Take a Deep Breath ... and Start Again

Fresh… New... Resolve... Different... Novel… Radical… Unique... Different... Unknown…Clean.

No matter what word you have used to describe exactly what you hope that 2017 will be like for you, you are now at the middle of the first month of the new calendar year where that infamous rubber has met that unyielding and predictable road.

Have your goals crashed and burned much like an out of control comet?

Are your New Year’s Resolutions smelly and moldy like the holiday food that sits untouched in your refrigerator?

What do you do when you made the wrong New Year’s Resolutions? What do you do when you simply don’t have the discipline to forge ahead with your impossible dream for the New Year?

Perhaps it is time for you to resolve again … to dream again … to take a deep breath and start over again in the middle of the month!

Let me confess to you that I have been guilty in the past of making the wrong resolutions with outrageous and crazy heart attitudes. I have mistakenly thought that I could lose 22 pounds in one month … or that I could complete a 5K with only 3 weeks of training … or that I would never get frustrated with my difficult person again.

I have fictionally supposed that I could read 15 books in 7 days … or that I was able to conquer a piano concerto without first spending time practicing a boring scale or two … or that I could snap my fingers and instantly create world peace on Facebook.

I will never play another game on my phone. Ever. As long as I live.

I will never eat another piece of desert. Ever. As long as I live.

I will get up every morning at 4:30 and read my Bible for an hour and then go for a 5-mile run. Every day. As long as I live.

Ha! So much for New Year’s Resolutions!

Perhaps my challenge lies not in my desire to be a different person but is found in the tug-of- war that takes place in my ability to dream the right dream.

I must begin to dream the possible dream. I must embrace the reasonable hope. I must set the doable goal.

I desperately long to start fresh in 2017 and, honestly, there are some issues that have dogged me year after year which I strongly desire to be done with this calendar year.

I don’t want to be ruled by what I put in my mouth at any given hour of the day. And so I am determined for once in my life to set a reasonable goal. Perhaps for you, you need to set the goal of only indulging in dessert once a week. For me, it is carbs. It is always carbs. I have never met a carb that I didn’t like.

My reasonable and attainable goal is to cut back on carbs. Rather than 3 pieces of toast … one piece of toast! Rather than an entire baked potato … half a baked potato will do.

I don’t want to waste hours on my phone … or on Facebook … or by surfing the Internet. I want to use my time in creative and valuable activities. I humbly desire to commit my days, my hours and my minutes to the Lord’s leadership.

My doable goal is to spend 15-20 minutes in the morning on social media and then 15-20 minutes in the evening on the Internet. It’s doable. It will certainly take discipline but I must change my out of control habits before I lose my hours … and my days … and my weeks … and my months … and an entire year in wasting my life.

New Year’s Resolutions take discipline … and discipline is NOT a dirty word.

Discipline often hurts … it is often uncomfortable … and it always is a challenge. But it is discipline that will cultivate the best in each one of us.

I need discipline! I desperately need it … and so do you!

I am thankful for the role that a new calendar year plays in helping me to corral the out of control me in order to cultivate the new and improved me. There will be days when I don’t “feel” like being the new and improved me … but discipline makes it possible.

And, I have found, that when my resolutions are of the doable sort, that I am also able to mix in an impossible prayer request or two for each New Year!

I am praying that this year that God will use me in His Kingdom as never before.

I am praying that my ordinary life will have the extraordinary power of making hell smaller and heaven bigger.

I am praying that God will use my words to bring comfort to discouraged people … to bring hope to lonely people … and to usher in the possibility of joy to depressed people.

I am praying that God will give me uncommon strength to live with gusto and to celebrate every day as the gift that it is!

I am praying for the wisdom of Solomon … for the revelation knowledge of Paul … for the courage of Esther … and for the faith of Peter!

And I am praying for you.

I am praying that this year, in 2017, that you, my friend, will live in your sweet spot in life. I am praying that your life will impact all of eternity because of your daily choices. I am praying that you will learn the delight of discipline and the power of dreaming God’s dreams for your life.

I am praying for you, my friend, that each day will be a day of joy simply because you splash in the miracle that He loves you!