This month, I’m challenging myself to a “make-over”. A make-over in the sense of breaking a few “bad habits”. I realized that there are some bad habits in my life that I really need to change if I’m going to be successful in certain areas. So often we complain, get angry, frustrated, and even depressed about our situations and circumstances. And yet, so often those same situations and circumstances are created by bad choices we’ve made, actions we took, things we said, behaviors we displayed, or bad habits that we refuse to get rid of.
From personal, social, financial, educational, mental, physical or spiritual bad habits – we all have them in one shape or form. Just to name a few:
- being late often
- never saving any money
- smoking or drinking to deal with stress
- eating fast food everyday
- not exercising
- not getting enough sleep
- not being able to set aside electronic devices
- not being able to detach from social media for a day
- being a perfectionist
- watching too much TV
- never taking a break from work
- using credit cards for everything
- not sticking to your budget
- not paying attention during conversations
- not returning what you borrow
- not paying people back
- not finishing projects
- worrying but never taking action
- using excessive foul language
- telling secrets
- always complaining
- being negative around others
- never listening to others’ advice
- giving up too easily
Happy New Year Everybody!
It’s 2019, and I’ve been asking myself what does that mean or look like for me? I personally love New Year’s, because for me it represents a new start, a fresh beginning. It’s also a time of reflection to look back at the ups and downs of the previous year. But most of all, it’s a time to reflect on the fact that God brought me through it all, and I’m still standing.
Statistically, it is said that 80% of the people who make “New Year’s resolutions” fail by February! Not only is that sad, but I believe it’s directly aligned with the society we live in today. Simply put, we are lazy, unmotivated, undetermined, distracted and confused people, who constantly procrastinate, have little to no goals, and a lack of clear vision for the future – and yes, this includes those of us that are Christians as well.
We too, so often fall into a trap of just “existing” on earth, when God has placed us here for a purpose. I’m not writing to convince or influence anyone to make a list of resolutions. I’m writing to motivate and encourage having a vision that is aligned with the Word of God. A vision of where we want to be or go; of what we want to become; of what we want to accomplish. After all, the bible dictates who God wants us to be as believers. Our entire Christian journey is supposed to be about getting there. The problem is that most of us don’t want to align ourselves with God’s plan for us, so we result to simply having no vision at all when it comes to our spiritual growth.
This lack of vision on the spiritual side, so often coincides with a lack of vision in all other aspects of our lives: physical, mental, social, educational, financial, relational, etc. Other believers may even find themselves at the other end of the spectrum, where their entire vision focuses on all the other aspects of life, while the spiritual side gets little to no attention. Either scenario is detrimental.
God has called us as believers to grow in our relationship with Him and to become more Christlike. How do we do that? Well, like all things spiritual, it all starts with spending more time in His Word. It always baffles me how Christians want and expect so much from God and yet we do so little to cultivate our relationship with Him. The more time we spend in His Word, the more His Word can convict and change our hearts, attitudes, words, thoughts, desires, actions, and our goals to align with Him. I promise, in fact I guarantee, that everything else in our lives will begin to fall into place from there.
Whether you want to work on having a better attitude, lose weight, save money for a new car, get your master’s degree, buy a home, learn a foreign language, travel overseas, get married, or start your own business – whatever the goal may be (short or long term) – aligning ourselves, our goals, our lives, our everything, with God and His plan for us, is the best way to ensure success! In fact when you align your vision with God’s Word, God begins to work in ALL aspects of your life, in ways you could have never imagined!
My family and friends can attest to what God did for me in 2018 – far beyond what I envisioned, prayed for and set out to do via my list of goals! And now, I’m all the more motivated to continue to seek His face through His Word even more in 2019, because I know for a fact, that it will indeed be an even better year for me!……..and yours can be too!
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It’s so important to realize that the moment you decide to accomplish something, especially if its for God, that the enemy will try to do everything he can to distract you, so that he can steer you off course. It’s even more important to realize that these distractions are not always blatant or obvious, but are often rather subtle. Distractions can come in the form of person, a thing, a place, a circumstance, thoughts, or temptations.
The moment you decide to go back to school, a good friend you haven’t hung out with in awhile suddenly becomes available to hang out several times a week, distracting you from your studies. Having gotten drunk 3-4 times a week for the past few months, you get your first semester grades which show you’re failing half of your classes.
