Last evening, Scott and I conducted our weekly, live Facebook chat. It was our first for the year and what a chat it was! Ironically, about an hour before the chat was scheduled to begin, I suddenly realized we had no internet service . . . yikes! Plus, I was not feeling great having just had chemo, (did I mention it was my last, though? Praise God!). For a little bit, I could have just cancelled it, but I was determined to forge ahead. I knew we had our IPhones! Having neuropathy in my fingers made it quite challenging, but I fared pretty well using text-to-talk :)
Our topic was about how new beginnings for the New Year can create new endings. A bit thought provoking, huh?
I began by asking paticipants to share one word to describe their lives in 2014. They shared words like hopeful, commitment, promising, faith, trust, Christ-like, God-directed and rich . . . rich in God, love, laughter, family and hope – I liked that one :) Well, I cheated and shared a hyphenated word, as a few others did too :) Mine is: new-beginnings.
One of the participants shared “new endings really test your Faith and Trust in the Lord - you have to BELIEVE!! Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut - and feel that you’re not strong enough to climb out of it - not powerful enough to write your new ending - but that is when you have to throw your hands up and Trust the Lord”. Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. In beginning a New Year, we really do have to have faith in the ending, don’t we? I can assure you last January 1, I had no idea what all 2013 would hold for me.
My husband, being a former athlete, shared a great analogy: “Sometimes in life, you have to call an audible. An audible is a football term that the quarterback calls, changing the play. We don't really start over; we just find a different route to get to where we want to go.” I liked that.
Going back to the one words I asked participants to use to describe their lives in 2014, how are we going to achieve those desires? Some of us may already have a plan. Some of us may not. Either way, in a few weeks or a few months, our plans may have to change in order to achieve our aspiration; but our desire does not.
To that end and after some great discussion, I challenged the participants to begin pondering their plan if they hadn’t already. We don’t want to forget our word in six weeks, six months! So, I asked them to write down their word, preferably on an index card (it’s a bit sturdier than paper), with a pen (not a pencil). Then, I asked them to put it somewhere where they’d have it with them most of the time or see often.
To expand on that, I’d also encourage them to list the specific activities required to ensure they attain their desires. And also, to share this with someone else, i.e. spouse, friend, etc. and check in with them weekly or maybe every two weeks to ensure you’re right on track! A good example might be:
I, Susan, will seek new beginnings this year. In order for me to complete this, I will first need to pray, be obedient, be open to new opportunities and be willing to accept God’s plan for my life. Plus, I plan to talk to Scott about this weekly, at least.
This particular family is working on small goals to keep them on track to reach their big goals. “We often fall short, but we recognize our point of failure and purpose to not fail that same way again, and we just keep trudging forward.”
Another participant shared “reaching our full potential is surely an on-going process taken day to day. All any of us can do is be true to ourselves and know that we are doing all we can do in a single day to ensure we reach our goal for that day. Having a strong faith gives us the right tool to do this.”
A few other comments included: “When you put God's will first, and very purposefully listen for His guidance and then follow His lead, you will have the most wonderful ending. Even though we often walk through valleys of many kinds, when the Lord leads your life, you know that you are only changing mountaintops” and Helen Keller’s quote “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”.
Plus a great piece of advice, “it is important that if you do slip up - do not give up - you can reach your goals”.
This was an excellent chat that I wanted to share with others. There was a lot of idscussion centered around hope and the choices we make. Someone even shared Lamentations 3:22-23 to tie in our discussion. I hope the participants took away at least one nugget. The one nugget I took away was we can begin right where we are . . . in this very second . . . on Jan. 2 making things better in our lives . . . how we end 2014 will be determined by how we start 2014.
As always, I welcome your comments!