Looks like it’s already time for what has become my annual year-end blog post 🙂
…where I look back on time and ask myself where the year has gone.
Indeed, where did 2016 go??
Seems like just a few weeks ago when I was writing up the list of all my ‘hopes and dreams’ for the year…and now its time to write up another one 😉
While many of the things I put down did come true, a lot of the year remained rather unscripted.
My year was very busy…and occasionally punctuated by some amazing ‘high’s,’ some low ‘lows’ and an interesting or mundane in-between. The stuff of normal life, I guess.
In the ‘high’s I was reminded that God was there, and in the ‘low’s’ I was reminded that God was still there. He truly went above and beyond in reminding me that in all things, and in every season – I am never alone.
2016 was definitely a year of Growth.
I made some bold decisions and took some big steps of faith along the way. In some, I landed on both feet, in others I fell flat on my face, but nonetheless I’m glad because I owned every one of those steps. I was true to myself and walked away from those experiences better and wiser than before.
I believe 2017 will be much the same. Especially if you’ve realized, like I did, that you don’t just stumble into being the person God purposed for you to become, and having the life you’ve always dreamed of. It takes many things, among them Faith and planning. But it also takes bold decisions and deliberate efforts to walk those plans out into fruition.
Maybe you feel like you didn’t achieve much in 2016, and at the start of 2017 you’re wondering if you should even write anything down or have any goals, or hopes and dreams.
To that I would say 2 things:
- Success shouldn’t only be quantified in terms of dollars and cents, and the acquisition of external/material objects . Did I get a new car? Was I promoted? Is my building project underway? While those things are very good, some of the biggest and most enduring ‘successes’ are the ones that happen inside of us, and are not necessarily tangible or seen on the outside by others. We need to focus on ‘achieving big’ in those areas as well. Maybe its learning to control your tongue, overcoming anger, forgiving someone, getting over a bad experience or a bad habit, becoming a better friend, growing spirituality etc. All of these are highly important and must also be given equal priority. Our character development requires just as much attention as our ‘external lives’ do, if not more. For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul? #Food for thought.
- Secondly, you should have some goals and dreams (and write them down) because God’s intention when putting you on this planet wasn’t that you just merely exist, but that you live a full life, and thrive while at it. There is a difference between the two. Plants and animals exist, but as people, in us is the ability to be so much more. Yesterday’s circumstances may not have gone our way, but with each day, we have the opportunity to start afresh. To choose a different path and to try something else. We can always believe God for a new beginning, not only on the first of January. But whenever we need one. As long as breath remains, there is always hope. Hope for your life, and hope for your dreams.
That said, If you’re done with where you are now and are ready for that fresh start, I’ve found these five steps to be helpful, and recommend them to you :
- Go back to the beginning and start dreaming again. Rekindle the vision/image of how you want your life to look. What have you always wanted to do? What do you really want in life? Not what your family and friends want for you, but in your heart of hearts, what you really want. It maybe the kind of work you’ve always dreamed of doing, or the kind of relationship you’ve always wanted to have or an item you’ve always wanted to buy. Going back to the drawing board helps us see the discrepancy between where we are and where we’ve always wanted to be. And only then can we begin to make the right changes towards our intended destination
- Figure out what is holding you back. Once you’ve identified that gap, try to pin point the exact reasons why you are not walking in line with what you truly want. Is it a lack of money or other resources stopping you from venturing out? Is it pride or the fear of getting hurt? Could it be that the desire to always be in control is getting in the way….or maybe it’s the fear of failure? For some, it could be the fear of what people will think of you, or of your decision…(especially if you have an ‘image’ you are trying to maintain.) The reasons may be numerous, but whatever they are, be very honest with yourself and come to terms with the ‘Why’s’ of where you are right now.
Accept responsibility and stop blaming others
Granted, there are circumstances that we occasionally come up against which are beyond our control…but for the ones that are, do take responsibility for them. Aside from God, it is your life and the buck ultimately stops with you. It’s easy to blame others especially in the fallen world in which we live, (and we may even be justified in doing so), but we can’t forever let the mistakes/wrong decisions/inactions of others be an excuse for us not living the life we desire. I came across this quote and thought it to be so true, “Taking responsibility for being exactly where you are gives you the power to be exactly where you want to be.” — Unknown
- Change your attitude about the situation/your life
This is probably the toughest thing to do in this list, but it is cardinal. Ever heard the saying, ‘Your attitude determines your altitude?’ Well, its true. And it’s also true that it is hard to suddenly switch from casting yourself as a victim all year, to actually taking responsibility for your life and your situation. But the reality is that a bad attitude can never produce good results. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Determine in your heart to see your situation from God’s perspective and think the right thoughts. See what He sees, and agree with Him. Have faith that He can and will act on your behalf when you trust Him. And trust Him; expecting to see the positive results of your seeds of faith.
- Take action and make the changes. And last but not the least, take action. Its one thing to have all the introspection and figure out what went wrong, but then take no steps thereafter to make things right and move in the right direction. Having faith requires that you do something, and begin to act in congruence with your beliefs. That may mean working on your CV and sending out some job applications. It may mean buying and reading a book on business, and how to run one of your own. It may mean clearing the land and planting some seeds for the next harvest. It may also mean asking someone out on a date, or accepting an invitation to go on one. Whatever it means in your particular situation…do something. However small. And in time, you will find that the sum total of all those small steps of faith is what actually transforms your life to be the wonder that you dream it could be. In 2017, and beyond. 🙂
I am actually excited about the New year 🙂
Excited about all the promise it holds, and the things that I hope to have seen and achieved by next December. I am also excited about the person I will become….and my prayer is that this person is more and more Christ-like in character.
And that is my exact prayer for you too. Yes, I want you to go on and achieve ‘bigger and better’ things in life this year. But I’m also praying that you will weigh your ‘achievements’ with the right scale. That your character and who you become will matter to you more than before. That, because this is a journey – in the moments when you go off track, you’ll remember that you can always return home and have a fresh start. And that God is able to make all grace abound towards you in, and for, whatever you’re believing for this year. He is a good God, and He loves you!
I do too 🙂
*Would love to hear from you on what your year has been like and what your hopes are for 2016. Leave a comment or inbox me when you can.
Have a blessed 2017!