January is almost over . . . and oh how I love January!
Earlier this month as I took all the Christmas decorations down and reset my house, my soul was filled with peace and joy. On New Year’s Day, my husband agreed to round up our four kids and work steady for 4 hours until every decoration inside and out of our house was boxed and stored in our attic. I was thrilled to have a team of helpers with this normally one-mom-job.
As I pressed into the new year, the rain began to fall here in Southern California. I know some of you around the country are sadden when a new year starts and all the festivities of last year are just memories in photos. It’s back to regular life, work and schedules. Researchers say suicide and depression spikes during this time of year, but I say, “Let’s embrace new beginnings!”
The beginning of the year holds all the possibilities of what God has in store for us. The first month brings the promise of newness and freshness and lastly, this cold winter month new beginnings to the last year’s endings.
A new year – oh how I love you! Let me count three ways!
A time for setting goals – I’m a goal driven kind of gal. I love to set New Year’s resolutions. Resetting my mind and focusing on the things God wants me to target in on, brings me great joy. No other time of year does the world stop and reflect on their lives and their direction. It’s a perfect opportunity to talk about Jesus and the goals I am making for myself and our family. Even strangers will listen when you share about starting a Bible study or reading through the Bible in a year. New Years' resolutions invite conversation that we can point towards Jesus. I also love how God is in the business of shaping and changing us. I believe resolutions work towards that goal even if we give up by the summer, atleast we tried. God is not a God of perfection, but of grace and love. My prayer is Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans”.
A time for renewal and strength – As I sit watching the rain come down, I see how the drops wash away all the dirt and grime of many drought days. A feeling of freshness and newness has arrived. Does anything beat the smell of a rainy day? But looking at my life and my inner soul, can bring with it an evaluation of habits and flaws. Instead of getting depressed over the need for change in my own life, this time of year gives me strength to stop and change. Essentially repent for the areas I have gotten lazy in. When I turn away from sin and evil desires daily, just by focusing on today. I am strengthen, changed and encouraged to continue on. My prayer is Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a new heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me!”
A time to plan – My husband and I just spent the weekend at our church’s elder retreat where we pray, stratigize, and plan for the church for the whole year. Of course, in a large mega church we just plan, dream and get excited about the new year, while the staff of the church implements most of our ideas. We also pick the church verse for the year. What I have learned is planning, dreaming and strategizing for my life and the plans for my family is healthy and encouraging. Like Benjamin Franklin says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. So the beginning of the year is a clean slate, full of opportunities. This year we are diving head first into Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and straightening out our finances. But we are also planning for vacations, mission trips, new books coming out, goals for the kids and giving. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The planning of the diligent leads to abundance” and so our prayer is asking God to direct our steps as we go.
So, goodbye sweet January with all your promise of newness. Thank you for helping me set goals and dreams. Thank you for a new year to begin again!
How did you start off 2017? What goals and plans have you made?
~Jeanna Young - When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!