I am so excited about the New Year! Every New Year is exciting, but this year, 2014, seems especially exciting to me. This past year I stepped out in faith to answer God’s call to open a treatment center for individuals who suffer from mental illness. I left the security of my work in church ministry to pursue my call and I have put all of my trust in God to lead me and guide me to the place where He wants me to be. I have truly walked in faith. And you know what? It’s been AMAZING!!
In addition to God opening unbelievable doors for the dream of a faith based treatment center to become a reality, God has also begun to restore my family, He has provided treatment for Cody, our son who suffers from Bi-Polar Disorder, and He has provided for me financially. Certainly there have been moments of frustration, uncertainty, and fear, but God has been faithful to take my hand when I have reached for Him and I know that He is leading me to victory!
Throughout this process (which is still only beginning) I have applied some simple but important practices that have helped me stay the course. I have put these practices into action and the results have been phenomenal. And so, I thought I would share them with you!
Think of the mountains we can move, the dreams we can achieve, and the goals we can accomplish, if we are prayerful and intentional about the way we live our lives. These practices go beyond New Year’s Resolutions and I firmly believe that by applying these principles to your life you will see amazing results in 2014! Here are Ten Practices That Will Make 2014 The Best Year Ever:
Put your faith in God. In everything you do, you must seek God. God created you, He loves you, and He knows what is best for you. Seek God and put all of your faith in Him.
Choose a Word. I learned this from a friend of mine and it works. Choose a word that will define your year and keep you focused on your goals. For example, last year my word was “Bold”. Everything I did, I did with Bold faith, and by using that word, I was able to overcome my fears. I chose to be Bold and when I got scared, I remembered my word. I became Bold!
This year my word is “Believe”. I am going to believe with my heart and soul that God will continue to open doors, continue to move mountains, and continue to make the impossible, possible. I will Believe!
Set Goals…But Put a Date On Them. This may be the single most important lesson I have learned and I learned it from New York Times Best Selling Author, Michael Hyatt. This is so simple, but it is brilliant! Anyone can write down three goals, but by just writing them down, there is no deadline or motivation to achieve them. Instead of just writing your goals on a piece of paper, write them on your calendar. Give them dates. Put a deadline on them. For example, “I will have three interviews lined up by March 10th”, or “I will approach three art studios with my artwork by April 5th”. Whatever the goal is, put a deadline on it. Once you have achieved those goals, give yourself three more…and use deadlines! It works!
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone! God has big plans for your life so live into His dreams for you! What is that thing that you really want to do but you don’t feel qualified to do it, or you don’t think you have time, or maybe you are just being complacent, or you are just plain scared. Let me tell you, there is only one way to live into what God is calling you to do and that is to Go For It! Maybe you want to volunteer somewhere but you just don’t feel like you have the time or you are afraid they won’t like you. Go Sign Up to Volunteer! Do it! Maybe you really want to change jobs, but you have been with your company for so long you can’t imagine leaving. Get your resume’ together and go find that new job! Pray about everything, but get out of your comfort zone! The most exciting things happen when we step out of our comfort zones! Go! Live into God’s dream for your life!.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others! This is HUGE! You know you do it so STOP it NOW! Do Not Compare Yourself to Other People! Don’t! Every single person is on their own journey. Their experiences are different than yours and that does not make them better or worse than you. The only One you need to please is God. The sooner you can let go of comparing yourself to others, the happier and freer you will be. I recently heard someone say, “Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter ten.” This is BRILLIANT. So often we want to be on step ten when we are only on step one! Be the best that you can be right where you are now and keep moving forward in faith. But DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! Be happy with who you are and where you are. Be Confident.
Choose Faith Over Fear. So often we cut ourselves off from living into our full potential because we are afraid. You know what we are afraid of? Failure. We are terrified of failing. Well let me tell you, the greatest failure is not trying at all. If you don’t try, it’s an automatic fail. If you try and fail, so what? You tried! And chances are you will have learned a lot along the way and maybe even learned enough to try again! So this year choose faith!
Let Go of the Past. This has been a big one for our family this year. Our past has been riddled with hurt and anger but in the past year we have let the hurt go, we have turned the hurt over to God and we have begun to move forward toward healing and restoration. Whatever it is in your past that is keeping you from moving forward in faith, Let. It. Go. “God says, ‘Forget about what happened before and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. Don’t you see it?'” Isaiah 43:18-19 Start looking for the new thing that God is doing and let go of the things that are holding you back. Give the past to God and hold on as He moves your life forward to something fabulous; something new!
Forgive. Tied in to letting go of the past, is forgiving past hurts. When we refuse to forgive, we are only hurting ourselves. Remember that Christ forgave us. He took on all of our sin and He forgave. In turn, we are called to forgive and it is in forgiveness that we find true healing and true peace. As hard as it may be, forgive.
Be Generous with Time and Money. God loves a cheerful giver and it truly is so much more rewarding to give than it is to receive. Start giving! Who can you be of help to today? Where can you make a difference in someone else’s life? Find a place to volunteer. Increase your giving at church. Donate to a worthwhile cause. We find our greatest worth and our greatest joy when we move beyond ourselves and care for others. Who can you care for today? Give generously.
Pray. I started this list with seeking God and I am ending the list with prayer. In all things and in all circumstances, PRAY. We must earnestly seek God and listen for God in prayer. Pray in the morning, pray in the afternoon, pray in the evening, whenever you can make time, PRAY. It is only through prayer and the study of God’s Word that we can hear His voice and discern His will. If you have never really prayed, start now. Find five or ten minutes and just pray. Talk to God like He’s your best friend, because you know what? He is your best friend. And if you are well seasoned at praying, pray more! Wherever you are at, make prayer a priority. Prayer works and God answers prayer! In every circumstance and in every situation, pray! You’ll be amazed at the difference prayer makes!
I can only imagine the power we will all have by putting these practices into place! Let’s make 2014 a year of greatness! God is calling us to great things so live into His dreams for your life. Move beyond your fears and enter into the brand new year with faith! Let’s Do This!
Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!