happy-2017Man of My Dreams and I rang in a (Quiet, Thank God. I was on call.) New Year on Sunday with friends who stopped by to say hello just before midnight. We aren’t much for big parties and crowds normally and with being on call and the memories of my getting-slammed-just-before-Christmas-call still fresh, we opted to not make plans. I made some snacky food for the two of us and we watched a movie.

A bit of an anti-climatic end for the roller-coaster year that was 2016!

I did post a New Years message on Facebook, but haven’t had a chance to sit down and collect my thoughts here for the New Year until now.

This morning I scrolled through Facebook and saw this post from my friend, Judith Robl. She re-posted from a page called Mikey’s Funnies. You can find Mikey’s page here: https://www.facebook.com/mikeysfunnies/?fref=ts

This is what it said:  My goal for 2017 is to accomplish the goals of 2016 which I should have done in 2015 because I made a promise in 2014 and planned in 2013.

Now, that’s funny.

Sort of.

If it weren’t so true.

Do you find yourself going in circles like I do?

Recently I found an old prayer journal and some of the things I was praying about-some years back–my writing, my weight, my finances, not wasting time–are the same things I am still praying about!

Oh, I’ve made progress. But am I “there” yet?

Unfortunately, no.

And if I kept looking back, I would be discouraged and even paralyzed into inactivity, thinking, “What’s the use?”

But this I know. I am not where I want to be. But I also am not where I was.

And isn’t that the faith walk?

We are BEING transformed.

For some people, they are immediately delivered from sin at the time they accept Christ.

The rest of us….aren’t.

Does that mean we aren’t saved?

No.

It means we are human.

And it also means that we are being transformed into the image of Christ. We are in process.

According to Scripture, we are to put off the old man (who doesn’t seem to want to be put off, by the way) and put on the new man who is Christ in us (which pinches a bit at first and doesn’t always seem to fit quite right) according to Ephesians 4:20-32.

Here’s how the Message says it: “And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”

But you notice, it says we make a clean break with the old….but it doesn’t say that we continually look back at where we were and try to do better. No, the Apostle Paul said, “forgetting what is behind…”

So here is where I am.

I know I fell short in 2016. My “word” for the year in 2016 was FEARLESS and I know there were times I was more fearful than fearless. But I ran two 5 K’s and actually got a 3rd place for my age group (I know, I know. It pays to be “more mature!”). I learned some new skills in my profession. I wrote more including blogging regularly. I started running outside where people I know could see me (which was a huge hurdle for me). And though it wasn’t everything I wanted, it is what it is.

And now the page has turned to 2017 and the LORD has given me the word, LOVE, for 2017.

I don’t know what that will look like but one thing I know is that I want to LOVE like Jesus does.love-like-jesus

One year has built upon the next–my word was discipline before it was fearless. And there are things I see in my life–fruit of those times of seeking the LORD as He has taught me–that have changed.

I thought about that when I ran two miles on the treadmill today. How in August of 2015 I honestly thought I would DIE doing the first day of Couch to 5K when I had to run one minute the first day! 60 seconds! And today, I ran for 30 minutes with no trouble.

So my encouragement to you is ‘Don’t look back.”

God calls us to remember His faithfulness. But He doesn’t expect us to remember and dwell on our failures, because HE doesn’t! He says our sins are as far as the East is from the West and He will remember them no more. And what is sin, but missing the mark of where we are supposed to be?

2017 is a new year. 365 days of newness. Whatever your failures were in 2016, put them behind you.

He has.

Start fresh.

Commit this year to Him and see what happens.

Even if it is the same old thing that you are concerned about—to lose 10 lbs or get in shape, to eat better, etc. you are starting from a different place and time and THAT makes it new.

The enemy of your soul will tell you you haven’t moved. That this year will be like last year and no matter how you try, it won’t be any different. dont-look-back

But God says, “Behold! I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

So this year, for me….I’m more disciplined (2015), I’m more fearless (2016) and in 2017, I’ll know more about LOVE.

God always surprises me. It might be learning more about how He loves me. Or it might be that I learn how to truly love Him. Or it might be about me learning to truly love people. Or all the above.

But whatever it is, it will be good, because God is good. And He knows best.

So for 2017, I’m moving onward and upward toward the high calling of God. I hope you will do the same!

Here is a video that my Pastor showed in church yesterday. It is so inspirational. If this all sounds too “Pollyanna” to be true, this shows the truth–that life is a balance–we ARE to give it our ALL. To run our race to win. We are not called to be mediocre. We are to be “in it to win it.”

And yet…LIFE.

Stuff happens and we fail and fall short.

But always, the Father comes alongside to get us to the finish.

So whatever your year brings…don’t worry. He’ll be there.

Happy 2017, my friends! Be blessed!