In just a couple days we will say goodbye to the old year and ring in the new. It's a time to reflect on the events of the past twelve months, good and bad, and look ahead to the possibilities of the days in front of us. Our family was mightily blessed in 2016. Not everything went as we planned or hoped, but God's goodness can be found woven throughout all 525,600 minutes of it. One of the biggest blessings I experienced was signing TWO book contracts! My novel, THE PLANTER'S DAUGHTER, will release in March 2017, so lots of exciting events are coming up. Stay tuned!
But like most of you, there are things I wish I'd done differently in 2016. Mistakes I made. Choices I wish I could go back and change. But what's done is done. We can't go back. Forward is the only option. And that is the beauty of a new year. We don't have to make those same mistakes in 2017! We don't have to make the same choices. A new year can mean new possibilities. New paths to take. A new you!
How do you go about this? Jesus gave us some pretty clear instructions in Luke 14:25-27:
"One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters---yes, even one's self!---can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple." (The Message Bible)
Did you notice those two all-important words stuck right in the middle of this passage?
In order to move forward, we have to LET GO of the past! Jesus seems to take this to the extreme, in our human opinion, when he tells us we must let go of all that is dear to our hearts in order to be his disciple. We even have to let go of the person who we think we are! It sounds harsh, but if we truly exam the relationships and other things that take priority in our lives, we might be surprised to find they really are a hindrance. To our personal growth. To our peace of mind. And yes, even to our relationship with Jesus Christ, which is of utmost importance. Have you ever said, "My husband (or wife or child or whatever) is my everything"? Well, what if they were taken from you? Does that mean you are left with nothing? Holding on tight doesn't necessarily mean you get to keep them anyway. It just means you've attempted to take control of something you really have no control over.
When we refuse to let go (which is not always a physical letting go), that's when we can be certain something or someone is keeping us from the abundantly blessed life Jesus has for us. This isn't to say you have to disown your loved ones, but when they take the place of God in your life, you have a real problem that needs to be addressed pronto! (Trust me, I know this from experience!)
As I look forward to 2017, I don't want past mistakes and past sins to drag along behind me, weighing me down like a ball and chain. I want to cut them off. Make a clean getaway. LET GO! Some questions we might ask ourselves as we head into the new year are:
- Have I neglected my relationship with Jesus? Why?
- Am I holding a grudge against someone?
- Have I wronged someone and not asked for forgiveness?
- Could I have made better choices in friendships?
- What can I do differently in this new year that would draw me closer to God?
I'm ready to greet 2017 with excitement for all God has planned for me! I don't have any grand expectations. I simply trust He knows best, and that's good enough for me!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This YEAR'S Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Russia, China, France, Ukraine, Germany, South Africa, Poland, Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom Sweden, Canada, Latvia, Nigeria, Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Czech Republic, Mexico, Georgia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Slovenia, Malaysia, India, Luxembourg, Portugal, Cote d'Ivoire, Pakistan, Singapore (and probably some I've neglected to list here).
THANK YOU to all the visitors from around the world who pop in and visit my blog! I appreciate each and every one of you! I hope you will make LIFE ALONG THE WAY a regular stop in 2017!