“How to Have the Best Year of Your Life”
Can you believe that tomorrow is January 1st? As I grow older, it seems every year goes by faster than the previous. From recent conversations, I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way. I’m actually convinced that this is just one of the many things that we all have in common. Let me share another. Know how you will go to extreme measures to avoid the personal reflection and assessment that the New Year and it’s resolutions/goals force on you? Yeah, I feel that way too. It is not just uncomfortable for you…it is uncomfortable for everyone! I’ve yet to meet the person that confessed, “I am so much wiser, physically fit, and financially capable than I was last year…I basically kicked 2016’s butt!” More often, the confession is one of sadness and disappointment at not receiving hoped for results.
Timeout. This is the moment I must remind you of something. We naturally recall the circumstances and details of our bad days, but the good days take the act of remembering. It takes deliberate and conscious effort. It’s not accidental. This is why in 2016 I’ve tried to be more conscious of the good gifts and experiences God has brought my way by doing my best to write them down. This discipline has been a huge source of encouragement and is potentially a game-changer for you and your current situation.
Tomorrow I’m preaching on “How to Have the Greatest Year of Your Life”(would love for you to join us or watch online), but today while this idea is fresh on my mind, I want to give a few practical Next Steps to having the Best Year of Your Life.
#1 – Read The Bible Daily – I wrote a blog post about this in March of 2016 and it still has some helpful insight into successfully beginning and completing a Bible reading plan. But you may be wondering, why make such a big deal of reading the Bible? Good question! Glad you asked! Because it is simply impossible for a Christian to have a great year without listening to the voice of God. We gave our life (past, present, and future) to Jesus and all to him we owe and it is through His voice of Scripture that we GO! We do this by taking one step of obedience followed by another. And please hear me! We don’t read the Bible for mere knowledge like one does an encyclopedia or history book. We read the Bible to be transformed into the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
#2 – Use A Prayer Journal – I’ve never been a journal guy…it doesn’t come naturally but it is a discipline the Lord is teaching me. In 2016, God used a lady in our church and the encouragement she received by consciously writing and recalling God’s involvement in her life to show me that journaling was my Next Step.
God used journaling to remind me of a truth I needed to remember. God is not silent; nor is he absent. He is actively working in us, through us, and around us, and it is not His job to remind us…it’s our obligation to remember (Joshua 4).
I began using a 5 year Journal this year. I only have room for a few short sentences, but it’s exactly enough to share my prayer requests and what God is teaching me in my daily Bible study.
#3 – Start Budgeting – (Hey now…before you disregard this and go back to wasting time on Facebook, just know this point isn’t entirely what you may think it is.) I truly believe a financial budget would radically transform most people’s 2017. Managing finances “our way” is the source of a great deal of conflict and difficult situations. Maybe this is why Jesus spoke more concerning money than heaven and hell combined (as any loving father would who understood the influence and control money can possess over a person’s life). Money has the potential to do incredible things for the Kingdom of God, but it also has the potential to cause problems and destroy all sorts of relationships. This is why it is imperative that we handle God’s money God’s way…consciously budgeted with the glory of God in mind.
Can I tell you a secret about budgeting? It is uncomfortable. I believe the reflection and assessment that is required to budget is the same reason the majority of us don’t..self-awareness. It requires us to acknowledge things about ourselves and our circumstances that we would rather ignore. As much as we would like to avoid it or would like to not think about it, budgeting is exactly what we needed in 2016 and what will help make 2017 a great year. But remember, a financial budget is just one part of ensuring that we glorify God as faithful stewards of His gifts. We also need time and calorie budgets to manage the rest.
Discomfort…Closely connected is the #1 reason Christians don’t read their Bibles. It is uncomfortable to be shown the areas of our lives that are out of control not to mention the Next Steps necessary for restoration.
I sincerely hope that 2017 will be the greatest year of your life. However, you know it hinges not merely upon us “getting it right and better this year,” but upon a good and gracious Savior completing the work that He first began in us. I believe this leads us to pray and trust as though it solely depended upon God, and obey and discipline ourselves as if it solely depended upon us.
May God bless you and your desire to follow Jesus in 2017.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.(Philippians 1:6)
I pray this helps you grow in your love for Jesus, His Church, and His mission.