Happy New Year, friends!
I hope you had an amazing Christmas with the ones you love and are kicking off 2014 with gusto, energy, and positivity!
If you’re feeling especially motivated, check out one of my previous posts on Goal Setting using The Balanced 7. There are also some great posts specific to what you may be trying to focus on, such as Financial or Physical. We’ll dive deeper into those topics in the weeks to come, but because we are officially into the New Year, I wanted to pause to discuss what Jesus says about starting fresh.
Revelation 21:5– “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
Isaiah 42:19– “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
I don’t know about you, but this gives me a great deal of peace. It also brings to focus two important points.
- New Year’s Resolutions can be SO much more when given to Him
- When all else fails, when The Balanced 7 seems impossible, there is only ONE area of Balance that we need to focus on: Spiritual
Resolutions are often abandoned by the end of February. (Just walk into any gym after being there for all of January!) And if the goals are not completely abandoned, it is seemingly more difficult to stay motivated. Will-power fades, life’s distractions take a front seat, and old habits rear their ugly heads.
So, what is it that helps resolutions and personal changes really stick? What makes them permanent? Well, I talk about the tangible things one can do in the post on GOALS. But real, true, life-changing transformation can only occur when you turn it over to God. He can help you get healthy. He can guide your finances. He can help you forgive. He can breathe life into your marriage. He can comfort you when faced with a cancer diagnosis. He can pull you out of the pit when guilt overcomes you. Aren’t these the real changes we want to see in our life? Don’t we want to resolve to become better people? More loving? People who live with freedom and peace? It doesn’t just happen. It is found in the arms of our Savior.
Philippians 4:13– “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
Next, we must be brutally honest with ourselves. Sometimes, life gets out of hand. Balancing all 7 areas of life is laughable. We can be hit with unemployment, death, sickness, betrayal, depression, loneliness. How do we choose which area of balance to focus on? Well my friends, let me tell you- it’s the Spiritual.
If you can’t get to the gym or prepare a healthy meal. If you can’t take time out for yourself, let alone your friends or family. If you can’t even summon the strength to focus at work, turn your face toward God.
Can I be honest with you? It is times like these when I wonder if I truly have faith. When life is smooth sailing, I can spout off Bible passages, prayers, and words of encouragement like a boss. I can see the bright side, the flip side of the coin, the positive outlook. But when MY OWN life is completely upside down, it’s incredibly difficult. I doubt. I get angry. I feel lost.
Faith is defined as “…the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1
Can you comprehend what this REALLY means? It means staying hopeful and positive in the midst of heartache and turmoil. It means surrender. Letting go of control. OUCH. The control freak in me just winced a little (ok, a LOT). Saying this, reading it and nodding- that’s one thing. Believing it and LIVING it is quite another.
During times when I am faced with this challenge, I try to ask myself, “What is the alternative?” What if I choose NOT to have faith? Not to have hope? What if I decide to stay angry, hurt, depressed or hopeless? I could do that. I could live in a world of negativity, feeling as though I’m entitled to. I could decide to run or hide from my problems, but what good would that do? What kind of life is that to live?
Each day, each hour, each minute we are faced with a choice. To whom do we turn? Ourselves? The Enemy? Or the One Who Makes All Things New?
I don’t always make the right choices. But I can tell you one thing. When I look to God, when I read His Word, when I listen to His voice, THAT is when true peace and joy washes over me. When you’re weighing your options, read these words from our Rescuer:
Ephesians 6:12– “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Isaiah 40:31– “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Psalm 91: 1-16– (I was just going to link to these verses, but I didn’t want to risk you not reading them. Read. Every. Single. Verse.)
“1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Every day, every moment presents the opportunity to start anew. Whether you are focusing on becoming a better balanced individual or just getting through the day, Jesus is there for you. And so am I. Throw those prayer requests at me. I just might throw some back.