What in your life do you want more of and what do you want less of in 2013? This helps you decide what you will fall on your sword for throughout the year. It’s hard to make decisions when values are not in place. Pastor Tony Harrison, my good friend and colleague of many years says: “When values are clear, decisions are easy.” Know your non-negotiables. I want more faithfulness, oneness, learning, integrity, amor (spanish for love), recreation and truth in my life. That’s my values acronym. It’s what I want more of in 2013. What do you want more of? What are your non-negotiables?
2. What do you have the faith to see? This speaks of your ability to see what God sees for the next 365 days. Look through God’s lenses and lean into the promises of the Bible. He’s good and strong enough to blow your mind. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not YET see. Open your eyes and let God show you new places, people and paths in 2013. What do you see?
3. Who do you have the faith to forgive? This question may be a little out-of-place as it has to do with what happened in 2012 or even earlier. However, unforgiveness always follows you into your future. As others have said, “unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” WOW. It takes faith to forgive and it takes someone faithful before you can have faith. If Jesus is faithful, you can trust him enough to forgive those who have hurt you. Take the risk, it will be worth it. You already know who it is. Go for it! You won’t regret it.
4. When will you take action? This is a question of discipline and action and it usually has to do with our time, or lack thereof. At least that’s the largest excuse we provide when we evaluate the prior year. We say, “I never had the time.” The truth is that all of us have the exact same amount of time. The question is when will you take action? When will you build into your calendar the important and stop living under the tyranny of the urgent. I have found a magnificent resource in Michael Hyatt’s blog post called How To Create More Margin In Your LIfe. I recommend that you read it and also utilize his free tool called: My Ideal Week. It’s worth the effort. Be specific with the actions you take daily.
5. What’s your why? Every one of us have a deeper reason for living. A purpose that keeps us moving forward when we don’t feel like it. Sometimes our “Why’s” are subconscious. I’m asking you to make your why by design not by default. Remember this; The clearer your why, the stronger your what. When you figure that out, everything else will fall in place. So what is it?
The year 2013 is going to be full of great potential and opportunity. How will you prepare for the coming year? Most people are so weighed down by the failures of their previous year that they can’t find a foothold to move into the new year. Let me tell you that Jesus has paid your price and is not counting your sins against you. When it comes to needing the gift of a fresh beginning, the Cross is the gift that keeps on giving. Ask him to cleanse you from all unrighteousness and MOVE FORWARD! In 365 days what will you have done?
Merry Christmas and Happy NEW Year.