Lessons I’m Taking Into The New Year

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C.S.Lewis

This past year was one of the hardest years of my life. There was loss and sadness I feel ready to leave behind. But there’s also a few lessons I learned that I’m taking into the New Year.

Lessons

It began when our sweet dog, Jesse, died. A few months later we sold the home we raised our children in and left the town we had lived in for 25 years. Letting go of a city I had become very fond of, a place I was accustomed to calling home was not easy. My family and I then moved to a new suburb, which brought it’s own sorrow as I had to learn to adjust to new surroundings. A few short months after moving into our new house, I was hit hard when my husband and I got separated (by the grace of God we have reconciled now). The year ended with the loss of my precious dad, who left us on October 4, 2016.

Underlying all this grief is the constant battle I fight living with chronic pain and the symptoms of menopause.

For everything there is a season…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3)

Today as I reflect on a new year coming upon us, I ask myself what have I learned from these last two years. What has this season of sorrow taught me? Here are some lessons I want to carry with me as I start a new year.

1. Life is 10% your circumstances and 90% your attitude.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life…It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.” ~ Charles Swindoll

One of the biggest lessons I learned last year was the importance of tracking my thoughts. As I began to do so, I became more aware of my attitude and the powerful impact it has on my serenity. Once I started putting on my “God goggles” and seeing my situation out of His perspective, I found peace. I had to learn to let go of control and trust in God’s sovereignty (click here to read my blog post “Living Victoriously When Life Is Difficult”).

Redirecting my negative thoughts helped me have a godly perspective.

Lessons

2. May you always see the glass as half full.

I am not a positive person by nature. I never have been. My first thoughts towards any given situation are usually filled with fear and worry. I immediately think of the absolute worse case scenario in any given situation. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but being negative is my first reaction to almost everything.

I have to consciously choose to be optimistic. This is an area of my life that I have worked very hard on changing. I have to work on being a positive person daily. On some days I have to work on it moment by moment.

Focusing on all the good in my life, the blessings from God has helped me get through some very hard days (click here to read my blog “Lord Help Me Fight The Struggle Of Negative Thinking). Having gone through a dark season of life, where it felt like I was stripped of that which was dear to me, forced me to be grateful for what I do have.

One natural outflow of living with gratitude is a more content heart.

Lessons

3. Live in the moment.

Because I worry so much, I tend to live in the future more than in the present. In this season of sorrow and loss I have discovered that when I live in the here and now I am far more content. I am then free to enjoy the people God has placed in my life. We live in such a hectic times that even our thoughts are busy.

I’m learning to not take my loved ones for granted. None of us are guaranteed even the next moment. I want to appreciate those God has placed in my pathway with love and respect, every day.

I have learned to quietly remind myself of a quote that I read once. It simply says, “This moment will never come again. Enjoy it.

4. Have daily goals and live every day with intention.

During my 10 month separation from my husband, there were some days that I honestly felt like I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. I would wake up heavy hearted. But because I’ve developed a habit of waking up and thanking Jesus (out loud) and reciting a verse (also out loud), I was given supernatural strength. Speaking life first thing in the morning made all the difference.

Making daily rituals like this can be very helpful.

Begin writing down daily goals and living intentionally.

Lessons

When you are intentional you add value to everything you do, and give your life purpose.

5. Don’t hold on to offenses.

Humans will disappoint and hurt you. It’s easy to hold on to grudges. It takes a lot more courage to be understanding of others, and to extend grace whenever you need to. This is no easy thing, I know. Even as I write this, there is someone in my life that I need to forgive.

This new year, I want to make the conscious decision to start living in freedom by throwing off the burden of unforgiveness.

It’s not easy, and it takes deliberate effort. But when I don’t let my emotions control me, I have seen myself set free.LessonsAs I think of the new year upon me, I want to work on what God has already (through my circumstances) began teaching me; Having His perspective and attitude towards everything that comes my way, trusting Him through the good times and the bad. Being grateful and praising Him through it all. Enjoying what I have been given, and making daily goals for myself, including extending grace to someone, are some of the lessons that I have learned through my dessert period of life.

As you begin a new year, maybe you want to borrow some of these lessons I’m learning. Or maybe you have some lessons of your own. May we have the wisdom and courage to leave behind in 2016 what ought to be left behind and to carry with us into 2017 what the Lord wants us to remember. Most importantly, may you allow the Lord to speak to your heart about what lessons He is trying to teach you so that you can become all that He created you to be. 

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” ~ Philippians 1:6

Comments

  1. Thanks for your transparency and your commitment to writing. I am going to focus on number 4 as the new year begins. I love you!

  2. As I read your blog, I am amazed at what an honest and open woman you are. God has blessed you and you embrace those blessings. Your writing is so powerful because it comes straight from your heart, where Jesus lives! I love your words “may you allow the Lord to speak to your heart about what lessons He is trying to teach you so that you can become all that He created you to be.” This is something I am going to work on in 2017. Thank you for continuing to share one of the many gifts you’ve received from The Lord; your writing. Love you!

  3. Thank you dear sister for all the inspiration and for sharing key ways to start off 2017. I am reminded that God continues to work on each one of us and we should continue to reach out to Him through prayers and faith.

    God Bless you !
    Love you.

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