Welcome to 2017. It seems its been a long time coming, based on the moaning of the collective online community. The last few days of 2016 seemed to be fraught with surprising celebrity deaths, bitter reflection on the year that most seem to want to forget, and an overall malaise and bemoaning of what we see in the rearview. Wherever you are in that, welcome to January 1st, 2017.
I want to share with you some random yet hopefully pointy thoughts as we begin a new year together. These aren’t in any particular order except the order in which I’m thinking them.
- You can’t forget until you forgive.
If you’re entering 2017 with some personal pain born of some relational conflict (and I know this is a really broad brush stroke), then you will not be able to move past it until you dole out the forgiveness necessary. Repeat after me: “I forgive him/her/them. I’m choosing to release the grip of anger I’ve been holding and in doing so I’m released from the grip of unforgiveness.” There. Now let’s move on…forgetfully.
2. Know who(‘s) you are.
I know. I know. We’re all our own. We’re independent. We’re self-reliant. Except we’re not. You’re not. You’re a decision maker, but you’re not you’re own. And once you know who God is, you’ll know who you are and when that happens you’ll know who’s you are. And dear friends, once you know who’s you are the things you’ve perhaps spent so long chasing after will become insignificant in light of simply knowing that you’re known, accepted, loved, forgiven, redeemed, and set free.
3. Set good goals, get good goals.
I like goals. Me sitting here typing is actually connected to one of my goals. But sometimes our goals stink. Let me rephrase that. Sometimes our goals aren’t good enough. Making a good goal includes equal parts reality, fantasy, practicality, and specificity. So as you set those goals, get a good grip on reality, dream (dare), write out tangible steps you can take in the next 24 hours and 7 days, and make it as nitty-gritty specific as you possibly can.
4. Red blood.
At the risk of sounding completely cliché, we need desperately–more than ever–to rip down every wall that tells us you and I are different; different in a way that divides. I’m not that old but it seems to me that we are such a dangerously divided people, even while being a hyper-connected people. 2016 has been instrumental in building some serious walls between political parties, genders, socioeconomic statuses, races, and a host of other labels we can slap on each other. But can we simply see other humans as fellow humans, loved by Jesus and worthy of Jesus-type love from one another? Can we live the truth that our red blood was purchased by His shed blood?
5. Faith. Not religion. Not spirituality. Faith.
People hear faith and think religion. Some people hear faith and say, “Oh, I’m a spiritual person. Next question.” But stop and think before you blow past this whole faith thing. As a human, you’re a being of faith. Atheists, agnostics, Satanists, skeptics, and right on down the list. You right now are exercising faith. The critical question to answer is “In who?” Some of you might rather answer “In what?” because “In who?” is too close to making some kind of “religious” connection. Okay, fine. Just answer the question. If you can’t, let me suggest Jesus. Not religion. Not rules. Not churchy activities. Jesus. And please don’t think “But I don’t want to be like one of those people.” Odds are, I don’t either and you might think I am one of those people. Let your 2017 start with, end with, and be all about Jesus.
I’d love to hear from you. Check my contact info and let me know what your plans are for 2017. Let me know if I can help you in any way.