The moment you decide to quit your job so you can start your own business, you get a job offer from a company offering you $10K more a year than what you were making, distracting you from the fact that your goal is to work for yourself and eventually earn six figures. Six months down the line, you’re making more money, but you’re physically burnt out, never see your kids, hate your job, and haven’t thought about your own business at all.
The moment you decide to write a book with the vision that God gave you, negative thoughts rush into your mind with every reason why you shouldn’t do it. Now its a year later, and you haven’t picked up a pen to write anything since then.
The moment you decide to relocate your family to another state for everyone’s benefit, a gorgeous new home becomes available in the next county over, distracting you from why God told you to relocate in the first place. Three years later, you’re behind in your mortgage, neighborhood violence has impacted your teenager who now sells drugs, and you just got a notice that your job will be laying you off in three weeks.
The moment you decide to get out of a bad relationship and spend time focusing on your independence and growing in God, a new guy/girl comes along that makes you think its love at first site. Three months down the line, you find out they are married and have been lying to you the entire time.
The moment you decide to focus on growing your blog community, every technical issue imaginable begins to arise, discouraging you immensely to the point that you give up. Nine months later, a friend shows you a free online marketing course that you finish in two days that solves all your technical issues.
You see distractions can end up costing us time, happiness, peace, joy, money, and success. After all, John 10:10 tells us that “the thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy”. The good news is that its never too late to get back on track and redirect our focus to our goals. Even after we let our distractions steer us off course, ruin relationships, set us back months or years with our goals, or costs us money, our jobs, or our peace – God is still there for us, to give us the strength we need to try again and move forward. As we move forward, let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let us not allow the devil to distract us. Remember, even the most subtle distraction could cost us! And its definitely not worth it.
“resolution” – a firm decision to do or not to do something
Happy New Year everyone! So its 2017 and that time of year again when many people make their “resolutions”. The gyms fill up with people who have resolved to work out and get back in shape. Churches fill up with people who have resolved to be more committed to going to church. Diet microwave meals fly off the grocery store shelves as people have resolved to eat healthier. Lists get posted to refrigerator doors, mirrors, walls, and even work cubicles as people name their top ten things that they are going to resolve to do or not do in the new year. And then…….well then comes February when all those “resolutions” (if they make it that far) go out the window.
I was just making my so-called list of resolutions for 2017 and realized that I hadn’t accomplished 80% of my 2016 resolutions. Not because I wasn’t focused, or that they weren’t important, or that I didn’t prioritize. However, it was honestly because I didn’t involve God in the process. My health, weight loss, need to get out of debt, need for a new car, desire to start saving for my son’s college expenses, plan to go on an overseas trip, etc., are all great and important goals to be focused on. However, setting goals or “resolutions” can become very monotonous, frustrating, tiring and even pointless if we try to accomplish them on our own apart from God.
I have therefore, resolved this year to do one thing: to delight myself in God and commit all my goals unto Him, while trusting that He will give me the desires of my heart in 2017. To delight oneself in the Lord means “to take great pleasure in” God. In other words, I want to take great pleasure in spending more time in His Word, prayer, and doing things that please Him, while committing my “resolutions” into His hands, trusting that He will begin to work in those areas of my life.
This does not absolve me from doing my part. Clearly if I want to be in better shape, I still need to work out, eat healthier, and take care of my body. What I’m realizing is that if I make God my number one priority/focus, and then commit all my other goals to Him, that He will give me the desires of my heart and will even strengthen me to work in areas where I fall short. We work soooo hard to get things we want/desire in this life, and working hard is not wrong in and of itself. However, sometimes we try to do all the work which makes it ten times harder for us, when all we need is to shift our focus to God. After all, the verses are plain – “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”; “commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this.” Even if it doesn’t all happen in 2017, it sure sounds like a guarantee to me – according to the Word of God!
Does this mean we will get every little thing we desire no matter what it is? Close but not quite lol! Keep in mind the prerequisite of the verse – “delight yourself in the Lord”. God did not make any mistakes in any of his promises. Think about it: if we truly begin to “delight” or “take great pleasure” in God and what pleases him, our heart’s desires will begin to align with God’s will and what He wants for us anyway. So yes, when one truly delights in the Lord, God will indeed give you the desires of your heart as they align with His will for your life.
So whether you’re making a list or not, as believers, lets “resolve” to delight in the Lord in 2017!